Are we not discussing "using ontologies as standards"? That seems to
be a different from "discussing standards for ontology". Both are
fascinating discussions, but its confusing to mix them in the same
On Jan 7, 2009, at 9:46 AM, John F. Sowa wrote: (02)
> 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.
> 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.
> 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.
> 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.
> 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.
> 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.
> 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.
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