Hi Doug, (01)
Comments below. (02)
> -----Original Message-----
> From: ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:ontolog-forum-
> bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of doug foxvog
> Sent: 09 July 2011 04:55
> To: [ontolog-forum]
> Subject: Re: [ontolog-forum] Why most classifications are fuzzy
> On Fri, July 8, 2011 9:59, Chris Partridge said:
> > JS> But too much worrying can cause depression and despair.
> > It seems to me you are complicating things. (And, I guess there are a
> > number of philosophers who would take the same tack.)
> > CP> Pat's questions are perfectly good ones, that help to characterise
> > CP> an
> > underlying issue.
> > Doug's proposal on intangible (presumably unperceivable) objects
> > raises all sorts of questions about what these could be -
> * Obligations (including laws and contracts)
> * Permissions
> * Conceptual works
> * Games (e.g., the game of chess, not the physical equipment, nor the
> events of people playing them)
> * Accounts (financial, leave, ...) and the contents thereof
> > and Pat, to my mind raised a
> > perfectly good question.
> > It would be interesting to know how we manage to know about these
> > unperceivable objects, and how they manage to have such an effect on
> > our lives - despite have no spatial (and no temporal?) dimensions.
> The classes of objects i've mentioned have temporal dimension.
> > If one wants intangible objects in one's ontology, then one should at
> > least have some idea about how one might answer this.
> Look at the descriptions in the Cyc ontology. (03)
Had a look at the descriptions. I cannot see how (or where) they answer the
question. Could you point us at the appropriate descriptions (and how they
answer this if it is not clear). (04)
> > There is a reasonably simple way of explOnaining all this.
> > If we talk about promises which are probably closer to our everyday
> > experience, rather than contracts - as they have the same intentional
> > structure.
> > If Jane makes a promise to Sarah - this is the promise.
> > When we ask whether this promise exists at a point in time, what does
> > this mean?
> This means that an obligation exists that Jane fulfill the promise to
> either of them consider it, they would agree that there is such an
> One or both parties may view the strength of the obligation as less
> important than other needs and obligations that Jane has. (05)
Not clear how this answers the question - "When we ask whether this promise
exists at a point in time, what does this mean?" Are you saying the
existence of the promise at a point in time is ontologically dependent upon
the existence of the obligation at that point in time? I would have thought
(a) the dependence was the other way around and (b) that it was across time
not at a point in time. (06)
I have found in business modelling there is some equivocation about the
meaning of the term agreement and its sub-types. Sometimes and in some
contexts it means the execution of the agreement (optionally including any
immediate offers) - in others the whole process including the execution and
'delivery'. It looks to me as if you are using the latter sense here - as
the promise persists until the obligation is fulfilled. Note: as instances
of the two senses have different temporal extents, it is unlikely that they
are the same objects. (07)
> > However, If we ask whether this promise is being made at a point in
> > time, it makes perfect sense.
> > (All so long as we do not introduce these intangible, unperceivable
> > things.)
> Huh? It makes perfect sense to ask whether an intangible, unperceivable
> thing is being made at a point in time, (08)
Really? So how does anyone check people's claims that this is being made.
How does one rationally deal with disagreements?
And how do these checks compare with checks dealing with something tangible
and perceivable? Are they just as robust? (09)
as long as that thing being made is
> not introduced?
I do not understand your point - what does "that thing being made is not
introduced" mean? (011)
> > What is interesting about Pat's question is that if all records
> > (including
> > memories) of the promise are destroyed, then, one can argue that
> > because of its intentional nature, it is impossible to keep the
> > promise. Even if Jane fortuitously does exactly what she promised
> > Sarah she would do, this is not keeping her promise as there is no
> > intention to do so.
> This seems to depend upon one's definition of keeping a promise. (012)
Agreed - hence I said that " one can argue that ..." (013)
> if Jane forgets the promise while Sarah remembers, Sarah would consider
> that Jane kept her promise in this case. (014)
Not necessarily if she knew it happened unintentionally (and Sarah took the
view that one needed to intend to keep one's promises). Indeed, if she did
not know this, one could argue she falsely believed the promise was kept. (015)
An ontology could have the class of
> event, KeepingAPromise_Generic, with subclasses
> KeepingAPromiseIntentionally and KeepingAPromiseUnintentionally.
> Different properties could be defined for these two subclasses of the more
> generic event.
The second class would be null (and nugatory) if one took the view that one
needed to intend to keep one's promises (as Gilbert's shared agency account
would prefer http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/shared-agency/#MutObl)
Hence my suggestion that Pat's question was pertinent as the way someone
answered it would give you an idea where they stood on this point. (017)
> -- doug f
> > Regards,
> > Chris
> >> -----Original Message-----
> >> From: ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:ontolog-forum-
> >> bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of John F. Sowa
> >> Sent: 08 July 2011 14:24
> >> To: ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
> >> Subject: Re: [ontolog-forum] Why most classifications are fuzzy
> >> Pat and Doug,
> >> Philosophers have discovered, created, and occasionally solved huge
> >> numbers of problems over the centuries. On the whole, I would say
> >> that their influence has been positive. We wouldn't have modern
> >> science and technology if the philosophers hadn't thoroughly analyzed
> >> the many thorny issues.
> >> But philosophers often create problems that nobody but a philosopher
> >> would ever worry about. Some amount of worrying can guard against
> >> disaster. But too much worrying can cause depression and despair.
> >> I have recommended Peirce's philosophy for one very important
> >> reason: it can cure an enormous amount of philosophical disease.
> >> Peirce created a lot of terminology of his own, but in general he
> > eliminated
> >> more useless terminology and worrying than he created.
> >> Furthermore, all his terms can be mapped directly to logic -- that's
> >> not
> > true
> >> of all philosophy.
> >> PC
> >> >> When do contracts exist?
> >> >> Pardon for the tangential post: There is one point in this
> >> >> discussion that I am curious about - do contracts (or other
> >> >> conceptual works) exist even if all tangible record of them
> >> >> (including the record in the creator's brain) disappear? This was
> >> >> mentioned in Doug F's post (below)
> >> DF
> >> > This is a few steps past what i referred to. It really becomes a
> >> > meta- physical issue: "if all evidence of a non-tangible ceases to
> >> > exist, does the non-tangible cease to exist as well?"
> >> This is a symptom of a philosophical disease. Please remember the
> >> basic triad of Mark, Token, and Type. Every contract is a type,
> >> which can be embodied in one or more tokens.
> >> Every type is of the same nature as any mathematical structure. An
> > example
> >> is the mathematical definition of a dodecahedron. That defines a type.
> >> Every physical object that looks like a dodecahedron is a more or
> >> less
> > perfect
> >> token of that type. Asking whether a mathematical entity exists if
> >> there
> > are
> >> no embodiments or no mathematicians who learned or remember the
> >> definition is a symptom that somebody needs an aspirin to avoid an
> >> incipient philosophical headache.
> >> DF
> >> > How would one ever know that an identical conceptual work was
> >> > created if all knowledge and records of the previous work ceased to
> >> That question could cause a migraine.
> >> PC
> >> > I try to make my classes as unfuzzy as possible.
> >> DF
> >> > This is useful for most purposes. Cyc generally does the same.
> >> > But it does find fuzzy classes useful for NLP stages.
> >> This is another issue that Peirce addressed. He used the word 'vague'
> >> instead of 'fuzzy', but the issues are the same.
> >> Peirce insisted that vagueness is *not* a degenerate stage from some
> >> original Platonic realm where everything is precise. Instead, he
> >> noted
> > that
> >> continuity is all pervasive. No discrete set of words, types, or
> >> classes
> > can
> >> precisely describe the physical world.
> >> For mathematical analysis, we often need precision in order to prove
> >> theorems. Just think of a dodecahedron. We couldn't prove theorems
> >> about them if we had to worry about the rough edges.
> >> But we have to remember that every physical token will be an
> >> imperfect embodiment for which many of those theorems will be
> >> Sometimes they'll be completely false.
> >> John
> >> _
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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
> in this war is ours. The initiative to stop it must be ours."
> - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
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