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Re: [ontolog-forum] Search engine for the ontology

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sun, 02 Mar 2008 12:30:14 -0500
Message-id: <47CAE426.5040903@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Azamat,    (01)

The first sentence does not imply the second sentence or the third:    (02)

 > The reason why i put forward Euclid is rather simple: the axiomatic
 > paradigm was first established by his geometry.  The axiomatic method
 > suggests that a genuine scientific theory is a body of original
 > constructs:  meaningful concepts and fundamental statements
 > (axioms, definitions, rules, laws). The meanings of other concepts
 > are defined from the primitive ones as well as the truths of
 > subordinate statements are deducted from a fundamental set of
 > axiomatic truths.    (03)

Mathematics is not an empirical science like the hard sciences of
physics and chemistry or even the softer sciences like economics
or psychology.  It is a method of reasoning from assumptions
to conclusions.  The axiomatic method is important for math for
several reasons:    (04)

  1. Unlike empirical sciences, mathematics does not depend on
     observations of anything in the universe.    (05)

  2. Unlike empirical sciences, the constructions of mathematics are
     unrestricted constructs of the imagination.    (06)

  3. In order for math to be applied to any empirical subject, it is
     essential for all the assumptions (axioms) to be verified as
     true of the subject before any conclusion can be accepted.    (07)

These characteristics do not apply to any genuinely empirical science:    (08)

  1. Unlike math, observation and experiments provide the raw data
     necessary to construct an empirical theory.    (09)

  2. Unlike math, the constructions of empirical subjects are
     constrained by observation and experiments.    (010)

  3. The assumptions used in any particular empirical study can and
     should be stated clearly, but they are *never* fixed, and they
     are *always* changeable as new observations provide new data.    (011)

Therefore, any attempt to model empirical subjects after mathematics
is hopelessly confused.    (012)

 > All great scientific minds followed Euclid' axiomatic approach
 > trying to establish a single foundation in their field of knowledge.    (013)

That is absolutely *false*.  Many scientists, such as Newton, for
example, stated their basic *conclusions* in a concise format that
looks like a set of axioms.  But that is *only* for pedagogical
reasons for showing the readers how to apply them.  In *every*
empirical subject, the basic laws are conclusions that come at the
*end* of the study, not at the beginning, as in mathematics.    (014)

 > Real science, not immature practical quasi-sciences, as politics,
 > economics, jurisprudence, is the sum of universal knowledge organized
 > as the material axiomatic system.    (015)

Statements like that justify the review that Wacek found:    (016)

Reviewer on Amazon.com> This is not a serious AI book, it is more
 > a confused manifesto similar to those that pop up all too often
 > on internet AI newsgroups by the various wackos that feel the need
 > to vent their bizarre ideas to all the world.    (017)

I believe that you are an intelligent person who could make some
useful contributions if you could admit that your classification
is one useful system among many, not a fixed, definitive version
that supersedes all the others.    (018)

That is exactly how I presented my KR ontology in the book on
knowledge representation.  I explicitly said that the categories
and axioms were *one* useful classification.  And I also believe
that is the *most* that can be claimed for *every* proposed ontology,
which includes Cyc, SUMO, Dolce, BFO, yours, and many, many others.    (019)

If you are happy to admit that your ontology is one among an infinite
variety of others that may be useful for various purposes, then we can
all work together fruitfully to determine which ontologies are better
suited to various purposes.    (020)

But if you continue to talk as if your classification is a God-given
vision from on high, then people will be justified in dismissing it
as "a confused manifesto similar to those that pop up all too often
on internet AI newsgroups by the various wackos that feel the need
to vent their bizarre ideas to all the world."    (021)

John    (022)

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