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Re: [ontolog-forum] intangibles (was RE: Why most classifications are fu

To: ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 12 Jul 2011 05:46:30 -0400
Message-id: <4E1C17F6.202@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Chris,    (01)

I have the highest regard for philosophy.  But please remember that
Wittgenstein's comments about philosopher's diseases was written
for *professional* philosophers, who sometimes go off the deep end.
They're not rejecting philosophy, but they choose an inadequate
subset for their problem.    (02)

> Ontology engineering needs to take what is useful from philosophy and
> leave what it not. Taking it all indiscriminately may well result
> in something similar to Wittgenstein's philosopher's disease,
> however taking nothing will perpetuate the problems.    (03)

I agree.  But it's essential to recognize the dangers of using
an inadequate choice of philosophical method for a problem.    (04)

> ... for data-intensive operational business systems. Normal people
> do not manage to produce consistent data models for these - not
> even experts do.    (05)

I agree.    (06)

But one of the most dangerous philosophical diseases is to adopt
an approach that works well for one kind of problem and try
to apply it to everything -- the "only tool" syndrome.    (07)

For example, purely extensional representations are useful for
talking about physical objects and processes, but they cannot
deal with anything that involves intentionality.  They cannot
answer any question that begins with the word 'why'.  They
can't represent a goal, a promise, or a contract.    (08)

John    (09)

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