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

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Rob Freeman <lists@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 17 Feb 2010 11:33:24 +1300
Message-id: <7616afbc1002161433l7ee36924h3c0af99533dc674@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
I don't know how many times I've posted this quote. But there is value
in repetition:    (01)

Thomas Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, p.g. 44-45:
 (Quoting Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations, trans. G.
E. M. Anscombe, pp 31-36.)
'"What need we know, Wittgenstein asked, in order that we apply terms
like 'chair', or 'leaf', or 'game' unequivocally and without provoking
That question is very old and has generally been answered by saying
that we must know, consciously or intuitively, what a chair, or a
leaf, or game _is_. We must, that is, grasp some set of attributes
that all games and only games have in common. Wittgenstein, however,
concluded that, given the way we use language and the sort of world to
which we apply it, there need be no such set of characteristics.
Though a discussion of _some_ of the attributes shared by a _number_
of games or chairs or leaves often helps us learn how to employ the
corresponding term, there is no set of characteristics that is
simultaneously applicable to all members of the class and to them
alone. ..."    (02)

If it is not clear, I like his suggestion that we base our mappings on
"some" attributes between labels (importantly the set of "attributes"
can be different each time), and not be distracted by attempts to find
any kind of foundation set.    (03)

-Rob    (04)

On Wed, Feb 17, 2010 at 9:23 AM, sean barker <sean.barker@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> Doug Foxvog wrote
> "The referent for many terms would have to be defined in NL.  And the
> boundary conditions for terms would be hard to define.  Can we formally
> define a cat?  Certainly one could formally define a chair, but each
> ontology to be mapped to would probably have a different definition.  It
> might be nice to describe fuzzy boundaries for concepts."
> ...    (05)

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