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Re: [ontolog-forum] Axiomatic ontology

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sun, 03 Feb 2008 01:53:50 -0500
Message-id: <47A564FE.7070106@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Azamat,    (01)

I accept your four principles as guidelines for stating
a formal ontology:    (02)

> 1. real (dealing with reality and its basic domains);
> 2. scientific (based on sciences, theoretical and empirical,
>    practical and technological);
> 3. axiomatic (organized as a deductive theoretical system);
> 4. formal (encoded by mathematical language).    (03)

But I agree very strongly with Leibniz, who said that human
reasoning can only be certain in pure mathematics.  Even then,
only on a topic that has a finite number of axioms and finite
proofs that can be comprehended by a finite mind.    (04)

Leibniz noted that every part of the physical universe affects
and is affected by every other part.  He accepted the fact that
we can know a lot about a lot of things, but there are always
aspects that are beyond our capacity to observe and to reason
about.  Therefore, Leibniz concluded that only an infinite mind
could attain absolute certainty about any empirical subject.    (05)

Peirce made an equivalent observation:  a great deal of what we
think we know is probably true, but any particular statement is
fallible. It may be true as far as we have tested it, but somebody
could, at any time, discover that it fails on some very important
aspects that we have not yet observed.    (06)

Socrates was even more explicit in admitting that he could not
be certain about any general statement of any kind.  (I'm sure
that Socrates would admit that he exists, but I'd love to hear
him destroy Descartes's attempt to prove that by starting with
dubito and cogito.)    (07)

Food and drugs have warning labels on the packages, and so should
an ontology.  The following words and phrases, which come from
your recent note, require warning labels:    (08)

    reality, fundamental, all the knowledge about the world,
    the most consistent and comprehensive ways.    (09)

I would feel more comfortable about your statements if you would
include the warning labels.  Otherwise, I feel as if somebody is
trying to force some untested snake oil down our throats.    (010)

John    (011)

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