Dear John, (01)
This is your lattice of theories, but I detect a new twist. (02)
> JFS>> But for any given set of applications, it is not too difficult
> >> to formalize just enough for those applications.
> MW> Doing this for a known set of applications is relatively easy.
> > The challenge is to enable arbitrary addition of applications.
> I agree. And my suggestion for supporting an open-ended number of
> applications of any kind is to organize the collection of theories
> in a hierarchy. Any change of any kind can be accommodated by
> inserting a generalization, specialization, sibling, or cousin.
MW: What is required here is a way of knowing and managing collections of
theories that can be added or subtracted and maintain consistency. There
will of course be multiple of these based around different upper and perhaps
middle ontologies. (03)
MW: The other thing that occurs to me is that there will also be a value for
what I would call abstract theories that are not attached to any upper
ontology, but are crafted so that they take on the characteristics of
different upper ontologies when included. For example, you could have a
Linean structure of living things that did not know about 3D or 4D, but
could take on either flavour when incorporated into those theories. This
could have considerable value in achieving interoperability, and might well
be the useful thing that arises from Pat C's vision of a common defining
vocabulary, though I don't think there is any such vocabulary that is
finite, but if we have extensibility, that does not matter too much, we just
add what we need when we need it. (04)
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