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Re: [ontolog-forum] Next steps in using ontologies as standards

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 07 Jan 2009 12:46:43 -0500
Message-id: <4964EA83.2070808@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Pat,    (01)

You are pushing an ideology that has no basis in (a) human psychology,
(b) linguistics and lexicography, (c) scientific methodology, or
(d) the way logicians specify predicates in logic.    (02)

PC> If you can describe the term "space" by use of other terms, then
 > you are in effect saying either that (1) there are multiple theories
 > of "space" that can be described in terms of more primitive elements;
 > or (2) both theories are alternative logically consistent views of
 > the same phenomenon that can be accommodated in a single ontology
 > (i.e. there is a translation of anything in empty space to anything
 > in matter-dependent space).  In either case there is still a set of
 > basic primitives that can be used to compose more complex concepts.    (03)

No.  There's a third option.  Actual practice in every branch of
science and engineering uses a multiplicity of *mutually inconsistent*
theories, each of which is suitable for some range of applications.    (04)

Newtonian space and Einsteinian space are mutually inconsistent, and
there are no "common primitives" from which they are composed.  But
for most interactions of macroscopic objects on earth, the errors
of the simpler Newtonian theory are far less than the errors in
measurement.  Therefore, nobody uses Einstein's equations to compute
what happens when a car goes down the highway.    (05)

At the most fundamental levels of physics there is no such thing as
a unified theory of everything, including space and time.  And many
of the hypotheses about space and time that have been proposed are
so outlandish that they have no mapping to the way that people
usually think and talk.    (06)

There are fundamental terms in physics that have been used for
centuries, but their axioms in different theories are very,
very different:  space, time, mass, energy, etc.  There are
no primitives from which other definitions are composed.    (07)

I have no objection about people who want to do research on
primitives or UFOs.  But those ideas are far more confusing than
helpful in discussing standards for ontology.    (08)

John    (09)

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