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Re: [ontolog-forum] Model or Reality

To: "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Christopher Menzel <cmenzel@xxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 14 Aug 2007 14:50:34 -0500
Message-id: <2945112D-F6BF-4282-8520-D2875B099745@xxxxxxxx>
On Aug 14, 2007, at 12:31 PM, Pat Hayes wrote:
>> Jon Awbrey schrieb:
>>> ...
>>> Can we really and truly dissociate the semantics of terms like
>>> "duration", "length", and "mass" from the epistemological stance
>>> of a particular frame of reference, or the operational resources
>>> of the apparatus that we use to measure them?  I don't think so.
> I do. In fact, we must. How would we talk about accuracy of a
> measuring apparatus, if there were not a meaningful distinction
> between a real magnitude and a measurement? To even discuss a
> measuring apparatus, we need to have a theory of the physical
> magnitudes which they are designed to measure.
> More fundamentally, however, these are clearly distinct concepts.
> Magnitude is not an epistemic notion, but measurement is. And truth,
> perhaps unlike knowledge of truth, does not require verification or
> measurement to be meaningfully spoken of.    (01)

Exactly so, which is why semantics is entirely distinct from  
epistemology.  Indeed, by my admittedly dim lights, epistemology --  
the philosophical analysis of knowledge -- is of at best marginal  
relevance to ontological engineering.  Ontological engineering is the  
science of creating, maintaining, sharing, integrating and reasoning  
upon large bodies of information represented in computers that are  
linked together on high-speed, open networks.  We build ontologies on  
the basis of our best accounts of some aspect of the natural or  
social world according to those we acknowledge as experts.  Whom to  
consider an expert -- scientists, long-time employees, whatever --  
emerges as a matter of social organization.  I simply do not see  
where philosophical mumbo-jumbo about what exactly it *means* to know  
something fits into the picture here, and discussion of it on a list  
devoted to ontological engineering seems to me to be a complete waste  
of time and bandwidth that is likely to alienate genuine  
practitioners with real work to do.*    (02)

Chris Menzel    (03)

*I must of course plead guilty myself to getting off topic recently,  
so I guess this note is, in addition to its overt content, also a  
plea for a collective deep breath...    (04)

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