>Thanks for the discussion folks. I'm not sure it helps me write the
>ontology I need (for which I will be listening to a dozen different
>end-user from half a dozen countries the next few days, and will be off
>line). However it does highlight where I and it seems much of the
>ontology community part company.
>John's statement 2 and 3 is, to my mind, essentially a claim that
>language proposes an objective model of the universe. (01)
To be fair, I think his point was that such an
objective model is in principle possible, not
that one finds it in language. (02)
>My view is that
>language is a human construct based on our behaviour, in particular,
>that language makes essentially arbitrary distinctions resulting the
>choices in particular cultures (03)
Well, but there is pervasive evidence that while
the distinctions may be in some scientific sense
arbitrary - language does not carve nature at her
joints - many, perhaps most, of them are not
culturally relative, but can be fairly easily
related to meanings of words in other cultures.
Of course there are exceptions, such as the lack
of any English word for German 'schadenfreude' or
Spanish 'duende', but the attention paid to such
examples by poets and scholars shouldn't make us
forget that the vast majority of words in most
languages have direct equivalents in most other
But in any case, this seems to have very little to do with this: (05)
>, and therefore it is perfectly possible
>to have ontologies which are separately consistent, but which are not
>translatable one to another (06)
I fail to see how this follows at all. (07)
>- if consistency allows for
>non-translatability, no further problem.
>For example, (08)
How is this an example of the above? (09)
> I mark a student's paper according to mark schema A and
>give it a grade C (from the set a to E), Caroline marks it according to
>scheme B and gives it a grade 2 (in the range 1 to 10). To claim that
>these marks are consistent requires a long regress of comparing
>criteria, the rationale for criteria, the rationale for the
Not at all. In fact as an ex-academic I have been
involved in meetings where such questions were
decided, and the worst (most complex) such case
required only some statistical work to determine
where the crossover points lay. In fact, I used
to mark all my own papers twice, using different
criteria, and then merge the results to obtain
final grades, when the test was critical to a
students' careers. (011)
>In principle I cannot see that this would be computable in
>finite time, and certainly not within the practicalities of actually
>doing it. (012)
It is done routinely in many universities and
colleges. I bet some of them are in Bristol :-) (013)
>That is, there is no Mind of God, or if there is, it would not be
>expressible as language. (I don't even believe that 2 + 2 = 4, 0, 1 or 3
>seem equally valid options :-).
>This mail is publicly posted to a distribution list as part of a process
>of public discussion, any automatically generated statements to the
>contrary non-withstanding. It is the opinion of the author, and does not
>represent an official company view.
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
>> [mailto:ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of
>> John F. Sowa
>> Sent: 08 June 2007 13:57
>> To: [ontolog-forum]
>> Subject: Re: [ontolog-forum] Disaster Management ontology BOF in Delft
>> *** WARNING ***
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>> Bill and Wacek,
>> That is like an existence theorem in mathematics, which shows
>> that something exists without showing how to find an explicit
>> BA> You just gave us a recipe for how to make (IMO) a single ontology
>> > from Sean's "inconsistent" pieces, via the use of
> > reformulation > of his pieces to make them consistent, or
>> via use of some kind > of paraconsistency.
>> vQ> I sympathize with Bill, and would like to see a counterexample
>> > to what he says.
>> I can state another existence theorem:
>> 1. Any theory that has at least one instance must be consistent.
>> 2. Since the universe exists, any accurate description of any
>> part P of the universe has that part as an instance. Therefore,
>> that description, dscr(P), must be a consistent theory.
>> 3. If P1 and P2 are two parts of the universe that coexist, then
>> dscr(P1) and dscr(P2) must each be consistent separately, and
>> their conjunction dscr(P1) & dscr(P2) must also be consistent.
>> 4. By induction, we can prove that the conjunction of all
>> of all parts of the universe that coexist must be consistent.
>> 5. If we use a 4D representation of the universe and consider all
>> space-time chunks as parts, then there must be a complete and
>> consistent description of the entire universe for all time.
>> 6. Let's call that description MoG (for Mind of God).
>> We now have a recipe for discovering the Mind of God (or at
>> least a sizable chunk thereof).
>> BA> That was what I was trying to get to in my original note - loose
>> > talk of "one single ontology for X can't ..." is usually
>> based > on equally loose understanding of the terms
>> "ontology" and "can't".
>> I just gave a formalizable proof that there is a method for
>> solving the problem. I wish the both of you the best of luck
>> in carrying out the details.
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