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Re: [ontolog-forum] Relationship: n-ary vs binary

To: "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, "Azamat" <abdoul@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Pat Hayes <phayes@xxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 13 Feb 2009 13:10:09 -0600
Message-id: <69E66BA5-9900-430E-8759-0D41C72B8D3A@xxxxxxx>

On Feb 13, 2009, at 8:20 AM, Azamat wrote:
I think you are very good as the devil's advocate, and highly appreciate you provocations and stimulations.

All I do in this forum is to try to correct what seem to be obvious errors or inaccuracies which I see in emails, with a view to keeping the technical level of the discourse here up to professional standards. I hope that we all will do the same whenever we see errors or misunderstandings. 

 To better your critical skills, let me share some observations:
1. Avoid quibbling-niggling, pettifogging over small things;

Small things are often critical in technical discussions, however. As has often been said, its easy to make large, vague observations. The devil is in the details. 

2. View ideas in the whole context;
3. Review your understanding of nonsense.
To understand the last observation, you need a liberal intelligence. Everything in the world has some sense and meaning, including nonsense,http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nonsense. In literature, there is a whole booming style, literary nonsensehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Literary_nonsense, using all sorts of techniques and devices to create nonsensical effects, like L. Carroll.

Funny you should mention Lewis Carroll. The Alice books were the first stories my mother read to me, when I was perhaps three years old, and I have read them many, many times since and now almost know them by heart. Edward Lear is another potent source of meaningful and poetic nonsense. 

However, I am not quite sure what your point is here. Do you see the business of this Forum as that of composing amusing literary fantasies? 

There is nonsense (stupid, bad) and nonsense (intelligent, good). The samples of the latter are when the parts make sense, while the whole is senseless, or vice versa. The case of the former, when you know nothing about some domain of knowledge, say, real ontology, then all its things will sound nonsensical; they are not intelligible and understandable since transcend somebody's narrow mind, his cognition, beliefs and perception.

No doubt. However, I think I can reasonably claim to know a fair amount about ontology, the subject, in any of its meanings. 

If some big ideas, as reality and its aspect, relation, beyond you kin and understanding, this will make nonsense for you, for your particular mind, however well-seasoned. I state as below: [relations are classified with respects of their nature, mode of existence, the numbers of the relatives as well as formal properties as transitivity, symmetry, reflexivity.]  If you are missing the clear meaning, then it is nonsense for you mind, nothing can be done here.
Now, I state [a relation can exist apart from the terms it relates]

I agree. We seem to hold this view in common, in opposition to the extensionalists among us. 

, for it is [the principle of order making the whole physical universe go: space-time, forces, matter-energy relationships, fundamental interactions, physical laws, all are natural kinds of relationships.]

Well, not exactly. There are of course "matter-energy relationships" and many other kinds of relationships in physics. But physical laws are not themselves relationships. THey may well involve mentioning relationships in order to be stated: E=MC|2 comes to mind, for example, which uses the equality relation. But the laws themselves are not relations. But perhaps this is being too pettifogging for your taste. 

 Again, you can't get the meaning of it, another nonsense for your specialized mind. For it may still believes the relation is an entity without a reality, that the relation exists when the terms it connects exist. 
Another source of nonsense to be mentioned is #2, when one is missing to see ideas, concepts, statements in the whole context. This is a lore: "Many relations relate things of different kinds."

A "lore" ? Do you mean to say it is false (as your previous email asserted, and to which I responded) or that it is so obviously true that everyone already knows it? 

Answering to the discreet questions of Ravi S, i specified:
[As such, everything is connected with anything.

Well, that is obvious incorrect, unless you understand 'connected' so broadly that it becomes meaningless. Certainly in the physical world, there are things that have no possible causal connection to one another (events outside one another's light-cone.)

For the sake of analysis, it is commonly identified two types of relationships

It is? By whom, doing what kind of analysis?

: simple, pure or homogeneous, and complex, heterogeneous.
The first type is composed of the same kinds of things as the relatives:
1. substances related with substances, individuals with individuals, objects with objects, as space relations;
2. states with states; qualities (quantities) with qualities (quantities);
3. changes with changes, processes with processes, actions with actions, events with events, as causality and time relations;
4. relationships  with relationships, as analogy and proportion.
The second type deals with different levels of relatives:
1. whole/part, with many different sorts;
2. universal/particular, as generalization or instantiation;
3. class/member, as membership or subsumption.]

Im afraid I find this pathetically simplistic. 

If you respond with more insulting and content-free emails, I will not respond to them. If you continue to make technical errors in your postings, I will continue to correct them. 

Pat Hayes

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