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

To: "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Smith, Barry" <phismith@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 15 Jun 2007 13:40:27 -0400
Message-id: <20070615174506.QBQV3934.mta11.adelphia.net@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
At 10:40 PM 6/14/2007, you wrote:
>HI Pat
>concept are mental constructs, not sure how to distinguish them from 
>ideas, but I think
>there are different stages of thinking, still largerly not 
>/observed/understood, and pertaining to
>the domain of brain and mind studies.  Maybe that's why they look mysterious
>Something to do with abstract knowledge representation I think, 
>which is the formation of mental models generated by the core of our 
>central processing system and not yet formalized/expressed in 
>procedural logical form.  One of the stages of logical thinking perhaps.
>words are the next stage, where concept are 'expressed' and 
>'communicated' in linguistic form
>  while concepts can exist without words, words cannot exist without 
> the conepts they convey
>I respect if someone prefers not to use c  class words, for whatever 
>reason, but I think
>concepts and derived words are a very precise name for a 'class of 
>abstract knowledge, that we cannot do without in ontology.
>You may also prefer to use other words, for your own reasons, which 
>is fine. but I must defend the proper use of the c words conveys 
>exactly a very important meaning which is fundamental to discourse, 
>and that there is no reason to become obsessesed (and spreading this 
>obsession to others!).  When we avoid using the right words for 
>things, we end up
>going an awful lot in circles, while a simple right word will do the 
>trick just fine    (01)

People are currently going around in circles with the term 'concept' 
because there are entrenched distinct meanings (and these often rest 
on entrenched, distinct confusions). Several groups are now arguing 
that the word 'concept' be used with a precise definition. The 
problem is that these different groups are advocating incompatible 
precise definitions.    (02)

>I agree with you that sometimes we could make an effort and try to 
>be more precise with our language    (03)

I can think of no simpler solution to this problem than to abandon a 
word that has become tainted in this way. People who mean 'idea' 
should use the word 'idea'. People who mean 'term' should use the 
word 'term'. People who mean 'meaning' should use the word 'meaning'. 
And so forth.    (04)

People who wish to continue using the word 'concept' in their several 
merry ways will then in any case (if they are to produce something 
that is coherent) need to articulate in an explicit way in which 
sense they are using it. They will then, ipso facto, be associating 
with the corresponding group of non-'concept' users, who will perhaps 
be eyeing them sceptically when they persist in using such a 
notoriously ambiguous word in their communications.
BS     (05)

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