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Re: [ontolog-forum] Foundation ontology, CYC, and Mapping

To: "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Christopher Menzel <cmenzel@xxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 4 Feb 2010 19:40:08 -0600
Message-id: <7F5F7D19-3D99-4620-9953-6E2376D90385@xxxxxxxx>
On Feb 4, 2010, at 7:02 PM, Pavithra wrote:
> Ed,
> Thank you for your response, and I got the point about axiom!
> (Just side note: I do not agree with classification schema!  People are human 
>and animals are animals and birds are birds.  I think it is confusing to call 
>all of them animals.      (01)

Humans are a undeniably a species of animal no less than apes, lions, and 
birds.  I think what you are objecting to (quite correctly) is Ed's use of the 
word "person" as a synonym for "human".  To call something a person is to imply 
that it has rights and obligations (such as those that come with citizenship).  
Hence, personhood is more properly thought of, not as a biological notion, but 
as an ethical and social notion (as your reference to citizenship suggests).  I 
suspect that Ed was (rather uncharacteristically) just being a bit careless in 
his choice of words.    (02)

Chris Menzel    (03)

> If Biologist re - visit the classification schema again, and make it close to 
>reality it would help logicians.   One does not have to be born in a country 
>to be citizen.  Citizenship is country specific.  In USA one can become a 
>naturalized citizen by taking up US citizenship.   In Dubai one can  not do 
>that.   But Tigers and elephants are definitely Indian citizens.  They are the 
>pride and joy of India like in Africa.) 
> Have a good evening!
> Pavithra 
> --- On Thu, 2/4/10, Ed Barkmeyer <edbark@xxxxxxxx> wrote:
> From: Ed Barkmeyer <edbark@xxxxxxxx>
> Subject: Re: [ontolog-forum] Foundation ontology, CYC, and Mapping
> To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
> Date: Thursday, February 4, 2010, 7:39 PM
> Pavithra wrote:
> > Dr. Sowa,
> >
> > -   An Elephant is an animal
> > -  Clyde is an elephant
> > -  Therefore Clyde is an animal
> >   
> Fine.  Now let us use our very limited vocabulary in the following way:
> A citizen of a country is a person born in that country.
> A person is an animal.
> An elephant is an animal.
> Clyde is an elephant.
> Clyde was born in India.
> Is Clyde a citizen of India?
> Maybe.  We can't deny the proposition.
> The problem is that we also need a vocabulary that provides the terms to 
> distinguish "person" from "elephant", and the definition of "person" has 
> to include those "distinguishing characteristics".  A person is an 
> animal with some specific properties that distinguish "person" from 
> "elephant" and, more problematically, from "ape" (or not).  Experience 
> teaches that it takes an enormous vocabulary to explicitly make all the 
> distinctions people's brains have learned to make.  It is in making all 
> the necessary distinctions that the 2000-word vocabulary breaks down.
> The alternative of course is that you only need an axiom:  No person is 
> an elephant.  But then you need a lot of axioms just to sort out 
> persons, elephants, tigers and mongoose.  And the volume doubles when 
> you move to Australia.
> -Ed
> -- 
> Edward J. Barkmeyer                        Email: edbark@xxxxxxxx
> National Institute of Standards & Technology
> Manufacturing Systems Integration Division
> 100 Bureau Drive, Stop 8263                Tel: +1 301-975-3528
> Gaithersburg, MD 20899-8263                FAX: +1 301-975-4694
> "The opinions expressed above do not reflect consensus of NIST, 
> and have not been reviewed by any Government authority."    (04)

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