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Re: [ontolog-forum] Two ontologies that areinconsistent but bothneeded

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sat, 16 Jun 2007 08:38:28 -0400
Message-id: <4673D9C4.2060601@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Chris,    (01)

I would suggest dropping the word "metaphysical" because many
people confuse that word with blue-sky theory that has no
practical applications.    (02)

CP> It seems to me that these choices are metaphysical, in the
 > sense that no amount of empirical data can decide the issue.    (03)

There are four very strong kinds of constraints:    (04)

  1. Language (which encodes many generations of what people
     call "common sense"):  Do the categories of the ontology
     have a smooth mapping to and from the way people talk
     about the subject?    (05)

  2. Science:  Can the categories be mapped consistently to and
     from the best empirical evidence as codified in well tested
     scientific theories?  (This is essentially refined common
     sense supported by instrumentation that extends and enhances
     the human senses.)    (06)

  3. Logic:  Are the categories compatible, in the sense that
     they can fit together in a consistent description of the
     subject matter of interest?    (07)

  4. Applications:  Do the categories cover all the available
     data that is relevant to the subject matter?    (08)

Those four constraints characterize good metaphysics, and it
takes a lot of very hard work to satisfy all four of them.    (09)

What gives the word 'metaphysical' bad connotations is laziness
on the part of people who write down a bunch of symbols without
testing them in sufficient detail against all four constraints.    (010)

John    (011)

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