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Re: [ontolog-forum] {Disarmed} Reality and Truth

To: Jack Park <jack.park@xxxxxxx>
Cc: "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Pat Hayes <phayes@xxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 30 Apr 2007 00:47:44 -0700
Message-id: <p06230943c25b49db64ee@[]>
>  > However, there is a strong argument for acting as if the realist
>>  ontology is correct.  For example, it behooves me to believe that if
>>  I jump out of a 22-story building, I'm going to go splat and that
>>  will be the end of me.  I think it's dangerous to believe that my
>>  going splat is some kind of social construction.  Similarly for many
>>  other actionable consequences of the realist view.
>If I may ask: how did you come to that belief? Did you not pass through
>some form of constructivism on the way? It's clearly an act of social
>constructivism to actually jump out of the building and observe your
>going splat    (01)

What? This is an act of social constructivism? At this point I feel 
like Im not on the same planet. Take a real example: on 9/11, several 
people trapped above the fire did indeed opt for a quick death by 
jumping. So, were these deaths acts of social constructivism? (If so, 
what does this claim amount to?) As I understand Steve's position, 
there is no fact of the matter even about whether or not they are 
dead: its all a matter of opinion. There are no facts of the matter 
at all. There are no facts of any matter at all. There isn't even a 
world to check them against: there are only opinions, floating (I 
presume) in a kind of Platonic opinion soup. (Since people would have 
to reside in a real world, they can't be opinions held by people: 
people may not even exist, for all we know.)  Maybe this isn't what 
Steve meant, but this is certainly what he *said*.    (02)

>, and it's equally an act of social constructivism to conduct
>experiments with weights (eggs come to mind) as many school kids already
>do.    (03)

It is? Again I am gobsmacked. Experiments are social constructivism? 
So, is there *anything* that people do that is not an act of social 
constructivism, in your view?    (04)

>From there, a realist world view (ontology?) evolves. Or not.    (05)

Im pretty sure I was thinking about the real world before I went to 
school. It wasn't a question of being indoctrinated by the realist 
propaganda machine.    (06)

>It seems to me that the *only* thing that Steve has been arguing for is
>the federation of each of the world views you appear to correctly (my
>view) articulate here.    (07)

That isn't what he said in his emails to me. He said, quite directly, 
that it is a mistake to speak of facts at all: that all we have is 
opinions. This is not a 'federation' position; it is a direct 
assertion of a philosophical view, and a concomitant rejection of a 
different view. I think his view is somewhere between insane and 
incoherent; but it is a view, nonetheless.    (08)

>  When arguments for federation are raised in a
>tribe where the mainstream funding and wisdom is dominated by, as you
>say, "unapologetic realists", if, indeed, that's what they actually are,
>then the arguments seem much closer to tribal or religious in nature.    (09)

Oh, bullshit. All this talk of tribes and domination and so on. Look, 
I havnt had a single penny for my ontological work. It is almost 
impossible to obtain funding for ontology work in the USA at present. 
As for wisdom: well, there is this field, see, which was begun a few 
years ago and is now quite active. Its called 'ontologies'. Like many 
other fields, it has its own presumptions and discipline and accepted 
definitions and judgements about how to do good work. Calling that 
'wisdom' in a sarcastic tone is just silly. If you don't like the 
field, don't work in it: nobody is holding you hostage. But trying to 
change the field is like trying to persuade physicists to study 
poetry rather than quarks. Ontology building is what we do, and 
ontologies are collections of assertions in a logical notation, which 
articulate some conceptualization of some topic. I have no idea what 
Steve thinks we ought to be doing, but if its not this, then he's 
speaking to the wrong audience.    (010)

>Steve has been, my view again, correct in suggesting that this is not
>the venue for such discussions. On that, I would agree.
>At the same time, however, I would argue that this thread (it's original
>subject left intact) has been of value to more than one
>reader/participant. That can't be all that bad, no matter how irritated
>Pat has become.    (011)

I am amazed that this very silly discussion has been of value to anyone.    (012)

Pat    (013)

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