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Re: [ontolog-forum] Reality and semantics. [Was: Thing and Class]

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Len Yabloko" <lenya@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 17 Sep 2008 17:30:36 +0000
Message-id: <W705742789567611221672636@webmail12>
Pat,     (01)

As you concluded this very intellectually challenging debate with John, and two 
of you finally agreed to disagree, - let me see what it means for software 
developer like myself.    (02)

>On Sep 16, 2008, at 7:30 PM, John F. Sowa wrote:
>> Pat and Chris,
>> JFS>>> A Tarski-style model is a set of entities and a set of
>>>>> relations among those entities.  Those entities and relations are
>>>>> *approximate* representations of aspects of the world according to
>>>>> some ontology.
>> CM>> Sure.  Every model leaves out information that is found in the
>>>> piece of the world that the model represents.
>> PH> Represents? Ouch. If there is a 'represents' relationship between
>>> models and reality, then all our axiomatic ontologies must be given
>>> a two-stage semantics, in which model theory describes the first
>>> stage of interpretation, yielding a new kind of 'representation'
>>> which then needs another, presumably different, semantic theory to
>>> relate it to actuality.
>> Welcome to reality.  As George Box said and I quoted in my previous
>> note, "All models are wrong, but some are useful."
>Its not reality. In fact, we all manage extremely well with a single- 
>layered semantics called model theory.     (03)

Most of software developers would probably say: "we all manage extremely well 
without it", and many of us might add "without any semantics at all". Few of us 
may note that we only need operational semantics. But none of us will say what 
you said. So I don't know who do you refer to as "we all", and what do you call 
to "manage extremely well".    (04)

>This two-level idea is a  
>chimera, and an intellectual dead end.  You have argued for the idea,  
>but do you have even an outline or a sketch of what the second, model- 
>to-reality, semantic theory looks like? In order to give it, you need  
>to somehow describe reality mathematically. In full generality. OK,  
>I'm all ears.    (05)

I would say that most people manage extremely well without "describing reality 
mathematically". In fact most believe that it is impossible to do so.    (06)

>> PH> Not only has this project never been undertaken to completion,
>>> I don't think its needed.
>> That is why 20th century analytic philosophy has trivialized the
>> subject to the point where the total number of bookshelves devoted
>> to philosophy in a large Barnes & Noble store is equal to the
>> number devoted to Sudoku puzzles.
>This comment is completely off the wall.
>    (07)

I think it is literally "off the wall" of any profitable book store. Or else it 
would quickly go out of business. Because the semantics you are finding so 
useful are actually totally useless for real world that they..., should I say 
represent ?    (08)

>This is such rubbish that I won't even try to sketch a response. Which  
>*semantic* problems are being ignored?     (09)

I'd like to ask what *semantic* problems are NOT ignored by software community. 
Certainly Semantic Web community ignores most of them beginning with most basic 
identity problems.     (010)

The only practical attempt to address real world semantic problems that I know 
about is Chris Partridge book "Business Objects", which you will not find on 
the wall of any "respectable" bookstore (because it is simply too good to be in 
popular demand)    (011)

--Len    (012)

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