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Re: [ontolog-forum] to concept or not to concept, is this a question?

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: richard murphy <rick@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 14 Jun 2007 20:04:54 -0400
Message-id: <4671D7A6.4020905@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Pat & All:    (01)

I hope I didn't lose context by missing the beginning of this thread, 
but it seems if we were to model cognition and not a house there would 
be good reason to include stuff like Concept.    (02)

Consider for example specifying ...    (03)

http://www.peirce.org/writings/p32.html    (04)

Our model, or specification would include: conception, impression, 
consciousness, unity, substance, being, representamen, interpretant, 
ground, quale, sign ...    (05)

I'm a bit of a newbie to FOL, so any advice would be appreciated. I 
might write an incomplete specification of Sec 1. of Peirce above as the 
following:    (06)

(assertion (=> (forall (?x ?y) (and (conception ?x)(impression ?y))) 
(reduceToUnity ?x ?y)) :name 'sense2unity)    (07)

Or in OWL I could say something like ...    (08)

http://www.rickmurphy.org/categories.owl    (09)

FYI - This actually works in Pellet and Swoop ...    (010)

Anyway, I suggest the answer depends on what domain we're specifying. If 
it's cognition as specified by "On a New List of Categories," seems we'd 
be hard pressed to leave these out.    (011)

Best wishes,    (012)

Rick    (013)

email:  rick@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
web:    http://www.rickmurphy.org
blog:   http://spout.rickmurphy.org
cell:   703-201-9129    (014)

Pat Hayes wrote:
> I agree with Pat C (below), but here's my special 
> worry and why I'm going to try to do without the 
> c-word. Take an example. Right now at weekends Im 
> restoring an old house. My first Saturday task is 
> to cut some furring strips: long thin pieces of 
> wood nailed to the studs, used to make a wall a 
> bit thicker (to give room for a drainpipe.) So, 
> here's my question: is "furring strip" a concept? 
> Hmm, I don't know. I certainly think about 
> furring strips, and so if thinking involves 
> concepts then there must be a furring strip 
> concept, I guess. But I don't think I need to 
> refer to it or talk about it. Concepts aren't the 
> kind of thing that one can drive a nail through, 
> and furring strips are. So apparently furring 
> strips themselves are not concepts. And 'furring 
> strip' is an English noun phrase, which I guess 
> isn't a concept either; and the phrase means the 
> wooden thing (or maybe the class of such things, 
> or the property of being such a thing, or 
> whatever: but not a concept, anyway). So concepts 
> don't seem to come into the language story or the 
> house-building story. Suppose I set out to make a 
> house-restoration ontology and I have an OWL 
> class called oldHouse:FurringStrip (which is a 
> subclass of oldHouse:SmallWoodPart, etc.); then 
> the class name is a URI and the class itself is a 
> OWL class, and I don't need to speak of concepts 
> to make sense of this. The OWL semantics doesn't 
> mention concepts anywhere. So where do the 
> concepts come into the story? What I certainly 
> want to avoid is saying or implying that either 
> the English 'furring strip' or the OWL 
> oldHouse:FurringStrip *mean* or *denote* a 
> concept. They both refer to something physical, 
> or a class of physical things. I don't get houses 
> built with concepts: I have to buy real, heavy 
> stuff from Home Depot and drive it there in my 
> truck. The safest way to avoid this mistake, I 
> think, is to just not mention the concepts at 
> all. I don't seem to need to mention them.
> Pat
>>Deborah, Patrick
>>thanks -
>>I have scanned Barry's  (intringuing) paper, but 
>>do not have time to study in detail - being o 
>>and c
>>not central to my problems right now - I also 
>>did  a keyword search in the paper for 
>>concept,conceptual and  and conceptualization, 
>>with zero results (bug in my world? - or have 
>>they manged to make the c world disappear 
>>without trace and still discuss the notions 
>>attached to  it in the paper? - please indicate 
>>what page/line is the argument if you could)
>>Will  study in more detail when I have time.
>>You mean there is no actual concrete proposal to 
>>ban the term 'concept' from the discourse, 
>>rather an informal suggestion or just avoid it - 
>>I would agree that we need to objectivize what 
>>is in our mind, and that ontology building is 
>>part of that effort. But the mind (individual) 
>>is the only organ that we have capable of 
>>producing abstraction
>>and not sure if we should detach ourselves from 
>>the only generic term that we have to refer to 
>>the representation of that abstraction (the 
>>conceptualization) that we are capable of. 
>>I need to project the product of my mind (a 
>>concept) into the physical world, and need an 
>>umbrella term for it (apologies for the 
>>circularity).  Linguistic fuzziness has a role, 
>>although I agree it is not always the best 
>>I remember when I went to school teachers asked 
>>us to avoid using the term 'thing' and asked us 
>>to make an effort to use a more appropriate word 
>>, for example, instead of saying I feel 
>>something (undefined) we should look for a more 
>>appropriate vocabulary (I feel an emotion, or I 
>>feel this and feel that), thus helping us to 
>>develop our linguisti skills by learning how to 
>>use more precise words
>>I am not sure that our languages are adequately 
>>developed to be able to support and express all 
>>the abstract generalizations/ concepts that the 
>>mind can conceive, maybe thats why we use a 
>>generalization of something abstract that we do 
>>not have words for as 'concept'. Generalizations 
>>are necessary because they allow anyone to 
>>visualize their own thing, 
>>But if it is a choice of words that you are 
>>after (avoiding to use a term which is 
>>potentially confusing to some) then I respect 
>>the choice, except that I wont be able to find 
>>relevant paragraph where the notion of 'concept' 
>>is discussed if you avoid it.
>>I still think if we avoid 'concept' and derived 
>>words, we need to find a set of valid 
>>substitutes, lest we find ourselves lost for 
>>words - representation of the abstraction 
>>perhaps is an equivalent expression, or should 
>>we avoid that too, and the entire class of terms 
>>that refer to generic abstract representations?
>>I think 'notion' is a word I use as a synonym of 
>>concept, (rather than umbrella?), but somehow it 
>>is not so 'expressive' , and maybe would end up 
>>with the same issue later on?
>>Or maybe, just maybe, the word concept is a 
>>little abused, a cover word for when we dont 
>>know what to say really. The rather than avoid 
>>it, we should learn how to use it only when 
>>boh -  what a  problem eh?
>>((ignore me))
> Sorry, I won't ignore you, you raise such nice issues.
>>On 6/14/07, Cassidy, Patrick J. 
>>   I feel your pain.
>>  I believe that "concept" in most communities 
>>is used as a  vague non-technical term that 
>>means "any mental structure used in thinking", 
>>and is useful for talking about things (mental 
>>structures in the brain - the result of 
>>neurological processes) whose exact structure we 
>>do not presently have the technology to 
>>discover, and in that sense is perfectly useful 
>>in general and technical discussions as well, 
>>provided that we do not try to actually fix on 
>>some rigid definition as the only possible 
>>meaning.  Here are dictionary definitions from 
>>The Random House Webster:
>>a general notion or idea; conception.
>>an idea of something formed by mentally 
>>combining all its characteristics or 
>>particulars; a construct.
>>a directly conceived or intuited object of thought.
>>     The issue that Barry Smith is particularly 
>>concerned about is whether the 
>>mathematical/logical structures we put into our 
>>ontologies should represent some mental 
>>structure in our brain, or represent the 
>>physical objects and processes in the real 
>>world.  Whether there is a "real world" of 
>>abstract things like numbers that can be 
>>represented independently of how we think about 
>>them is another issue..  The way I have viewed 
>>the issue is that it is indeed my intention, 
>>like Barry's, to represent things in the real 
>>world as the "referent" for the structures in my 
>>ontologies.  But I am acutely aware that in fact 
>>I am representing my own understanding of those 
>>things in the real world - and so is everyone 
>>else, which is why our ontologies differ and we 
>>have these wonderful stimulating discussions.
>>   If I understand him, Barry's point of 
>>avoiding "concept" is to focus on the things 
>>that are significant in the physical systems we 
>>deal with, and avoid excessive, experimentally 
>>unverifiable, and potentially 
>>confusing abstractions.  That's reasonable.  I 
>>myself personally don't think it is necessary to 
>>avoid using the term "concept" in technical 
>>matters, provided that we are clear that it is a 
>>vague general term not intended to have any 
>>precise technical meaning.
>>On Behalf Of 
>>Sent: Thursday, June 14, 2007 8:17 AM
>>To: [ontolog-forum]
>>Subject: [ontolog-forum] to concept or not to concept, is this a question?
>>I am writing up against a deadline and suddenly 
>>I realise that one of the foundational artifacts 
>>in ontology is being questioned on this list 
>>'the concept'. and 'the conceptualization'
>> If I take out the word concept from all the 
>>papers that I am referencing, ontology as a 
>>science end ups like a colander, full of holes
>>If I take out concepts from my mind, my brain 
>>stops thinking. I cannot see anything anymore. I 
>>go blind Everything in my mind is a concept, as 
>>far as I can tell.
>>Yet I now feel that, given these discussion, 
>>maybe I should justify the word 'concept each 
>>time I use it (by concept I mean....)
>>somehow this is slowing me down This question has started to bug me
>>I personally think that 'concept' is a rather 
>>elementary and necessary expression of thinking 
>>and a artifact of knowledge representation
>>Have you,  guys who don't think with concepts, 
>>written a paper, are you serious, or just 
>>joking? What are you going to substitute concept 
>>Thanks a lot
>>Paola Di Maio *****(slightly disturbed)
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>>School of Information Technology
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