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Re: [ontolog-forum] Current Semantic Web Layer Cake

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 02 Aug 2007 07:19:51 -0400
Message-id: <46B1BDD7.3080802@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Kathy,    (01)

Your examples for illustrating that principle are very good:    (02)

 > But to say that the universe is a set does imply that it is
 > composed of "things".  That is not a vacuous assumption, and
 > it's not shared by all cultures.    (03)

Even in our own culture, it creates problems with continuous
stuff, such as water.  Pat also had some very good examples,
which I sometimes quote.  (See below.)    (04)

_______________________________________________________________    (05)

 From _Knowledge Representation_ by J. F. Sowa, Chapter 6:    (06)

Fluids like gases and liquids have no fixed shape, and they can be 
subdivided far beyond the limits of human perception. In developing an 
ontology for liquids, Patrick Hayes (1985) analyzed the problems of 
representing, referring to, and talking about liquids in their various 
forms. He classified the informal ways of talking about liquids 
according to three distinctions, two of which are further subdivided:    (07)

    1. Bulk or divided.    (08)

    2. Still or moving.    (09)

       * If moving, either slow or fast.    (010)

    3. Supported or unsupported.    (011)

       * If supported, either by a two-dimensional surface or by
         a three-dimensional shape.    (012)

These features can be combined to generate 2x3x3 or 18 subcategories. 
Following is a list of the possible combinations and a typical example 
of each:    (013)

    1. Bulk, still, supported on a surface: a wet surface or film of liquid.    (014)

    2. Bulk, still, supported by a shape: a body of liquid in a container.    (015)

    3. Bulk, still, unsupported: a blob of liquid floating weightless in 
a spacecraft.    (016)

    4. Bulk, moving slow, on a surface: a sheet of rain flowing along a 
sloping roof.    (017)

    5. Bulk, moving fast, on a surface: waves lapping on a shore or a 
stream hitting a surface.    (018)

    6. Bulk, moving slow, supported by a shape: liquid flowing in a 
channel, as a river or an aqueduct.    (019)

    7. Bulk, moving fast, supported by a shape: liquid pumped along a 
pipeline.    (020)

    8. Bulk, moving slow, unsupported: a falling column, as a waterfall 
or a stream poured from a jug.    (021)

    9. Bulk, moving fast, unsupported: a waterspout, fountain, or jet 
from a fire hose.    (022)

   10. Divided, still, on a surface: dew on grass or condensation on a 
window.    (023)

   11. Divided, moving slow, on a surface: condensed droplets flowing 
down a cold glass.    (024)

   12. Divided, moving fast, on a surface: raindrops driven along the 
windshield of a moving car.    (025)

   13. Divided, still, supported by a shape: mist filling a valley.    (026)

   14. Divided, moving slow, supported by a shape: mist flowing down a 
valley.    (027)

   15. Divided, moving fast, supported by a shape: mist blown along a tube.    (028)

   16. Divided, still, unsupported: mist or cloud.    (029)

   17. Divided, moving slow, unsupported: rain or shower.    (030)

   18. Divided, moving fast, unsupported: spray, splash, or driving rain.    (031)

This list shows how the selection of words in a language forces 
continuous phenomena into a limited number of describable states. In the 
world itself, there are continuous gradations of droplet size and speed 
of flow. Three-dimensional shapes allow an unlimited range of 
variations: networks of pipes and conduits, bottles of various shapes 
and sizes, natural boundaries like river and ocean bottoms, or fanciful 
shapes like a milk pitcher in the form of a cow.  No finite set of 
categories can cover all the possibilities.    (032)

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