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Re: [ontolog-forum] Event Ontology

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Cc: "semantic-web@xxxxxx" <semantic-web@xxxxxx>
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 04 Sep 2009 11:08:38 -0400
Message-id: <4AA12D76.7050500@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Gary,    (01)

It's possible for people with different philosophical positions,
ontologies, theologies, and personalities to collaborate
effectively on many different kinds of projects.    (02)

 > Belief in the reality of "species" as a general form is a type
 > of Platonic idealism, but in practice its use in theory seems
 > to be just a nominalist use.    (03)

The term "in practice" refers to the way people with different
points of view can collaborate.  However, different philosophical
positions can have a major difference on the way people think
about a subject and what research directions they choose to pursue.    (04)

For example, if you think that the labels attached to species are
just words that have no deeper explanation than mere coincidence,
then you're not likely to search for any deeper principles to
explain the taxonomy of plants and animals.    (05)

But if you believe that there is some deeper reality underlying
the grouping into species, then you'll search for some reason.
For example,    (06)

  1. God created each species by a separate act of creation.    (07)

  2. Evolution is the result of a genetic drift among groups
     of plants and animals that have been separated for long
     periods of time.    (08)

  3. There is some kind of genetic material transmitted
     in the eggs and sperm that preserves the details that
     characterize the nature of each individual and prevents
     individuals of unrelated species from interbreeding.    (09)

Position #1 isn't likely to promote much research into the
mechanisms of evolution, but it might be compatible with
research on DNA.    (010)

Position #2 is likely to promote more research on evolution
and it might lead to more flexible theories about how DNA
might change.    (011)

But both positions #1 and #2 are more likely to lead to a
search for the mechanisms underlying the taxonomy than a
purely nominalist view that says the grouping is nothing
more than a collection of labels attached to certain groups.    (012)

John    (013)

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