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Re: [ontolog-forum] Confusion about 'model'

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Cc: john kearns <kearns@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Ingvar Johansson <ingvar.johansson@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 17 Jul 2007 14:22:23 +0200
Message-id: <469CB47F.906@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Waclaw Kusnierczyk schrieb:
> Ingvar Johansson wrote:
>> Waclaw Kusnierczyk schrieb:
>>> I see that the problem of the simple statement which I posted here a few 
>>> days ago:
>>> [WK] Constrained expressivity does not mean that what you say about
>>>  >> the world is necessarily confused -- it is just a model which is much
>>>  >> more simple than the modeled reality.
>>> has given ground to an interesting discussion in which the most 
>>> honourable authorities participate.
>>> I'd like therefore to come back to the source of disagreement and try to 
>>> get a short answer to the following question:
>>> Q: Is it essentially wrong to say that a sentence about (a part of) 
>>> reality is a model of it?
>> In my opinion, this question is impossible to answer before you know 
>> what kind of use (realistic, fictional, or assumptive) the sentence is 
>> put to. If a sentence is used in the realistic sense, then one might on 
>> a meta-level say that it is a kind of proposed model of reality that 
>> might be true, truthlike, or false. On the ordinary level one simply 
>> talks about the world, but  one may well move up onto a meta-level and 
>> talk about the relationship between the sentence and the world.
> So you have actually answered the question:  if there are situations in 
> which it does make sense to say that a sentence about reality is a model 
> of it, then it is not *essentially* wrong to say that.  It might have 
> been wrong under the interpretation Barry assigned to it (somewhat 
> mistakenly wrt. my intentions).
>       (01)

I agree; in my opinion, it is not essentially wrong to say that a 
sentence about reality is a model of it. But it is equally important to 
add that such talk is often either redundant or misused. It can be 
redundant in the same way as 'it is true that snow is white' can be 
redundant in relation to 'snow is white'). Since Barry has hunted down 
many misuses of model talk in informatics, I will take another example 
that relates to my view that one has to be clear about whether one uses 
a certain model in a realistic, fictional, or assumptive way. It is 
extremely hard to make predictions about how the economy will develop. 
Nonetheless, economists often in newspapers and television simply tell 
people how it will develop (realistic talk), but later when they are 
held responsible for their false predictions they say that people have 
to realize that they were only talking about a model (fictional talk); 
in their seminar rooms they probably use assumptive talk. I regard such 
public switches between realistic and fictional model talk as a serious 
misuse of the term 'scientific model'.    (02)

Ingvar    (03)

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