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Re: [ontolog-forum] Ontologies as social mediators

To: "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Christopher Spottiswoode" <cms@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 4 Dec 2009 07:40:56 +0200
Message-id: <43E48B9A0D294BAEADF86EDE12A08FC0@Dev>
Rich, sorry, I had rather mangled the formatting when I switched
from rich text to plain text (to get that handy purple-numbering
of the paragraphs, for later reference).  So here I've rearranged 
to better indicate the authorships of the sections of the emails 
you've selected below (I've corrected a few typos too), making 
somewhat better sense, I hope.    (01)

Then over to you again...
Christopher    (02)

P.S.  Re your very last paragraph in the selection below:
That seems to me to fit in very well with the continual 
"ontologically"-defined context-progressions implicit in the 
picture I sketched in the 3 paragraphs starting here: 
http://ontolog.cim3.net/forum/ontolog-forum/2009-12/msg00009.html#nid02.    (03)

----- Original Message ----- 
Friday, December 04, 2009 1:13 AM
Rich Cooper wrote:    (04)

Chris,    (05)

You must have me confused with some other good looking young guy.
A lot of the attributions to "Rich" below weren't actually from
me.  However, in the spirit of debate, I'll try to select the ones
that were, and prune this humongous list of messages down to
something fungible.    (06)

-Rich    (07)

Rich Cooper
Rich AT EnglishLogicKernel DOT com    (08)

----- Original Message ----- 
Thursday, December 03, 2009 5:40 AM
Christopher Spottiswoode wrote:    (09)

Rich, you're such an incorrigible generalizer that I'll gratefully
respond in kind:    (010)

Sure, it is a wielding of institutional or at least rhetorical
power to bring down the gavel on further debate.  (And even the
effective wielding of rhetoric takes place in a way which tends to
be institutionally guaranteed these days.)  As Bill Burkett
commented earlier in this thread, Rousseau's concept of social
contract comes to mind.  That further reminds us moderns of such
words as consensus, operationalism, and EDI Agreements.  All
clichés from present mainstreams, of course.    (011)

And they remind me of that classically reassuring but too often
frustrating Charbydian fig tree syndrome as I introduced it most
recently in this paragraph:
http://ontolog.cim3.net/forum/ontolog-forum/2009-10/msg00269.html#nid013 .    (012)

My first web page on this whole subject,
http://jeffsutherland.com/oopsla96/spottisw.html (which I am
continually recalling to this list), had this paragraph on it:    (013)

> [CS1996:] In the domain of Business Objects here are some
> interpretations of those who are stuck on the Charbydian
> figtree:  suppliers of working but monolithic packages,
> guardians of legacy applications, enforcers of unduly elaborate
> standards. (Pin the label on the one you love to hate!)    (014)

And that is a lead-in to my insistence, notwithstanding your
dismissal of the term, that architecture has a clear role to play
when it comes to designing application system components and
composing products reusing them.    (015)

Certainly, I do insist that the whole WWW does have an
architecture, and for all the spectacular success it has had, as
an application architecture its replacement is long overdue.  But
how might that be done?    (016)

Maybe together, we will put a market bootstrap product out there.
(That, by the way, is the "tightly circumscribed project"
introduced at the outset of http://TheMainstream.info.)  Then,
surely together, because this is what the architecture was
designed for, the market will start booting itself up, in due
course to universal coverage, thanks to the philosophically
(ontologically, epistemologically, ...) sound and general
conceptual base.  Both boot and bootstrapping will be 100%
according to "The Mainstream Architecture for Common Knowledge" as
the market will progressively evolve it from its simple boot
nature.    (017)

That seems incredibly glib.   In that 1996 web page I've cited
above I put it this way (which, even though it then most
explicitly targetted the OMG's OMA or Object Management
Architecture, now applies equally to that more truly mythical or
at least shambolically concocted Web application architecture):    (018)

> [CS1996:] Difficult indeed! And reminded once more by Medawar's
> Dictum (Theories are not displaced by facts, they are replaced
> by better theories) I do not expect you to be convinced of the
> technology until you can really see the alternative in action.
> But maybe, somewhere, based on the broader picture presented
> here, there will be some *readiness to take what at this stage
> must seem to a newcomer like a gamble* [bold in the original],
> together, we - and especially our users of all kinds - would get
> safely to port sooner, in conclusion of this commonly-agreed
> knowledge-modelling standards Odyssey.    (019)

I will leave for another time the many further parallels between
the Homeric allegory, with its particular content and structure,
and the "Ride The Mainstream!" project's strategy.  I'll just note
here that it's somewhat to be expected that a strategy claiming to
be based on "The Mainstream" should have had an antecedent into
which was distilled the pre-Philosophy wisdom of nearly three
millenia ago, the late Bronze Age.    (020)

But could Homer really have had in mind such an apparently modern
idea as an institutionally-structured society?  In support of that
bold notion let me introduce a 2005 book, The Rise of Bronze Age
Society, by Kristiansen and Larssen, two of the world authorities
on the subject.  The book is built around the thesis that Bronze
Age society cannot be understood except from an institutional
point of view.  (It is interesting also to note that their heading
on p.1 is "Prologue:  between Scylla and Charybdis", referring to
the formation of their decision to pursue that thesis!  In its
first paragraph the authors relate that they "insisted stubbornly
upon trying out an interdisciplinary, interpretive journey based
on the identification of social institutions in the archeological
record, and their transmission and transformation to different
cultural and social environments.  More precisely:  in the Bronze
Age.")    (021)

So, Rich, there I've generalized between some phenomena from the
Bronze Age and your "homeostatically weighted vectors"!    (022)

Thanks for the stimulus...    (023)

Christopher    (024)

----- Original Message ----- 
 Thursday, December 03, 2009 11:24 AM
Rich Cooper wrote    (025)

Hi Christopher,    (026)

My comments are interspersed below,
-Rich    (027)

>>> [CS:]
>>> I might add that I have always valued appropriateness of 
>>> concept over any kind of merely statistical connection.    (028)

>> [RC:]
>> If even concepts (per se) are unique (like synsets) then isn't 
>> the statistical spectrum of conceptional distribution (like 
>> WordNet synsets) also ordered and unique in terms of some 
>> conceptional identifier over a vocabulary (of said conceptions 
>> and synsets)?    (029)

> [CS:]
>  Rich, good point, but I'd prefer to take the users' word for
> it, at least provisionally, rather than that of compilers of
> thesauri.
> However "sophisticated" (scare quotes intended) thesauri have
> become, they remain of merely heuristic value.  Of Course.
> Compilers and thesauri are figments of some group's collective
> imagination based on their perceptions of the terminal concepts.    (030)

But everyone votes who can concept now.  Those shared concepts are
terminal nodes.  Everything else is conjecture and refutation a la
Popper.  Only the election winners are the selected ones for this
transaction, however complex.    (031)

> Either way, architecture must involve systematic recognition of
> the openness of such questions, and offer a maximally informed
> and democratic approach to discover, negotiate and resolve any
> such context-dependent issues.    (032)

Actually, "architecture" is a mythological beast (like the
unicorn) which balances the homeostatically weighted vector of
health (good) against the perceived homeostatic correction vector
of the unique interests of the maximally defensive controllers of
the architecture (bad).  With none (all are bad), the balance is
0.  With all (all are good), the balance is 1.    (033)

> Sure, that fine ideal is less applicable to more batch-mode
> requirements such as MT or other NL corpus analyses.  But I
> think we are talking in this thread rather of the design of
> ontologies, and of cultivating commitment to them.
> Christopher    (034)

Personally, I consider any commitments to be temporary and
mereological in time and sequence from the context in which they
are expressed.  So casting conception types to this list (or any
other destination) is mereological if legitimate in its
subdivision methods.    (035)

Rich Cooper
Rich AT EnglishLogicKernel DOT com    (036)

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