[Top] [All Lists]

Re: [ontolog-forum] {Disarmed} Re: OWL and lack of identifiers

To: "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Steve Newcomb <srn@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: 23 Apr 2007 12:05:19 -0400
Message-id: <87647nqdog.fsf@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Waclaw Kusnierczyk <Waclaw.Marcin.Kusnierczyk@xxxxxxxxxxx> writes:    (01)

> Even the basic elements of logic are may not be invariants.  Take the 
> case of FOL; various logics other than FOL extend it rather than try to 
> modify not necessarily because FOL is invariantly correct, but because 
> it is so firmly established.    (02)

This is my feeling, too.  It's an awful lot to swallow, I know, but I
think, in general, it's deeply correct to recognize, always and
everywhere, that everything we think and do is rooted in culture.  In
our own culture, FOL is a fixture, no doubt about it.  (And I'm not
interested in replacing it.  I just don't want to close off
alternatives about which I currently know nothing.)    (03)

[ John Sowa:]
> >> Logic is the discipline that has been searching for those
> >> underlying invariants.  But those invariants are often
> >> obscured by variations in the notations and terminologies.    (04)

[ Steve Newcomb:]
> > I agree that the search is vitally important, now more than ever, and
> > I admire your contributions to that search.  The only thing I object
> > to about your position is its apparent implication that there is some
> > higher Truth or Absoluteness (note capital letters indicating numinous
> > significance) in any logic or logical system -- even if it's Logic.    (05)

I would add to my above remark that, while it's true that "variations
in the notations and terminologies" could obscure the hoped-for
invariants, these same cultural variations could just as easily
obscure the fact that there are *no* invariants.  When it comes to a
question that cannot have an objective answer, we must fall back on
other things.  I think habits are what we fall back on, most of the
time.    (06)

Waclaw Kusnierczyk <Waclaw.Marcin.Kusnierczyk@xxxxxxxxxxx> writes:    (07)

> It is hard for us to imagine what happens within the dark holes, how 
> there could be no time (before time 'began'), and it may just be too 
> hard for us to imagine a world in which Logic would not be an invariant.
> That humans cannot imagine something is only an empirical proof of its 
> unimaginability by humans, not of its inexistence.    (08)

I would go even farther, adding the following emphasized words:    (09)

   > That *some* humans cannot imagine something is only an empirical
   > proof of its unimaginability by *those* humans, not of its
   > inexistence.    (010)

...or even of its unimaginability by *other* humans.    (011)

BTW, as happens with increasing frequency these days, my mind was just
blown (in a happy way) by the news in the April 12 issue of _Nature_
that there is now experimental evidence in support of an explanation
as to how photosynthesis is 90% efficient in its capture of energy
from photons, when the best man-made technology currently tops out at
30%.  Evidently, a long (over 600-femtosecond) interval of quantum
state superposition exists in a photosynthetic system during the
capture of a photon.  During that time, the system "tries many paths
at once", ultimately directing the photon to precisely the right place
to exploit its energy most efficiently.  The photon doesn't stumble
around; the system *guides* it.  Wow.    (012)

I have a lot of trouble imagining quantum mechanical stuff, but I'm
surely glad that some people can.  I frequently benefit from what
others *can* imagine, that I *can't* imagine.  (The invention of the
transistor springs to mind.)  The very last thing I want to do is to
shackle anybody's imagination, or to fail to guide imagination-energy
toward wherever its usefulness can best be exploited.    (013)

Humanity can best serve its own interests by supporting multiple
cultures simultaneously, so that imagination-photons can "try many
paths at once."  Fear of what presently-unknowable things might happen
then must be overcome by Faith.  We need to achieve consensus that,
whatever those presently-unknowable things might turn out to be, it
will be much better to know them than to remain ignorant of them.  Am
I talking about Faith in, uh, Truth?  Yes, if you like.  I think so.
We cannot master Truth.  The smartest thing we can do is to help Truth
master *us*.    (014)

I think many people are deeply afraid of knowing things.  And that's
understandable: having to adapt to some previously hidden or
unrecognized fact can be extremely inconvenient and emotionally
unsettling.    (015)

The current U.S. government will say anything that it thinks the
voters want to hear, even if it's a complete lie.  It is constantly
appealing to the Fears of the voters; it never asks them for Faith.
This approach has worked spectacularly well, from the perspective of
gaining and holding power for an 8-year period.  Extrapolating from
the size of the Bush voter base, and the size of the Christian Right's
radio audience, I regret to guess that at least 30% of the American
population is deeply afraid of learning things.  (I speak about
Americans because I know them, and not in order to single them out for
special praise or opprobrium.  Is 30% low, or is it high, in
comparison with other populations?  Honestly, I have no idea.  All I
know is, I'd be a lot happier, and I'd feel *much* safer, with a
number like 1% or 2%.)    (016)

Peter Yim, I'm sure you're horrified that I'm saying these things in
this forum.  Sorry.  They're 100% relevant to what we face in our
arena.  Our work cannot be ungrounded, even though it would be far
more comfortable to focus entirely on our favorite technical issues.
The *first* question must be, "What are the most *urgent* technical
issues?"  And this question inevitably leads to, "On what basis shall
we prioritize the technical questions?"  And that question puts
*everything* on the table.  (I have no idea what "everything" might
turn out to be, but I'm trying hard not afraid of it.  It *is* a bit
frightening to realize that the more effective we are, the more change
we will catalyze.)    (017)

-- Steve    (018)

Steven R. Newcomb, Consultant
Coolheads Consulting    (019)

Co-editor, Topic Maps International Standard (ISO/IEC 13250)
Co-editor, draft Topic Maps -- Reference Model (ISO/IEC 13250-5)    (020)

http://www.coolheads.com    (021)

direct: +1 540 951 9773
main:   +1 540 951 9774
fax:    +1 540 951 9775    (022)

208 Highview Drive
Blacksburg, Virginia 24060 USA    (023)

(Confidential to all US government personnel to whom this private
letter is not addressed and who are reading it in the absence of a
specific search warrant: In keeping with the publicly-confessed
criminal conduct of the Bush administration, and with the
irresponsible actions of the pusillanimous and corrupt 109th Congress,
you are co-conspiring to subvert the Constitution that you are sworn
to defend.  You can either refuse to commit this crime, or you can
expect to suffer criminal sanctions in the future, when the Executive
Branch of the government of the United States of America once again
demonstrates respect for the rule of law.  I do not envy you for
having to make this difficult choice, but I urge you to make it
wisely.)    (024)

Message Archives: http://ontolog.cim3.net/forum/ontolog-forum/  
Subscribe/Config: http://ontolog.cim3.net/mailman/listinfo/ontolog-forum/  
Unsubscribe: mailto:ontolog-forum-leave@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Shared Files: http://ontolog.cim3.net/file/
Community Wiki: http://ontolog.cim3.net/wiki/ 
To Post: mailto:ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx    (025)

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>