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Re: [ontolog-forum] Two

To: Kathryn Blackmond Laskey <klaskey@xxxxxxx>
Cc: ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
From: Pat Hayes <phayes@xxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 19 Jun 2007 14:01:14 -0500
Message-id: <p06230905c29dd6d5af5d@[]>
>  >...Take for example that old naive physics stuff I
>>did. I started wanting to talk about how liquids
>>can be contained in spaces, what it meant to be
>>wet, and so on. In order to do that I had to
>>introduce a lot of other things, like directed
>>surfaces (the thin 'film' of free space on one
>>side of a surface which is where the water is
>>when the surface is wet) and two kinds of liquid
>>object with different identity conditions, and a
>>vertical falling piece of liquid, etc. etc.. Now,
>>is this metaphysics?
>I would say so, if you are serious about ---
>>... They are
>>all things which I can say with a straight face
>>exist in the actual world...
>I agree with this only if we insert a "for all practical purposes
>(FAPP)" caveat.    (01)

Yes, of course. But contrast with, say: tropes, continuants, 
dependencies, roles, ... none of which I would ever have thought 
about, I suspect, during my entire life, had I not had the misfortune 
to get involved with philosophers.    (02)

>To be very precise, though, I would have to say I believe there
>actually are observable effects in the real world that are described
>to excellent approximation by speaking as if things like directed
>surfaces and vertical falling pieces of liquid actually exist.
>(Got that???)    (03)

Got it, but I don't believe it :-)    (04)

>Maybe that's what you mean when you say directed surfaces and falling
>pieces of liquid really exist.    (05)

Actually, I really do mean that they exist. Which is not to deny that 
they are made up of very peculiar, very small things about which I 
have no intuitions at all.    (06)

>The problem is, if you try to put together a logically consistent
>description of all the things you'd want to say really exist, you
>rapidly get into a tangle.    (07)

That hasn't been my own experience. Keeping the real (observable, if 
you like) world in mind as one writes axioms is a pretty good way to 
avoid inconsistencies, in fact.    (08)

>  In fact, the attempt to do so drove
>physicists from naive physics to Newton's laws to quantum theory and
>general relativity, which still have not been reconciled with each
>  Nevertheless, for purposes of practical ontology-building,
>I'm all for declaring that these things exist (in the FAPP sense) and
>moving forward.    (09)

Glad to hear it.    (010)

>>...>Regarding use/mention.
>I can't resist an amusing anecdote -- I remember my daughter Allison
>at age three telling me, "I start with 'A'".    (011)

:-)    (012)

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