[Top] [All Lists]

Re: [ontolog-forum] Building on common ground

To: "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, "Len Yabloko" <lenya@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Christopher Spottiswoode" <cms@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sat, 5 Apr 2008 18:19:39 +0200
Message-id: <022e01c89739$27dd6550$0100a8c0@Dev>
Len,    (01)

On March 31 (in response to my March 30 post to you and the list), you 
had written:    (02)

>Yes, the inverse of aggregation ("joins" are means, not the ends) is 
>grounding. All information processing is going back of force [= "goes 
>back and forth"?] along the pathways dictated by constraints at the 
>ground level. The latter must be ubiquitous and evolve as what you 
>call a "Mainstream".    (03)

Yes, and in coming instalments of this "MACK basics" series of posts, 
starting with the next one (the 4th), you will see a lot more of such 
logical lines between abstractions and the posited real world.    (04)

>The key notion, however, is "stream" that allows elementary ground 
>level predicates to flow into such main stream and that allow main 
>stream, in turn,  to continually re-structure those contributory 
>streams. It must work like natural water ways.    (05)

Yes, quite right again!  And I do also like to emphasize the 
self-correcting and evolving-process aspect of The Mainstream.    (06)

But let's beware all these images!  While the watercourse of a 
churning river can seem to give it a tamed and more comforting allure, 
it can mislead, and even "Still waters run deep."    (07)

That reminds of the image of ontology as "carving reality at its 
joints", echoed with approval by list members as different as Doug 
McDavid on SUO on July 21, 2000, and Azamat in the Table of Contents 
of his recently-published book.  For myself, I find great merit in 
that image, as did Plato's Socrates in the Phaedrus, but it is worth 
considering this pinch of salt to take with it: 
http://ironick.typepad.com/ironick/2004/05/carving_meat_wh.html.    (08)

Then again, in addition to the rather deterministic aspect of such 
images we must also - if we can - remain mindful of their 
mind-imprisoning effect.  So it is at both levels that we may see this 
familiar little metaphor by Maurice Hare:    (09)

There once was a man who said "Damn!
It is borne in upon me I am
   An engine that moves
   In predestinate grooves,
I'm not even a bus I'm a tram!"    (010)

So that's partly where creativity - which I make so much of - plays an 
indispensible role.  And that's quite apart from the possibly 
treacherous oversimplifying effect of any image or metaphor, or even 
of any generalization or abstraction, which demands our constant 
vigilance and compels recourse to scientific method, experimentation 
and democratic checks and balances.    (011)

>As non-Euclid geometry teaches us - any distance can be shortened by 
>transforming (bending) of space. Moreover, it can be eliminated by 
>simply projecting surfaces on different dimensions (line can be 
>turned into dot). The same must apply to Semantic Space where 
>Ontology is a surface. Such transformations are known as "morphisms" 
>in Category Theory.    (012)

It's surely not entirely coincidental, but learning (in 1962) of a 
certain projective geometry I can trace as one of the seminal 
influences in the development of MACK.  And when I really get onto the 
"third pillar" of MACK (as at 
you will see how a rather similar physical image (from 1966) has built 
on the earlier one and similarly been very influential for me.    (013)

>Chains characterize spatial extension (including those connecting 
>people). Reduction of long chains to more "situation-useful form" 
>characterize nature of "intention" as morphism.    (014)

If you mean that as I read it, you'll much enjoy some of the technical 
detail in the "MVC-like" aspect of a MACK AOS which you'll see quite 
soon.  It has to do with the quantum break that MACK brings to the 
'Search' notion as we are at present accustomed to it.  (I must 
however admit to a certain scepticism as to the useful applicability 
of pure CT.)    (015)

>>Perhaps, though, especially once I have produced my "4th
>>instalment" and you have had a chance to study it, you could
>>consider giving this forum an overview of your site's relevance
>>from an ontological point of view?  I would certainly look forward
>>to such an enlargement of my own horizons.    (016)

>As I made clear (perhaps too clear) I am still struggling to 
>understand the nature of this forum (let alone the nature of Ontology 
>as its subject). Once I do that I will be happy to present my own 
>efforts. But at this point I am not sure that anyone except you would 
>be interested.    (017)

Just wait!    (018)

>>But now I must get on with that 4th instalment, which will, I
>>hope, make all the above much clearer...    (019)

>I admire your perseverance in a face of such obvious lack of interest 
>in your writings on this forum. I am looking forward to 4th 
>instalment.    (020)

Oh, don't misread this forum's members!  I would guess that their 
relative silence means rather that they are still having difficulty 
getting their minds around my whole message.  I believe (and still 
trust...) that "intrigued" better expresses their state of mind than 
"lacking interest".  My rather unabashed opinion that we do not need 
mathematical techniques at this stage might even help maintain a 
certain kind of attention!  But I am sure that at least some of my 
phrases do have some strong resonance with their concerns and 
predispositions, even though it has to be a novel thought that 
ontology has anything immediately practical for, say, OO, or IT 
security, amongst all the other major issues I claim to address rather 
centrally.  I haven't really got down to much detail yet, as I have 
regarded it as important to keep trying various ways of bringing out 
the breadth of my message so that the core technicalities can be 
better appreciated in their wider contexts.  So at this stage how are 
they to distinguish my story from the floods of words from incoherent 
quacks of all kinds that they must be exposed to from time to time? 
Meanwhile, and as I've said already in a much earlier post, I do 
appreciate the degree of "suspension of disbelief" still displayed. 
(And I have to put up with myself as possibly my own worst enemy, as 
some might be tempted to say, only partly in jest.)    (021)

No, what I have more difficulty foreseeing is just how my involvement 
with this forum might help get a practical MACK-AOS (or Metaset or 
Metaset-like) programming project going.  Significantly for the 
pretensions of "The Mainstream", with the foundational or even 
provisionally "sub specie aeternitatis" aspect one would expect of 
such a venture, the project, its concerns and its future implications 
have remained largely unchanged over the last 10 years, despite all 
the technical developments in our industry over that period.  (For 
example, "Web 2.0" doesn't yet touch The Democratic Web in what might 
reasonably be foreseen for the short to medium term.)    (022)

You can get some impression of such constancies from my 1998 paper, 
http://jeffsutherland.com/oopsla98/spottiswoode.html, and more 
particularly its "Part II" at 
http://jeffsutherland.com/oopsla98/SpottSimplification.html under the 
heading "Digging together".  Even though it needs appropriate 
translations from the "dot com boom" aspect of that period, its Plans 
A, B, & C do still indicate the kinds of options I think apply now.    (023)

So, and quite apart from all the technical input and perhaps even 
programming help I am still hoping for, I am looking forward at least 
to one or more of this forum's members' eventually being able - after 
a number of further instalments - to vouchsafe for the reasonable 
chances that the architecture and a canonical AOS do have the 
conceptual coherence and other qualities required to address the 
enormous needs I have already claimed to address.  Until there is 
demonstrable programmed proof of concept, sources of capital and 
suitable management would need such reassurance from more 
conventionally knowledgeable and respectable quarters, and a final 
refining and programming push-to-launch requires such resources.    (024)

Christopher     (025)

Message Archives: http://ontolog.cim3.net/forum/ontolog-forum/  
Subscribe/Config: http://ontolog.cim3.net/mailman/listinfo/ontolog-forum/  
Unsubscribe: mailto:ontolog-forum-leave@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Shared Files: http://ontolog.cim3.net/file/
Community Wiki: http://ontolog.cim3.net/wiki/ 
To Post: mailto:ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx    (026)

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>