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

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "doug foxvog" <doug@xxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 26 Mar 2010 17:27:32 -0000 (GMT)
Message-id: <61295.>
Christopher Spottiswoode argues that the idea of "individual" is intrinsic
to the concept of Ontology.  However, he then defines it on the basis of
instantiation ("I am finding it impossible to conceive of "a" anything
without a notion of Individual").    (01)

This seems to me like instantiation, not instancehood.  One can concieve of
a class of objects; does that mean that the class is an individual?  One
can conceive of a relation between objects, is that also an individual?
One can even conceive of a class of object types (e.g. BiologicalSpecies,
each of whose instances (e.g., CanisLupus) is itself a class.  Is such
a meta-class to be considered an Individual?    (02)

I would suggest that instantiation is a relationship that holds between
something and a class.  Having an ontological category refering to such
things, really is a feature of the language you are using, not of the
thing being referenced.  In a powerful enough ontology language, e.g. Cyc,
every term (including ISA) is an instance of a class.    (03)

I would use the term "Individual" at the broadest level to refer to things
that do not themselves have instances.  A restriction of this class to
exclude relations and functions is another, also useful category.  A
further restriction of this class to exclude numbers and character
strings is also useful (in many ways, more useful).    (04)

The "patterns" John Sowa discusses are narrower still.  He is referring to
a subclass of Individual that has spatio-temporal physical extent (a
highly useful subclass of Individual) which, also, can be sensed in some
way.  Note that some spatio-temporal entities (e.g., a RestrictedZone)
are spatio-temporal simply by definition, and can not, of themselves, be
sensed.    (05)

What are further properties of such classes (varieties of Individual)?
Nothing that does not logically follow from their definitions. 3+1D and 4D
subclasses of them can be defined such that an instance of one is not an
instance of the other.  However, rules can be written that would provide
mappings between 3+1D and 4D statements.    (06)

The patterns (of redness, frogness, etc.) that JS refers to are not
restricted to either theory of dimensionality.    (07)

I agree that they imply the existence of individuals -- but not whether
such individuals are restricted to a certain spatio-temporal theory.    (08)

-- doug foxvog    (09)

Christopher Spottiswoode wrote:
> John,
> Thanks as usual for your patient and painstaking response.  But my point
> was a different one than you addressed here:    (010)

> John Sowa wrote:
>> 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).    (011)

>> 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.    (012)

> My point was not a scientific or empirical one.  I did not have illusions
> versus "reality" in mind.  My point is an Ontological one.    (013)

> To talk of "a" anything implies some notion and process of individuation
> ... there
> 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 of
> our otherwise unconceptualized or unformed physical or mental experience.
> ... 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
> being
> a matter of Ontology, and an absolutely inescapable one at that.
> ...
> 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.
> Christopher    (014)

doug foxvog    doug@xxxxxxxxxx   http://ProgressiveAustin.org    (015)

"I speak as an American to the leaders of my own nation. The great
initiative in this war is ours. The initiative to stop it must be ours."
    - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
=============================================================    (016)

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