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Re: [ontolog-forum] Ontology vs OWL implementation

To: "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, "Bill Andersen" <andersen@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Christopher Spottiswoode" <cms@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 2 May 2008 14:44:51 +0200
Message-id: <049c01c8ac52$65c627c0$0100a8c0@Dev>
Hello Bill,  (and my apologies for having anglicized your surname in
my reply to Pat!)    (01)

My comments inserted below:    (02)

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Bill Andersen" <andersen@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Thursday, May 01, 2008 9:57 PM
Subject: Re: [ontolog-forum] Ontology vs OWL implementation    (03)

> Hi, Christopher.
> On May 1, 2008, at 15:45 , Christopher Spottiswoode wrote:
>> 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?
> 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)

Touche' !  But thank you for bringing up that issue, as the coming 5th
instalment of my "MACK basics" series does just that:  produce "an
empirical explanation for concepts".  However, don't worry, it is only
a very specialized "explanation", as you will see.  You will also see
(though only in subsequent instalments) how it would be very difficult
to call it "Empiricist" in any doctrinaire sense.    (05)

> 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    (06)

"Democratic legitimation"?  For example, engineering the
"freely-chosen" acceptance of standards.  The process could easily be 
presented from an Empiricist point of view.    (07)

> 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.    (08)

No, when I spoke of "the justice it's supposed to do 'reality'", the
"it" was merely alluding to "Ontology" in the metaphysical sense.
True, my use of "reality" instead of "being" was confusing, but I do
try to avoid the latter word, much as "doing justice to 'reality'" was
a circumlocution for getting at the truth!  I was certainly not
meaning to appear to be siding with any kind of Platonic idealism.
(Though again, I guess my promotion of the word "Form" will surely
sometimes tend to create that impression.  Hmmm, words ... words ...!)    (09)

But to try to be clear for now:  the scientist's naive realism does me
very well, though only when practised critically, that is, continually
exploring, as fully as one can, the limits of one's science inasmuch
as they can be investigated from within science, that being very much
the scene of Otto Neurath's image of rebuilding one's boat in the open
sea with the best materials.  (Yes, I'll even be talking about things
like the so-called wave/particle duality which you may have had in
mind with your list of real things in physics.)    (010)

As I hope will become clearer in my "MACK basics" series, that process
has produced a kind of synthesis ("pragmatic"?  "instrumentalist"?) as
far as this IS architecture is concerned, though necessarily - I
argue - using images, as mentioned in my 1st instalment here:
So I rest content with images as a best approximation of the truth
partly by noting that all the other schools in that area (that is, the
"metaphysical" or "Ontological" area?) seem in fact also to be resting
their respective cases with images or metaphors.    (011)

Well, after all that apparent waffle, I hope you are able to look 
forward to what I might perpetrate when I finally have to commit 
myself to a definite philosophical position which relates practically 
to our IS componentization and interoperation architecture 
requirement!    (012)

Christopher    (013)

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