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Re: [ontolog-forum] Just What Is an Ontology, Anyway?

To: "Bill Andersen" <andersen@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Godfrey Rust" <godfrey.rust@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 30 Oct 2009 20:29:45 -0000
Message-id: <5DC8DA45604F49A89714296649A4B0CC@GodfreyPC>
I agree with your conclusion on agreement. What I was objecting to, really, was what I perceived to be another straw man argument, because I hardly think there is anyone on this forum who argues against the possibility of ontology - plenty of argument about the nature and usefulness (and otherwise) of it.
I note Chris Menzel's latest contribution to this thread, and Sean Barker's separate discussion to Matthew West on reality, and they seem to me to be about much same thing. Most of us believe there are "real" things, and we make assumptions about them, about which we agree or disagree. Ontology is both about "reality" and our way of talking about it. There may be a few diehard postmoderns (from whom Chris Menzel disassociates himself, and I would guess everyone else in this particular set of exchanges?) who believe there is no external reality but only our views of it, but in using their ontologies they will still find themselves engaged in negotiating agreement or disagreement over whether they share a common view of unreality with anyone else, so it seems to amount to the same thing in practice.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Friday, October 30, 2009 7:07 PM
Subject: Re: [ontolog-forum] Just What Is an Ontology, Anyway?

Hi Godfrey

On Oct 30, 2009, at 13:52 , Godfrey Rust wrote:

Even Einstein said everything is an approximation, though the maths may still get a NASA spaceship accurately to Mars. Betting our life on something is faith, not absolute knowledge, even if its a really good bet; and not every airplane lands safely.

Correct.  All I was objecting to was the usual move I perceived (the other) Bill of making, which is to toss out some kind of Kantian argument against the possibility of ontology.  This seems counterproductive.  And I definitely am not confusing agreement in some community on the use of terms with truth.  What I said, albeit not as explicitly as I might have, was that in certain domains (such as science) this is the kind of "reality" we get pretty reliable access to.  You called it "agreement".  I call it regularity in the world.  I'd suspect most scientists would agree it's not simply a matter of agreement on the use of terms.


Bill Andersen 
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