John F. Sowa wrote: (02)
>As Chris Menzel observed, some points in your note are questionable.
>But I certainly believe that point #2 is very important:
>>Here are two goals:
>> (1) To get everybody to agree on any sort of upper ontology, or on
>> any parts thereof, or even on the absolute sanctity of FOL.
>> (2) To figure out how the game can be played without excluding
>> anybody who doesn't buy into what the dominant cultures believe.
>>I have sensed a lot more emphasis on (1) than on (2). Personally, I
>>think the goals implicit in (1) would thrive better in an environment
>>that heavily emphasizes (2).
>I believe that ontology is very much an empirical science and that
>scientists would never dream of *forcing* agreement on everybody.
>Consensus in science is only achieved after long periods of dispute,
>in which contending factions do their best to establish their own case.
True enough but note that earlier in this thread there was the following
Steve Newcomb: (04)
When it comes to a question that cannot have an objective answer (05)
Pat Hayes responding: (06)
But it can, both as a question in cultural sociology and as a
question in semiotics. Believe it or not, people have thought about
questions like this rather carefully, in many cultures. (07)
Even "consensus" doesn't equal "objective" answer. (08)
I have no difficulty with anyone claiming that their favorite ontology
or method gives a more useful answer (by some scale) than another
ontology or method. (09)
But, I do object to the notion that there are "objective" answers. (full
I am reminded of a PBS special on the mind that reported the story of an
English patient who as the result of a brain fever had a time window of
about 30 seconds. He kept a journal in which he repeatedly wrote: "Now I
am awake." When questioned about the entries prior to the one he had
just written, he would vehemently deny authorship of the prior entries. (011)
There have been no shortages of "Now [we are] awake." moments in human
history. I see no reason to give current claims any more credit than we
are generally inclined to give prior claims of the same nature. (012)
Certainly we should argue for whatever answer we think is the best one
but my only caution is to avoid wrapping our answer (it is never someone
else's) in the mantle of being an "objective" answer. That cuts off any
debate and automatically disenfranchises any contrary viewpoint. Which
is, of course, the reason why people claim to have "objective" answers.
(Noting that the burden of proof is always on the person who challenges
the "objective" answer and never on those offering them. Another reason
for the claim.) (013)
Hope you are having a great day! (014)
Chair, V1 - Text Processing: Office and Publishing Systems Interface
Co-Editor, ISO 13250, Topic Maps -- Reference Model
Member, Text Encoding Initiative Board of Directors, 2003-2005 (016)
Topic Maps: Human, not artificial, intelligence at work! (017)
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