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Re: [ontolog-forum] Relevance of Aristotelian Logic

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 13 Feb 2009 08:58:49 -0500
Message-id: <49957C99.4030805@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Pat and Chris P,    (01)

I'm combining comments from two threads -- Chris's original
(no subject) thread and the thread named above.    (02)

JFS>> The study of ontology is usually considered a subset of
 >> and sometimes nearly identical to metaphysics    (03)

PH> I actually strongly disagree with this (and think that this
 > error is the cause of a great deal of wasted effort and time
 > in this very forum), but let us argue about that topic on
 > another thread.    (04)

Don't blame me.  I was just repeating what the philosophers
usually say.  Aristotle, by the way, did not use either
word 'ontology' or 'metaphysics'.  His editors applied the
title _Metaphysics_ to the treatise that followed _Physics_.
The word 'ontology' was coined much later for that branch
of metaphysics that focuses on an analysis of what exists.    (05)

CP>> My point was intended to be the well-known one that it is
 >> extremely difficult to eradicate ontological commitment from
 >> a form of representation -- and that the form of a logic
 >> being used for description is likely to imply some ontological
 >> commitment to the form of what is being described.    (06)

PH> In some absolute sense this has to be correct, but I think FO
 > logic comes about as close as anything can to having no ontological
 > commitment. It can be described quite succinctly: the world
 > consists of entities which stand in relationships to one another;
 > and there is at least one entity.  And that is all. NOthing is
 > said or presumed about the nature of the entities, or of the
 > relationships. That seems to me about as minimal an ontic
 > commitment as it is possible to have.    (07)

I agree that FOL is the most neutral notation that we know how
to formalize.  (I'll leave open the question of whether there
might be something even more primitive.)    (08)

But given that FOL is neutral, the first time we add an axiom
with a named predicate or relation, we are making a metaphysical
commitment.    (09)

John    (010)

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