[Top] [All Lists]

Re: [ontolog-forum] Two

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 19 Jun 2007 17:00:14 -0400
Message-id: <467843DE.2060504@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Pat,    (01)

I would say that the "naive physics" work that you and
others have been doing is very definitely the same sort
of thing that the metaphysicians have been doing -- and
in some respects it's better.    (02)

PH>>...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?    (03)

KBL>> I would say so, if you are serious about ---    (04)

PH>> ... They are all things which I can say with a straight
 >> face exist in the actual world...    (05)

KBL>> I agree with this only if we insert a "for all practical
 >> purposes (FAPP)" caveat.    (06)

PH> 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.    (07)

I would make three points:    (08)

  1. There is no reason to restrict your mathematical toolkit
     (or terminology) to anybody else's preferred set. (The
     academic discipline they belong to is irrelevant.)    (09)

  2. But there is one respect in which phenomenology differs
     from physics:  it takes into account how things are
     perceived.  For example, the color red is hard to find
     in a physical representation, but it is very easy to see.    (010)

  3. Therefore, I believe that a good set of tools for doing
     metaphysics are the ones that are being developed for
     virtual reality.  They take into account *both* physics
     and phenomenology.    (011)

As an example, Clifford algebra is an old 19th century tool
that was ignored by the 20th-century physicists in favor of
vectors and tensors.  But the physicists picked it up again
toward the end of the 20th century, and today, it is very
hot for simulations of virtual reality.  Its main advantage
is its "coordinate independent" representation of objects.
That means you don't have to recompute everything when you
move an object or rotate it.    (012)

Summary:  Don't restrict your toolbox to so-called mainstream
methods that have become popular in some academic discipline.
Popularity is not a good reason for rejecting something, but
if everybody is using it, and they still haven't solved the
problem, it makes sense to look for something else.    (013)

John    (014)

Message Archives: http://ontolog.cim3.net/forum/ontolog-forum/  
Subscribe/Config: http://ontolog.cim3.net/mailman/listinfo/ontolog-forum/  
Unsubscribe: mailto:ontolog-forum-leave@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Shared Files: http://ontolog.cim3.net/file/
Community Wiki: http://ontolog.cim3.net/wiki/ 
To Post: mailto:ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx    (015)

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>