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Re: [ontolog-forum] Ontology vs OWL implementation

To: "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Bill Andersen <andersen@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 1 May 2008 15:57:34 -0400
Message-id: <0472980C-A687-427F-BEDA-C5A565C9E9ED@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Hi, Christopher.    (01)

On May 1, 2008, at 15:45 , Christopher Spottiswoode wrote:    (02)

> Pat, Bill,
>> At 2:41 PM -0400 5/1/08, Bill Andersen wrote:
>>> The only reason I can see for the use of the term "ontology" in this
>>> connection is to increase the chances of winning funding from people
>>> who still attach mystic significance to the term "ontology" that
>>> they would not to "logical theory"
>> Quite. But isn't that the only reason for using the word "ontology"
>> under any circumstances?
> If only it were a laughing matter!  For there is another reason, I
> fear:  the long word with its metaphysical associations makes the
> notion more impressive, seemingly so in touch with some transcendent
> reality.  That's very useful to dictators for browbeating the innocent
> into submitting to the apparent authority behind it.
> That's why in MACK I steer clear of it, and "Form", short for
> "conceptual form", well conveys its function and warns against the
> deformation, oversimplification, semantic dissonance or alienation the
> use of any Forms or concepts at all can easily bring in their wake.
> As for the justice it's supposed to do 'reality', isn't that what the
> disciplines of science, engineering, democratic legitimation, etc,
> hopefully ever-present in its application, are supposed to look after?    (03)

Yup. It's called Empiricism -- a perfectly well-formed philosophical  
position with a long tradition.   You don't want to be in the position  
where you are adopting an implicit philosophical position using words  
like "concept" as a cover, do you?  Because then you should not be  
surprised to provide an empirical explanation for concepts and a  
theory thereof.    (04)

I would submit that most scientists and engineers (I don't know what  
you mean by "democratic legitimation") would find it odd if you were  
to say they look after the reality of "concepts".  Rather they would  
say they deal in fields, particles, masses, assemblies, structures,  
materials, etc, whereas a psychologist in the empirical sense could be  
said to deal with "concepts" in reality.    (05)

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