On 9/28/2010 10:20 AM, Jon Awbrey wrote:
> I was having trouble posting this the other day, so let me try again.
> JS = John Sowa
> RM = Rick Murphy
> RM: I'm working hard to overcome my preconception that Entity
> is not only Thing(s), but I'd like a better visual cue,
> like Being. Have any projects favored the term Being?
> The Greeks had a word for it:
"Pragma" in computer science means a directive to the compiler
that is essentially a comment in the code. See http://foldoc.org/pragma
we are operating at least somewhat in a computer science context,
i don't think that is the best word to use.
The word "entity" seems to me to indicate something that has an independent
existence. The redness of an apple, the weight of a ping pong ball, or
the experience of the breeze brushing against my face don't seem to
be well covered by this English word. I have the same objection to the
We are looking for a label that includes everything. As mentioned below,
"it says absolutely nothing, and it is therefore true of everything."
The Bretano quote below says "[i]n presentation something is presented,
in judgment something is affirmed or denied, ... Every mental phenomenon
includes something as object ... No physical phenomenon exhibits
anything like it."
Note the words used in these quotes for describing the most general
concept that includes
all other concepts that can be referred to:
"everything", "anything", "nothing", "something". I note the commonality
of these words, they all are derived from the word "thing", and so can be
understood to mean every, any, no, or some *thing*.
So what would be a good label for the class of all these things?
I can see arguments for "Everything", "Something", or even "Anything",
but can come up with reasons that each could be misleading when
translating some assertions about the class. However "anything" seems
to me to mean "any instance of thing", "everything" means "every instance
of thing", "something" means "some instance of thing", and "nothing"
means "no instance of thing." This suggests to me that an appropriate
label for this class is "Thing". I note that major, broad ontologies,
including Cyc, KIF, and SUMO all label their root nodes "Thing".
Since we want to establish mappings
to all major ontologies, our root
node would map to CYC:Thing, KIF:Thing, and SUMO:thing, so there is not
really any need to create an additional term with the same meaning, but
this "synset" could be used as the top node.
-- doug foxvog
> | "No longer wondered what I would do in life but defined my object."
> | C.S. Peirce, 1861
> The complex of meanings rooted in the Greek word ''pragma''
> is not really lost in the diversity of meanings gathered in
> our Latin-derived ''object'' -- it is only particular styles
> of interpretation that tend to become forgetful of their ends.
> JS: Both Peirce and Brentano were strongly influenced by
> Aristotle's notion of 'telos' (end or purpose) which
> was a major issue. Telos isn't one of the categories,
> but it's one of Aristotle's four
aitia (translated 'causes',
> but with misleading connotations, since the modern English
> 'cause' has shifted in meaning since the Greek 'aition' or
> its Latin translation as 'causa').
> JS: See the quotation below by Brentano. For Peirce, the category
> of Thirdness includes intentionality as a special case, since
> CSP would consider the laws of physics to involve Thirdness,
> but the word 'intention' would be misleading. I go into
> more detail about related issues in the following article:
> JS: The Role of Logic and Ontology in Language
> Saying that "the Category of Thirdness
> is a way of saying that 3 is the minimal adequate dimensionality
> of relational models for describing the domain of phenomena in
> question, whatever name you choose to give it. In short, you
> need relational data tables with 3 columns to have a chance
> of dealing with the intrinsic complexity of the phenomena.
> For some reason, the suffix "-ness" tends to make people think of essences,
> and these in the form of monadic predicates, and this has turned out to
> in view of the history of long and fruitless discussions on the subject --
> a needlessly obscure and misleading way of trying to deal with the issues
> of relational complexity. I have found that it's almost always better to
> try and think of concrete examples of 3-adic relations to illustrate the
> domain of so-called "Thirdness".
> John F. Sowa wrote:
> > On 9/25/2010 9:42 PM, Rick Murphy wrote:
> > > Am I correct to assume that intentionality is the logos that is not
> > > depicted in Brentano's tree of Aristotle's categories?
> > The Latin word 'intentio' was used by the medieval Scholastics to
> > distinguish _first intentions_, which are language about things
> > outside language, from _second intentions_, which are language
> > about language.
> > Both Peirce and Brentano had studied Aristotle and the Scholastics
> > in great detail. They independently adopted the word 'intention'
> > for related, but slightly different notions.
> > Both Peirce and Brentano were strongly influenced by Aristotle's
> > notion
of 'telos' (end or purpose) which was a major issue.
> > Telos isn't one of the categories, but it's one of Aristotle's
> > four aitia (translated 'causes', but with misleading connotations,
> > since the modern English 'cause' has shifted in meaning since
> > the Greek 'aition' or its Latin translation as 'causa').
> > See the quotation below by Brentano. For Peirce, the category
> > of Thirdness includes intentionality as a special case, since
> > CSP would consider the laws of physics to involve Thirdness,
> > but the word 'intention' would be misleading. I go into more
> > detail about related issues in the following article:
> > http://www.jfsowa.com/pubs/rolelog.pdf
> > The Role of Logic and Ontology in Language
> > > I'm working hard to overcome my preconception that Entity
> > > is not only Thing(s), but I'd like a better visual cue,
> > > like Being. Have any projects favored the term Being?
> > The English word 'being' can be used as a participle meaning 'ens'
> > or as a gerund that means 'entitas', as in the term 'human being'.
> > Aristotle used the term 'to on' -- which could be translated to
> > Latin as 'the ens', if Latin had a definite article.
> > Heidegger used phrases like "das Sein des Seiendes" -- translated
> > as "the Being of beings". But to avoid sounding Heideggerian,
> > I
would prefer not to use the word 'Being'.
> > As I have said many times, it's irrelevant what you call the top node
> > of an ontology because its intension (with an 's') is empty: it says
> > absolutely nothing, and it is therefore true of everything. I would
> > prefer a symbol that is as totally devoid of content as possible.
> > But it's convenient to have a pronounceable word. Therefore, an
> > technical term, such as 'entity', would have fewer distractions than
> > a more common word like 'being'. Having a "visual cue" would be a
> > distraction, since it might suggest something that could be seen
> > That content is false for many kinds of "entities".
> > > BTW - I tried this experiment tonight as did my
> > > With your eyes closed, try to see the number 1. Can you
> > > actually see it, or can you only imagine it ?
> > The normal uses of the words 'see' and 'imagine' don't really apply
> > to such questions in any clear way. But the recent work on brain
> > scans provides some interesting data:
> > 1. The same areas of the brain that are used to perceive an object
> > (by vision or hearing) are also used when a person is thinking
> > about the image of sound. (These points have been suspected
> > for years, but brain scans have provided much more data.)
> > 2. But in direct sensory perception, the initiating
> > comes from the senses. A conscious effort to "imagine"
> > something seems to be initiated by the frontal lobes.
> > 3. When somebody thinks about an image or a melody, brain scans
> > show that the same sensory areas light up that were stimulated
> > by the senses. However, the frontal lobes, which tend to be
> > quiescent in perception, tend to light up during attempts to
> > imagine the sensation.
> > I don't know whether anybody has done brain scans of people thinking
> > about numbers, but I doubt that they would suggest a better term
> > for the top node of an ontology.
> > _____________________________________________________________________
> > Every mental phenomenon is characterized by what the Scholastics of the
> > Middle Ages called the intentional (or mental) inexistence of an
> > object, and what we might call, though not wholly unambiguously,
> > reference to a> content, direction towards an object
> > (which is not to be understood here as meaning a thing),
> > or immanent objectivity. Every mental phenomenon
> > includes something as object within itself, although they do not all do
> > so in the same way. In presentation something is presented, in
> > judgment something is affirmed or denied, in love loved,
> > in hate hated, in desire
> > desired and so on. This intentional
in-existence is characteristic
> > exclusively of mental phenomena. No physical phenomenon exhibits
> > anything like it. We could, therefore, define mental phenomena by
> > saying that they are those phenomena which contain an object
> > intentionally within themselves.
> > Franz Brentano, Psychology from an Empirical Standpoint,
> > edited by Linda L. McAlister (London: Routledge, 1995), pp. 88-89.
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doug foxvog doug@xxxxxxxxxx http://ProgressiveAustin.org
"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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