> -----Original Message-----
> From: Pat Hayes [mailto:phayes@xxxxxxx]
> Sent: 19 March 2007 18:38
> To: Chris Partridge
> Cc: '[ontolog-forum] '
> Subject: RE: [ontolog-forum] Ontological Assumptions of FOL
> >>CP>I am not sure where you see the disadvantages of the DavidL position
> >>described are. He is saying that if the instances are spatio-temporal,
> >>there some sense in which the set of them are as well.
> >PH>Well, I can see a lot of problems with this. If
> >you believe, for example, that all spatiotemporal
> >entities are in some sense physical, you will get
> >into trouble.
> >By physical do you mean something more than material? Not sure what
> >ensue - could you elaborate.
> You might for example get the conclusion that since all physical
> things are made of some kind of stuff (Cyc has such an axiom), that
> therefore numbers are made of some kind of stuff. Then there could be
> questions about the density, say, of 17-stuff. (02)
A number of points:
1) the argument (see above) went: if the instances are spatio-temporal, so
is the set, in some sense. You are taking the argument the other way – from
sets to instances. Neither I nor DavidL made this claim.
2) one needs to be careful about what counts as a kind of stuff, matter?,
space-time? (DavidL has an interesting footnote on this. Often there is a
notion of physical that it tied to matter, with a more general notion tied
to spatio-temporal. Maybe this is where the disconnect is.
3) If one has a Fregean notion of number, then as the set of all (actual and
possible?) sets with 17 members would have an infinite number of members –
working out the density would be difficult, if not impossible. But not
absolutely meaningless. However, I have already agreed numbers pose
> >PH>Or if someone else believes this
> >and bases *their* ontology on it, and then you
> >try to work with them. Many high-level frameworks
> >make the spatiotemporal/abstract distinction very
> >high up, so get into difficulties when it is
> >denied. And DavidL's position as I understand it
> >is that this is so when the members are
> >spatiotemporally close: but what of highly
> >scattered examples, such as the set of all the
> >hydrogen atoms?
> >Ah, I think we are talking about different things here.
> >If you are saying that a lot of existing ontologies have X therefore we
> >to have something that can work with X - I can see the argument.
> That was my main point, yes.
> >My point is rather that if 'abstract' is a bit difficult to get a clear
> >picture of - then people using it will end up with different
> >- making things difficult to reconcile. My tactic would be to just take
> >abstract out of the hierarchy - not sure what kind of problems this would
> I agree that just tossing a tricky distinction is often a good
> strategy under these circumstances. But I tend to think that most
> folk agree fairly well on the abstract/spatiotemporal division, in
> fact, and that DavidL is rather an outlier. He has a number of rather
> odd realist views, of course, including possible worlds. (04)
Ad hominem argument (though with some substance). However, I think his basic
point is so simple and obvious, that one needs to face up to it. (05)
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