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Re: [ontolog-forum] Event Ontology

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Christopher Menzel <cmenzel@xxxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 21 Sep 2009 13:58:51 -0500
Message-id: <1253559531.4137.120.camel@kestrel>
On Mon, 2009-09-21 at 10:39 -0700, Pavithra wrote:
> I can not believe that you all were talking about women in this link
> relating to Ontology!
>     http://www.jfsowa.com/ontology/church.htm
> Who ever wrote that thing did not have good understanding of life and
> women!  I am not even going to  lower myself to defend !  I can not
> even beleive this at all! 
> This is one of the reason why I brought the topic of Indic
> culture!  To talk about how to teach people to respect women as
> capable as men yet different!   
> Such thinking is a social illness and not women's fault!    (01)

Dude....it's all good; the article is tongue-in-cheek. It uses a clever
analogy to make a serious philosophical point.  In the article, Church
-- an ardent and articulate defender of the existence of abstract
entities -- likens the convoluted efforts of nominalists like (early)
Quine and Goodman to heed their aversion to abstract entities and
systematically rid their ontologies of them to the efforts of a
fictional misogynist to rid his ontology of women.  Church acknowledges
that, just as it might be possible to pull off "ontological misogyny" in
theory by finding ways to "reduce" talk of women to talk of men and
other things whose existence is acceptable to the misogynist, so Quine
and Goodman might be able, in theory at least, to "reduce" talk of
abstract entities to talk of things acceptable to the nominalist.  But,
Church notes, "the question of the logical possibility of such a theory
must be separated from the question of the 'desirability' of replacing
the ordinary theory by this ontologically more economical variant of
it".  Notably, just it is much easier and more satisfying to understand
our talk of women by taking it at face value and, hence, including women
in our ontology, so it is much easier and more satisfying to understand
and theorize about our ordinary discourse in general -- which is replete
with references to abstracta -- by taking it at face value as well and
including abstract entities in our ontology.  And, of course, the use of
the analogy itself is a sly jab at the nominalists as well, as it
suggests that the philosophical motivations for nominalism are no less
suspect than those for ontological misogyny.    (02)

-chris    (03)

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