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Re: [ontolog-forum] Car attitudes

To: "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Jay Halcomb" <jhalcomb@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 3 Aug 2007 10:24:40 -0700
Message-id: <006e01c7d5f3$318f42b0$0100000a@EC29D2D7ECFE48B>
Hello. Kathy, let me try to understand by providing my own account of
concerns of this thread. The way you've been using the term 'attitude' in
these examples (Voyager, e.g.) suggests to me that you're talking about
something like 'dispositions (of a item or type of item) to behave in
various ways'. The general analysis of dispositions is always controversial
since their supposed grounds may differ so very widely, depending on the
item.  Even the very existence of dispositions is controverial to some
philosophers and others. Only some omniscient being could know their
complete analyses in every case - if ominscience makes sense.    (01)

One can nominalize every kind of assertion in various ways and also remove
the nominalizations when they occur. A central question for analysis, when
we do so,  is: what is the relationship in our semantics, between the
nominalized assertions and the truth conditions we attach to our more
'directly referring' assertions about things. E.g., "The Voyager's tendency
to waggle its wipers was caused by ....(a loose electrical connection)",
which is a certain kind of predication,  vs. "The Voyager would waggle its
wipers  because ...(it had a loose electrical connection, etc.)", which 
latter is a
different style of predication (roughly, these are predications over 
different sorts of
ostensibly referring terms)..    (02)

We analyze dispositions in terms of rules and laws in order to provide, say,
predictions and explanations. E.g., "If a car has a loose electrical
connection and it hits a bump, then its wipers will (may) ....", to link
these statements to observations like: " The Voyager has a loose electrical
connection. The Voyager hit a bump. Its wipers waggled."    (03)

Are there really 'things' like a Voyager's disposition to waggle its wipers,
just as there really are Voyagers? Or is such 'thing' language only a verbal
trick of language - a way of speaking? That sounds like a philosophical
question. But in either event one is still going to want some sort of
analysis which connects up the relata of our assertions concerning the
entities involved in the various kinds of assertions. Is there a systematic
way, uniformly specifiable and always satisfactory, always to do this kind
of linking? I don't know.    (04)

Jay    (05)

Jay Halcomb
H&S Information Systems
http://hsinfosystems.com    (06)

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Kathryn Blackmond Laskey" <klaskey@xxxxxxx>
To: "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Friday, August 03, 2007 5:59 AM
Subject: Re: [ontolog-forum] Car attitudes    (07)

> Some years ago, we owned a white Plymouth Voyager minivan.  It had an
> attitude!
> There was something funny with the electrical system of that car.
> Every once in a while, the wipers would decide for no apparent reason
> to do a couple of swipes.  The kids would say:  "It's waving at us!"
> Sometimes its door-open sensors would trip, even though all the doors
> were shut tight.  This would trigger the lights to flash on and off
> in warning, a bell tone to sound, and the already-locked doors to
> lock themselves again with a loud click.
> As the car got older and more crotchety, these things would happen
> more and more often.  Occasionally, a drive down the highway would be
> punctuated with a near-constant sequence of wiper-waves,
> light-flashes, bell-tones, and lock-clicks.  We used to wonder what
> we had done to offend the vehicle.  We decided maybe we should stop
> talking in its presence about how worn-out it was getting and whether
> it was time to get a new car.
> We managed to nurse that car to 100,000 miles. It did long service to
> our family.  The older two children learned to drive on it, and it
> became their car.  When it reached 999,995 miles, we took it out for
> a spin.  The whole family drove to the nearby Target, and took a
> couple of swings around the parking lot with everyone looking over my
> husband's shoulder to watch the odometer click over to 100,000. Then
> we drove it home, parked it on the street, and called the Salvation
> Army to come and get it.
> Kathy
> At 8:20 AM -0400 8/3/07, John F. Sowa wrote:
>>  > I could a surface analysis of this and come up with a possible
>>  > set of car attitudes.  But based on others things that I think
>>  > I know I'm probably not on safe grounds making these "attitudes"
>>  > a set reflecting what's in the physical universe.
>>When you're talking with a philosopher or a knowledge engineer,
>>you are not on safe grounds with any assumption.
>>For evidence, look at the archive of this forum.
>>    (08)

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