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

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: paola.dimaio@xxxxxxxxx
Date: Fri, 15 Jun 2007 21:33:09 +0700
Message-id: <c09b00eb0706150733h507d4850n1313a429d29bc2ac@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
well, I would be tempted to challenge that statement
that would depend on the granularity and purpose of your model of reality
I would not exclude that possibility at all,in fact -
what about if we could map a sign to a signal, and produce a
diagram directly from an electrode placed the brain (that is indeed not far)
provided it is 'valid', it could be used to infer an ontology from


On 6/15/07, Smith, Barry <phismith@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
Brainwaves and neurophysiological signalling are necessary for
ontology-building, too. But ontologies are not representations of
brain-waves. And ontologies are not specifications of
electroneurophysiological signals.

At 08:13 AM 6/15/2007, paola.dimaio@xxxxxxxxx wrote:
>thanks. I do not disagree with anything below. The correct use of
>concepts, and derived terms, is indeed in the mind, not in the
>machine, obviously.
>However for humans to formalize the 'sensible signs' that you refer
>to, conceptualization
>of thoughts in their mind is a necessary step.
>In fact, before humans can produce something that machine can use, a
>lot of conceptualization get scrapped (iterations)
>Eventually, after refinement, concepts take a shape that can be
>consistently expressed and
>  via diagrams, notation. languages, etc
>What the machine will interpret, has to be first processed in the human mind
>And concepts are a device for that processing to take place, imho...
>On 6/15/07, Azamat Abdoullaev
><<mailto:abdoul@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>abdoul@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
>Try to explain your concerns in a more systematic way. Knowledge systems, as
>semantic web applications, thinking machines, etc., are all designed to be
>using ''sensible'' signs (physical signals, codes, or words) in order to
>process and communicate information about things, processes, facts, rules,
>laws, feelings, ideas, thoughts, or concepts.
>Unlike the human brain, in the intelligent machines the symbolic codes
>signify things directly without the agency of concepts, constructs, notions,
>categories or abstractions. This means that the nature of mechanical meaning
>is dependent on the types of symbols and the kinds of things these symbols
>denote (symbolize, stand for or name) or represent. And that knowledge
>machines are devoid of mental experience or meaningful mental constructs.
>The symbols processed by the mechanical intelligence are the signs of
>entities and hence they get their significance  without the mediation of the
>conceptions of human intellect ( note, the signification, not meaning; for
>the symbol signifies, via denotation and representation, while the construct
>means, via sense and reference). That is why the significance of symbols is
>rather to come directly from the real objects denoted and their
>relationships connoted, thus leaving off all the conceptual troubles
>discommoding human beings.
>With best regards,
>----- Original Message -----
>From: "Pat Hayes" <<mailto:phayes@xxxxxxx>phayes@xxxxxxx>
>To: <<mailto:paola.dimaio@xxxxxxxxx>paola.dimaio@xxxxxxxxx>
>Cc: <<mailto: ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
>Sent: Thursday, June 14, 2007 8:15 PM
>Subject: Re: [ontolog-forum] to concept or not to concept, is this a
>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.
> >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 -
> >phew
> >
> >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
> >choice.
> >
> >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
> >appropriate?
> >
> >boh -  what a  problem eh?
> >
> >cheers
> >
> >PDM
> >(puzzled)
> >((ignore me))
>Sorry, I won't ignore you, you raise such nice issues.
> >
> >On 6/14/07, Cassidy, Patrick J.
> ><<mailto:pcassidy@xxxxxxxxx><mailto:pcassidy@xxxxxxxxx>pcassidy@xxxxxxxxx >
> >wrote:
> >
> >Paola,
> >    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:
> >
> >1.
> >
> >a general notion or idea; conception.
> >
> >2.
> >
> >an idea of something formed by mentally
> >combining all its characteristics or
> >particulars; a construct.
> >
> >3.
> >
> >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.
> >
> >Pat
> >
> >
> >
> >From:
> ><mailto:ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx ><mailto:ontolog-for
> um-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
> >[mailto:<mailto:ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx >ontolog-for
> um-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx ]
> >On Behalf Of
> ><mailto:paola.dimaio@xxxxxxxxx><mailto:paola.dimaio@xxxxxxxxx>
> paola.dimaio@xxxxxxxxx
> >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
> >with?
> >
> >
> >Thanks a lot
> >
> >
> >
> >Paola Di Maio *****(slightly disturbed)
> >
> >*********************************************
> >
> >
> >
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> >Paola Di Maio *****
> >School of Information Technology
> >Mae Fah Luang University
> >Chiang Rai - Thailand
> >*********************************************
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School of Information Technology
Mae Fah Luang University
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