I mentioned Aristotle because his version of logic and ontology is
in the direct line of transmission (through medieval Arabic and Latin)
to the current systems in use today.
But it is certainly true that versions of philosophy, ontology, and
logic were developed in India, China, Persia, Egypt, Sumer, and Babylon.
Each of these countries undoubtedly influenced and was influenced by the
1. All those countries interacted with (by war and by trade) with
their neighbors, and the Silk Road from China to Europe was
well traveled by 1500 BC. Wise men and gurus probably followed
the same roads as merchants and soldiers.
2. Heraclitus, one of the early Greek philosophers, lived in
Asia Minor at the end of the Silk Road. He was contemporary
with Lao Tze in China, Gautama Buddha in India, and Zoroaster
in Persia. The actual dates are not clear, but many scholars
have noted similarities in their sayings.
3. Pythagoras is another early Greek philosopher who stimulated
much of the Greek interest in mathematics. But when he was
young, he went to Egypt where he was inducted into the Egyptian
priesthood. He also went to visit the Babylonian mathematicians
before returning to the Greek colonies in Italy.
Nobody knows precisely which ideas were invented where, but the
cross fertilization probably stimulated much of the creativity.
RS> ... we have missed the mention of Upanishads that are agreed
> to be at least a few millennia BC (~5000 years ago) that are
> on Reasoning (NYAYA-Logic) the branch of Indian Philosophy well
> practiced to date.
The Upanishads are certainly ancient and they use a form of reasoning,
but the formal analysis of the underlying logic wasn't done until later.
The analysis of grammar and semantics by Panini around 500 BC was very
important. Some modern computational linguists in India have found
Panini's system to be very useful -- especially for the analysis of
languages with a more flexible word order than English.
And Nyaya logic may be used to analyze the reasoning in the Upanishads,
but it dates from the 2nd century AD, which is much later.
In any case, the main point I wanted to make is that logic and ontology
are much older than computer science and the Semantic Web.
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