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Re: [ontolog-forum] Looking forward at the past

To: "'[ontolog-forum] '" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Patrick Cassidy" <pat@xxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 3 Oct 2008 11:59:44 -0400
Message-id: <068601c92571$0de95f20$29bc1d60$@com>


   You raise interesting issues.  Do you have an ontology or otherwise based computational system that demonstrates how you would address them?  Or can you point to one?




Patrick Cassidy



cell: 908-565-4053



From: ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of RK Stamper
Sent: Friday, October 03, 2008 10:29 AM
To: [ontolog-forum]
Subject: Re: [ontolog-forum] Looking forward at the past



>       it makes some kind of sense that the past can be
> "seen" while the future is still not available for viewing.

                                                      -    Jeff Schiffel  following John Sowa

or, indeed, the other way round, provided that one is not taken in by

either metaphor.


In fact, speaking personally, I can see neither the past nor the future either before me or behind me.  The best I can do is to construct mental images of them that do exist now.  Of course, I make use of records and plans that are external signs provided that they also exist here and now.


Ontologically speaking (metaphysical sense), by riding on either metaphor, we take unnecessary risks believing in the existence of things past and future. Worse still, as a community interested in information and its uses, these metaphors deflect our attention from the challenge of the fundamental question: how do we use pictures, language and other signs to construct the past,  the future and distant things so that we can use them in the only world available to us, the here-and-now.   


Ontologically speaking (semantic web sense) I feel uncomfortable with all those formal ontologies that evade that fundamental question. Most of all I recoil from the unjustifiable faith that some place in possible worlds. Mental images composed of formal models in some platonic realm simply reproduces these metaphors of 'seeing' the past and future but in a more sophisticated shape.


Surely, any ontology (in either sense) cannot fully meet the needs of information systems engineering until it takes account of the people in whose present minds past and future necessarily reside, and how they arrive at their beliefs and place any trust in them.


Ronald Stamper



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