[Top] [All Lists]

Re: [ontolog-forum] A "common basis"

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 02 May 2007 15:03:33 -0400
Message-id: <4638E085.20701@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Azamat, Pat, and Adam,    (01)

I certainly agree that there is one universe and that a
perfect description of that universe would be an excellent
foundation for a unified ontology.  I also believe that there
are many useful approximations to such a perfect description
and that for many special cases, we can even give good
estimates of how close we might be to any ultimate answer
*for that particular special case*.    (02)

PC> To have an effective standard for information interchange,
 > it is only necessary to have a large enough user base so that
 > third party vendors can make money building interfaces to
 > make using it easy, and building applications that illustrate
 > the utility of the standard.    (03)

I interpret that as implying that we need a systematic framework
for cataloging and relating all the special cases. But *not* as
implying that we need a final Grand Unified Theory (GUT).  As
I've said many times, we need a hierarchy of categories that is
*underspecified* -- i.e., it is more of a terminology than an
axiomatized theory.    (04)

Fundamental problem about axioms:  they cause inconsistencies.
The fewer axioms you have, the more reliable the theory.  As you
add axioms, you can prove more statements -- but, aye, there's
the rub:  as soon as you get a single inconsistency, the whole
edifice collapses because everything becomes provable.    (05)

PC> I think should be given a serious try before anyone claims
 > that it is not possible.    (06)

That depends on what you mean.  If you mean an underspecified
set of axioms that avoid saying anything about incompatible
details, then yes -- you can have a broad coverage theory.    (07)

But if you mean detailed theories, nobody is *claiming* that
it's impossible.  It has been *proved* that physics as a whole
does not have a consistent foundation.  And every field other
than physics is in even worse shape.    (08)

AP> While some folks want to keep claiming a common ontology
 > is somehow impossible, some of us having been doing the
 > "impossible" for years.    (09)

I repeat:  an underspecified ontology is easy to construct,
but a detailed theory of everything is impossible.  The only
question to be determined is how much can usefully be
included in the common core and how much should be left
for the open-ended collections of microtheories.    (010)

John    (011)

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    (012)

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