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Re: [ontolog-forum] History of the Atomic Hypothesis

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Len Yabloko" <lenya@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 29 Jul 2008 14:26:32 +0000
Message-id: <W397111252158791217341592@webmail38>
Ravi,     (01)

>Schopenhauer and Russell influenced Ludwig's thinking and I did not find
>anything remarkable contributed by Ludwig there in a cursory look at the
>link set by you.    (02)

I will let experts speak about Wittgenstein's contribution to philosophy of 
language and reason. But my limited knowledge of it leaves no doubts in my mind 
that it provides a foundation and method for unifying efforts of building  
consistent knowledge representations around the core idea that "language is 
use". In my own words I would characterize his main thesis as: knowledge can 
only be valid within a context in which it is applied. That is not to say that  
each application leads to its unique and possibly incompatible knowledge as 
John points out  in his response to me (to which I replied separately with 
specific quote about  Wittgenstein's position on that). To me it means that 
while recording knowledge we must take special care in placing it into special 
"containers" linked to original application or context. The example of 
"containers" may be faceted taxonomy, where facets serve as references to 
context. But the main trick is to make sure that facets them-selfs relate to 
each other in a consistent way. I think John wrote about it somewhere calling 
this approach "meta-language".    (03)

Here is another link, which provides more in-depth view of Wittgenstein's 
writings http://tls.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,25344-1887094_1,00.html    (04)

>But I fail to understand that practical applications of ontology related
>concepts have to wait till any formalism is completed, as in physics,
>theories and the truth of one time are often refined or superseded by
>others (as I mentioned about Quarks and Gluons)!    (05)

Nobody has to wait with applications. But to enable an industrial production of 
knowledge and real progress on scale of physics we must do what physics and  
other sciences had done to produce engineering disciplines supported by tools 
and shred across applications. Until then knowledge engineering (and I believe 
software engineering as well) will remain a "cottedge industry".    (06)

>We hope multiple formal and semiformal (example - RDBMS in IT) tools and
>applications relating to ontologies will allow us to address many
>current pure IT solutions related open issues and put arms around many
>of them!    (07)

Unfortunately (IMHO) this kind of kraft will never produce engineering by 
itself until unifying framework is developed by science.    (08)

--Len    (09)

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