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Re: [ontolog-forum] Model or Reality

To: "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Chris Menzel <cmenzel@xxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 15 Aug 2007 09:40:27 -0500
Message-id: <20070815144027.GB2486@xxxxxxxx>
On Wed, Aug 15, 2007 at 08:23:08AM -0400, Kathryn Blackmond Laskey
>>[CM] ... 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
> [KL] I couldn't disagree more.  How do you know what you are calling
> knowledge really is knowledge?  Have you thought about how the systems
> that make use of this so-called "knowledge" are going to behave when
> they encounter situations (as they most assuredly will) in which this
> "knowledge" turns out to be wrong in task-relevant ways?    (01)

That is a completely different question.  That is the question of
*vetting*, of ensuring that our ontologies accurately reflect their
domains in all "task-relevant" ways.  That is a *methodological*
question and is of course critical to good practice in ontological
engineering.  Granted, vetting has to do with justification, which falls
within the bounds of epistemology, but note that I was careful to
qualify "epistemology" as the philosophical *analysis* of knowledge, the
search for a *definition* of knowledge that avoids all possible
counterexamples.  Can knowledge be defined as justitified true belief?
So-called Gettier problems show that that traditional analysis doesn't
work.  Is it belief caused by a reliable mechansism?  Something else?
Questions of that sort I believe are no more relevant to ontological
engineering than the question of whether or not a god exists or whether
or not we are really just brains in a vat with our neurons being
stimulated so as to create the appearance of an external world.  That is
not to say these aren't philosophically *important* questions; I think
they are.  But they have no bearing on the goals of ontological
engineering.  My concern is only that interesting but purely
philosophical questions not come to dominate ontolog-forum.    (02)

-chris    (03)

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