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

To: "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Christopher Spottiswoode" <cms@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 23 Mar 2010 18:29:21 +0200
Message-id: <EEF1744CC6564BE29848467657958A68@klaptop>
John,    (01)

Thanks as usual for your patient and painstaking response.  But my point was a 
different one than you addressed here:    (02)

> CS> I'm afraid I have great difficulty in giving any sense to
> > "a pattern of redness" or "a pattern of frogness" without any
> > notion of individual (or entity, for that matter, which you
> > also claimed to have dispensed with in your example of a very
> > simple ontology).
> One way to think about a pure observation language is to imagine
> that you're dreaming or looking at a movie screen.  The patterns
> you "see" might be pure illusions that have no connection to
> any physical objects.  The "sense" that you're asking for would
> have to be added by making assumptions about what generates
> those patterns.    (03)

My point was not a scientific or empirical one.  I did not have illusions 
"reality" in mind.  My point is an Ontological one.  Let me try again.    (04)

To talk of "a" anything implies some notion and process of individuation (and 
genericity, but that is a further matter, albeit a very similar and related 
one).  It is not that I am unhappy if you don't have Individual qua supertype 
part of some more abstract base ontology.  Especially in a lattice of theories 
optional base ontologies make perfect sense (even though I can't imagine why 
anyone would want to do away with this particular case of supertype).  But 
is an absolutely inescapable assumption in "a" anything - which my simple mind 
can only call Ontological as it's *so* basic to our conceptualized knowledge 
itself - that it can make sense to abstract individuals out from the raw flux 
our otherwise unconceptualized or unformed physical or mental experience. 
Calling such a "thing" (to attempt a different word for the same concept) "a 
pattern of <something>" instead of an "individual <something>" makes no 
difference in this context, much though it may be most relevant to showing one 
is not fooled by your magician's manipulations.    (05)

So I am not talking of that glib and much-abused notion of "theory-laden 
observations" either.  I am finding it impossible to conceive of "a" anything 
without a notion of Individual.  It's so basic as to deserve the status of 
a matter of Ontology, and an absolutely inescapable one at that.    (06)

So perhaps my point is that one must not go overboard in "lattice-ifying" our 
most basic ontologies?  Perhaps there is no harm in assuming a wider and still 
universally-acceptable degree of commonality?  Wider bases of agreement can 
uncomplicate more detailed discussion where it is more important.    (07)

Christopher     (08)

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