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Re: [ontolog-forum] electric sheep

To: Avril Styrman <Avril.Styrman@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Cc: "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Pat Hayes <phayes@xxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 5 Nov 2007 13:20:46 -0600
Message-id: <p06230903c35519220197@[]>
>>  But a perfect philosophical ontology is even harder to find
>>  than a perfect physical theory, since it would include
>>  physics as a special case.
>>   > We can very well reach a perfect philosophical ontology...
>>  Not in this century.
>This is of course a hard question. One might argue that people
>in year n+500 will always be great leaps ahead of the people
>in year n, and that people in year n will always be on a lower
>level of development than people in year n+500. But this would
>mean that people will always be underdeveloped compared to the
>people of the future. And this also feels very intuitive, at
>least when it comes to engineering, social systems, etc. But,
>I want to believe that there is a possibility to develop a
>perfect philosophical ontology, even in this century, that will
>remain unchanged thru the centuries.    (01)

What basis do you have for this hope? All the evidence seems to me to 
suggest that philosophy almost never comes to firm final conclusions. 
Philosphers are still debating issues raised by Heraclites over two 
millennia ago.    (02)

>The connection with physics
>and philosophy is also very hard. What we can do, is to reach
>perfection in that part of ontology which is independent of
>physics. Well, if there even is any.
>The axiomatic method has not been so much applied in ontology.    (03)

You must mean ontology in the philosophical sense. But surely even 
this is false, eg consider the work of Peter Simons and Johan van 
Bentham    (04)

>It has been more like taking one dicipline or one dichotomy at
>a time (such as idealism-realism or realism-nominalism) and
>doing vast investigations on that. By taking many diciplines
>as axioms, we can compare their combinations, and see which
>combinations are consistent, and which are overlapping and in
>what way.    (05)

This is exactly what authors like the above do.    (06)

>This is of course easy to say, but I consider this
>more moderate than taking just some one stand, and holding on
>to it no matter what the cost.    (07)

I agree. My modest contribution tried to do this for the notion of 'context':    (08)

http://www.ihmc.us:16080/users/phayes/context/ContextMereology.html    (09)

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