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Re: [ontolog-forum] Semantic Systems

To: "'[ontolog-forum] '" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Rich Cooper" <rich@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sat, 11 Jul 2009 11:24:12 -0700
Message-id: <20090711182416.BCC23138D02@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>

JS - John Sowa

FK - Ferenc Kovacs

RC - Rich Cooper



Rich Cooper


Rich AT EnglishLogicKernel DOT com


JS> The point I would qualify is that we directly observe absence.

More precisely, we experience *contrast*.  That is a more

immediate experience that does not depend on retrieval and

comparison with anything from background knowledge.


RC> Objection!  Contrast is by definition a comparison.  Ordinarily, it means comparison with neighboring pixels, against frequency buckets, comparison against memory settings, all forms of identity (IMHO) resulting from a comparison function's unique positioning of that identity within a domain of all such identities. 


That's why comparison early in the process is important IMHO: it requires that there be a PROPERTY of some kind.  After there are existence, property perhaps it will be easier to decide what's next.  Maybe a DOMAIN for the PROPERTY values?  That makes more sense to me than jumping into conjuncts. 


JS> For example, the experience of something vanishing or popping

into view is a contrast.  But a report that there is no

hippopotamus in the room is unlikely to be the result of

experiencing a hippo that suddenly went "POOF".


RC> And then there's a contrast in two time samples Hippo0 and Hippo1, which could as well have been spaced out by two samples in any other dimension.  Why choose time next?  If I follow a recipe I produce an end product but I don't reason my way through its logical rationalization.  Why is time after conjunction after existence?  What is the rationale for that very specific choice of sequence of dimensions?


FK> When we have concepts to identify the chunks of reality,

 > we have verbal forms to be used to make a picture, which is

 > the clue to understanding or making sense. But verbal forms

 > are not suitable for assembly, and content must be aligned

 > with the use of forms between the speakers of any language.


JS> I agree, but I would emphasize that immediate experience is

prior to any verbalization.  In fact, most use of language

involves a great deal of reasoning (by analogy with prior

experience and by induction, deduction, and abduction from

previously processed experience as codified in concepts).


The fact that verbal forms encode so much background knowledge

makes it difficult for us to say what is immediately before

our eyes (and ears, nose, hands).  What we report tends to be

a combination (by various forms of reasoning) that mixes and

colors the immediate experience with previous knowledge.


FK> But unfortunately, the concept of meaning, context and the

 > communication model of a bargaining situation where we should

 > arrive at an agreement as to the sense of any form, or concept

 > is not dealt properly among ontologists.


JS> I believe that *every* large ontology that has so far been

presented or even proposed is far, far too simplistic to be

a suitable foundation for understanding experience and its

verbalization in natural languages (or in logic, which is

a further abstraction away from language).


That is why I have been emphasizing an open-ended collection

of ontologies, in which the most important are *not* the upper

levels, but the lowest levels that are closest to the subject

under discussion.


And every different subject is a different way of experiencing

reality, thinking about it, and acting upon it.  The upper

levels cannot be defined *in advance*.  They are always

abstractions from the more concrete lower levels.


Any attempt to fix and freeze an upper level in advance is

guaranteed to be hopelessly inadequate.  As I have said to

Pat C, the best upper level should be little more than a

collection of words that are linked by very few axioms.

The most important reasoning must be done at the lowest levels

that are closest to the experience and action required for

the subject matter at hand.  Note the word 'hand'.  I mean it

literally as an important part of what we use to experience

the world, not as a metaphor for something close by.




RC>But John, I think Pat is describing an FO that will be only for the purpose of describing ontologies in general a metaFO description language.  An FO like Turing's machine, so that it's formally as precise as provable as possible, like your controlled English language.  But the FO must also be communicable in simple language of a six year old (with a damn good dictionary/encyclopedia). 




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