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Re: [ontolog-forum] What words mean

To: "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Christopher Spottiswoode" <cms@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sun, 17 Feb 2008 06:52:35 +0200
Message-id: <01c801c87121$64401580$0100a8c0@Dev>
Pat, John,    (01)

These are very apt comments - and nice wordings - from both of 
you:    (02)

>PH> I wouldn't say that the Web is chaotic in any informal
>> sense of the word, either.  Messy, it may well be.
>> Fortunately, 'messy' hasn't yet got a technical meaning.
> That's as good a word as any -- and better than most.  The
> term that I used for the mess of what people have in their
> heads is 'knowledge soup'.  It's extremely fluid, but it has
> little chunks of organization bobbing around, like a carrot
> or morsel of meat.
> Another term is 'complex system'.  That has become a
> technical term, but it is appropriate in both the technical
> and informal senses:
>   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Complex_system
>   Complex System
>John    (03)

The Wikipedia article does note this as one of the features of
complex systems:    (04)

>Complex systems may be nested
> The components of a complex system may themselves be
> complex systems. For example, an economy is made up of
> organisations, which are made up of people, which are made
> up of cells - all of which are complex systems.    (05)

Interestingly, the description of that example skips the
complexities of the subject of this thread, "What words mean".
Formal models of societies, e.g. of ants or economic actors,
inevitably use highly simplified models of their individuals.
Here, in this thread and in this forum, we are faced with an
intricate meshing - far beyond mere "nesting" - of ontologies
and their meanings with the higher-level social complex
systems of groupings, institutions, countries and planet.    (06)

Hence we must work at seeing our activities here in their
fully human contexts.  That helps explain why in my own work I
have dropped the "semantic web" phrase which I had been using
on the Web since 1996 (before the w3c, as far as I know),
and have adopted "democratic web" instead (despite its
perhaps unfortunate connotations and even uses in the USA).    (07)

The proposed moniker aptly emphasizes its own urgent
demand-side, with its own detailed processes at the level of
'meaning', over the supply-side of our poor gropings along
lines we are pleased to call "semantic".    (08)

As Pope said (Alexander, that is), "The proper study of
mankind is man."  Already, of course, "the Sabbath [as
other ideologies] was made for man."  The Existentialists
also had a word or two to say on the matter.    (09)

There will be much recall of that whole scene in the series
of postings I am working on.  (And I hope you will see that as 
a promise, not a threat!)    (010)

Christopher    (011)

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