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Re: [ontolog-forum] electric sheep

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sun, 04 Nov 2007 15:33:19 -0500
Message-id: <472E2C8F.8010309@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Avril,    (01)

I agree that they're different:    (02)

 > There are two different things, a) the perfect philosophical
 > ontology, and b) the perfect physical theory.    (03)

But a perfect philosophical ontology is even harder to find
than a perfect physical theory, since it would include
physics as a special case.    (04)

 > We can very well reach a perfect philosophical ontology...    (05)

Not in this century.    (06)

 > Then again, in domain ontologies there can very well be many
 > axioms on the top, that apply and also usefully specify
 > what sorts of properties all things within the domain have.    (07)

I agree.  That is where the most useful work is done.  But
then the top of any specialized domain is limited to just
a specific domain, and there is no claim that the top level
of that domain has to be consistent with the top of any other
domain.    (08)

 > I said this because you've repeated so many times that
 > ''no axioms in the top''.    (09)

I never said "no axioms".  I said "very few axioms".    (010)

For example, a type-subtype assertion, such as "Every animal
is a living thing", is an axiom I would accept.    (011)

A domain ontology for zoo keepers might have many more axioms,
but most of those axioms would special cases that would contradict
the axioms of a domain ontology for molecular biologists.    (012)

Similarly a domain ontology for meteorologists would undoubtedly
have many approximations about air flow that would not be
appropriate for designing supersonic airplanes -- even though
the pilots of supersonic airplanes might use weather reports
generated by meteorologists.    (013)

In fact, everybody routinely uses different approximations for
many different special cases in everyday life.  But we don't run
into global contradictions because we never attempt to crystallize
all our knowledge into one super theory of everything.    (014)

What I have been trying to get people to recognize is that a
super crystal might be beautiful, but it would shatter at the
first contact with reality.    (015)

John    (016)

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