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

To: <doug@xxxxxxxxxx>, "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Christopher Spottiswoode" <cms@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sun, 18 Apr 2010 18:28:08 +0200
Message-id: <73345E53EFF249B7AC3AD967FDF71983@klaptop>
Doug,    (01)

Sorry that this response is so late, but I'd missed your post at first... 
Anyway, my response is so out of the line of the thread as it subsequently ran 
that it doesn't really matter, I don't think.    (02)

My comments are inline below.    (03)

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "doug foxvog" <doug@xxxxxxxxxx>
To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Friday, March 26, 2010 7:27 PM [SAST, or UTC+2]
Subject: Re: [ontolog-forum] Re Foundation ontology, CYC, and Mapping    (04)

> 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 
> a notion of Individual").
> 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 
> be considered an Individual?    (05)

In "MACK" (my long-time though bad acronym for "The Mainstream Architecture for 
Common Knowledge" which I am still working to pitch to this list in an 
acceptable way), the simple answers are yes, yes, and yes.    (06)

> I would suggest that instantiation is a relationship that holds between 
> something and a class.    (07)

Quite uncontroversial, I believe (though I would prefer "type" to "class"!) 
However, I would note that that additional structure or form (i.e. the 
instantiation relationship) is in fact also at the same fundamentally 
"Ontological" level as any supposedly standalone instancehood or 
That is, it is futile (at least...) to try to separate individualness from 
instantiation.  That is also part of what lies behind my final paragraph in my 
original post which you included in your post, appended below, about not going 
overboard in "lattice-ifying" our most basic ontologies.    (08)

> Having an ontological category refering to such things, really is a feature 
> the language you are using, not of the thing being referenced.    (09)

As I've already implied, I don't believe it meaningful to try to separate those 
two in this case.    (010)

> In a powerful enough ontology language, e.g. Cyc, every term (including ISA) 
> is an instance of a class.    (011)

As I've already answered, in MACK all relationships are individuals or 
too.  Likewise every term.    (012)

> I would use the term "Individual" at the broadest level to refer to things 
> that do not themselves have instances.    (013)

This is where we may at first seem to part ways.    (014)

Firstly, in MACK there is no need to fix any such attribute of any entity. 
Individual-hood is already implicit in the use of a term with any denotation 
whatever (though I'm not sure that everybody on this list would give the same 
broad yet colloquial sense to that word "denotation" that I do here...).    (015)

Secondly, and probably more novelly and significantly, in MACK your kind of 
Individual is too fluid or dynamic a notion to warrant specifying or 
except at runtime.  There are various considerations which mitigate in favour 
such context-dependent fluidity, and I have habitually conceived of the 
phenomenon as exemplying what I often think of as "the equivalence of type and 
instance."  Context-dependently, any entity or even any fact-triple may have a 
type-like or an instance-like nature.  At the most detailed level what we 
usually conceive of as an individual (in your leaf sense) can be seen as rather 
resembling a quale.    (016)

Now I realize that talking of qualia is to risk opening a can of worms that 
spill out endlessly on a list such as this.  But before trying to duck out of 
further discussion on the matter let me mention one connection with parts of 
this thread that is in a way consistent with that view.  It is John's "sense of 
redness" or "sense of frogness", which, here, when observed, are the instances 
which "justify" or "indicate" the generic qualities of "red" or "frog"..  But 
what can this fluidity of interpretation mean in a formally "ontological" 
The answer is extremely significant though it does point to one of the major 
uniquenesses of MACK (which may at this stage unfortunately come across as 
irrelevant or mystifying or even nonsensical... (but that, I assure you, would 
merely be an unfortunate consequence of my having taken the opportunity of this 
point in this thread to introduce what may seem a rather distant issue)).    (017)

You see, in a MACK-realization, during runtime, there is a continual (and 
multi-threaded!) switching between natures or implications, all in terms of 
controlled by!) dynamically-combined and -applied Forms constituting the exact 
contexts of the moment.    (018)

And that simply means (amongst much else...) that anything can be a type or an 
instance depending on the needs or momentarily-granted meanings of the facts as 
seen in the present context, where "context" here is the set of 
or deemed-relevant Forms (i.e. MACK Forms, your ontologies).    (019)

And the exciting feature of that aspect is that the result (as I can quite 
clearly see it coming) is really very natural and deals happily with many of 
problems, both explicit and implicit, which are discussed in lists like this, 
which can easily bedevil list discussions.    (020)

Sorry to leave you with this so incompletely introduced and argued picture, 
which is, I expect, apparently so vastly unfamiliar!  However, may I ask at 
stage if any of that seems to make some sense to you (Doug or anyone else)?    (021)

Christopher    (022)

> 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).
> 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.
> 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.
> The patterns (of redness, frogness, etc.) that JS refers to are not 
> to either theory of dimensionality.
> I agree that they imply the existence of individuals -- but not whether such 
> individuals are restricted to a certain spatio-temporal theory.
> -- doug foxvog    (023)

Christopher Spottiswoode wrote:
> John,
> Thanks as usual for your patient and painstaking response.  But my point was 
> different one than you addressed here:    (024)

> 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).    (025)

>> 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.    (026)

> My point was not a scientific or empirical one.  I did not have illusions
> versus "reality" in mind.  My point is an Ontological one.    (027)

> 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 
> knowledge itself - that it can make sense to abstract individuals out from 
> 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 
> 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 
> universally-acceptable degree of commonality?  Wider bases of agreement can 
> uncomplicate more detailed discussion where it is more important.
> Christopher    (028)

doug foxvog    doug@xxxxxxxxxx   http://ProgressiveAustin.org    (029)

"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.
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