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

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Ingvar Johansson <ingvar.johansson@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 30 Apr 2007 10:59:46 +0200
Message-id: <4635B002.3020906@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Steve Newcomb schrieb:
> Ingvar Johansson <ingvar.johansson@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> writes:
>> (2) Is it merely your subjective opinion that mathematics is grounded in 
>> itself?
> Nah.  But for the sake of the question you're developing here, let's
> stipulate that it is indeed merely my subjective opinion.
>> (3) If it is merely your subjective opinion, is then your opinion an 
>> opinion *about a fact* or an opinion about something else?
> I'm having trouble following your question.  You seem to be making a
> distinction between opinion and fact (which is a useful thing to do),
> but you haven't characterized the distinction.      (01)

O.K., now I will try. There is a class of entities such as perceptions, 
opinions, assertions, statements, and propositions that can be 
characterized by saying that (normally) they have *aboutness* 
(alternatively, *directedness* or *intentionality*). There is another 
class of entities that can be characterized by saying that they lack 
this feature of *aboutness*. To this class belongs: (i) kinds of 
concrete things such as atoms, molecules, and macrolevel material 
things, as well as kinds of abstract entities such as sets and 
mathematical numbers; (ii) properties such as mass, volume, shape, and 
being a prime number; (iii) obtaining states of affairs constituted by 
the kind of things and properties mentioned in (i) and (ii). This 
distinction makes it possible to say that *opinions can be about 
entities that are not themselves opinions*; but, of course, there can be 
opinions about opinions, too.    (02)

What is perplexing to many people is that if there is *aboutness*, then 
this aboutness must be *about something that exists*. But this is not 
always the case. If I assert "there is a beer in the fridge", I have 
made an assertion that is true or false, and which (assuming we are in 
the same apartment) you can go and check. If there is a beer, my 
assertion is true, and it is about the beer and the fridge. If there is 
no beer, my assertion is false, and it is about the fridge but not about 
a beer. Nonetheless, my assertion has - no doubt! - *aboutness towards a 
beer*. The aboutness of an assertion is logically prior to the latter's 
truth-value.    (03)

The ontological-semantic point made above must not be conflated with our 
epistemological predicament. We can never be literally *absolutely sure* 
whether or not there is a beer in the fridge; for instance, you may 
hallucinate that there is a beer even though there is none. But this 
epistemological point cannot possibly cancel the ontological-semantic 
point, since the latter is a presupposition for asking questions such as 
"can we know this?".    (04)

I think I need a beer,
Ingvar    (05)

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