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

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Rob Freeman <lists@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 15 Feb 2010 19:09:23 +1300
Message-id: <7616afbc1002142209m15d7ee1eg96cf5a5ace1ab6b9@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
John,    (01)

On Mon, Feb 15, 2010 at 2:27 AM, John F. Sowa <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> ...
> I wasn't referring to any specific note, but we had previous
> discussions (in which we mostly agreed) about the fact that a great
> deal of information can be derived from the patterns of words in
> a document.  That information, which is never formalized, can be
> used for analogical reasoning (in a very broad sense of 'analogy').    (02)

It is good that we agree a great deal of information can be derived
from patterns among observables.    (03)

I don't think those observables need be limited to "words in a
document", though natural language does offer a very clear and
accessible example.    (04)

The key thing is, I think we're agreed, many patterns can never be
completely formalized.    (05)

That's already a big step. If we can get some consensus on that, a
vast amount of wasted effort, people constantly trying to find
complete formalizations for all kinds of data, would be saved.    (06)

Not to mention the wasted effort of people arguing about which formal
perspective is the "real" perspective, what names and labels "really"
mean.    (07)

> The question of how those informal patterns can be related to
> the more formal information in databases and computer programs
> is critical to practical applications.  I believe that it can
> be done, and many useful programs have implemented techniques
> for doing so.    (08)

To comment I need to get a clearer idea what you mean by "more formal
information in databases and computer programs".    (09)

As I hope is clear, I don't think information in computer programs is
necessarily formal. Not in the sense that all the information in them
can be expressed with decidable/complete/uncontradictory axioms.    (010)

Most of the information in our computer programs today may be coded
formally, it's true. But I don't think that is due to anything
intrinsic to computer programs. Rather I think it is due to something
intrinsic to the way humans simplify and communicate about the world.    (011)

We see the world in terms of labels, so we've assumed that is the way
the world is, and we've programmed our computers to incorporate that
assumption.    (012)

The key problem has been we have not realized our formalizations must
always be partial.    (013)

I don't think it will be difficult to map the real world to one or
other formalization once we realize that formalizations are not basic,
certainly not essential to computation, but just a human
simplification, and actually a "lossy" simplification, something that
must always be partial.    (014)

-Rob    (015)

P.S. Pat C. I'm aghast at how you reconcile this comment:    (016)

"In these discussions of the principles of an FO and a proposed FO project,
not only has there been no technical objection to the feasibility of an FO
to serve its purpose..."    (017)

With this one:    (018)

Pat C: "I do not know how to prove that *every* pair of incompatible
theories can be specified by axioms using some common set of agreed
terms.  To make the FO project worth funding, don't think it is
necessary to prove that *mathematically*, but if we can conclude that
exceptions would be rare..."    (019)

Perhaps there is something in the words "to serve its purpose" which
has completely changed the words "foundation ontology" so that they
now mean something which makes the two compatible?    (020)

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