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

To: "'[ontolog-forum] '" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Matthew West" <dr.matthew.west@xxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 26 Jul 2011 07:21:54 +0100
Message-id: <4e2e5d05.533ce30a.0814.04d1@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>

Dear John,


I am left wondering what it is you would use possible worlds/Dunn’s semantics for. It seems that you are expecting different laws of physics to apply.

For all the practical applications I have, the laws are just the same as in our world, it is just that some of the facts are different. So I decide to go to Paris on holiday instead of New York. I do not see this as being determined by some rules.

Please explain how the rules and laws are different for these two cases?




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From: ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx
Sent: 25 July 2011 16:16
To: [ontolog-forum]
Subject: Re: [ontolog-forum] intangibles (was RE: Why most classifications are fuzzy)



No.  I gave examples of short-term physical predictions just to illustrate the point.  But every one of those examples can be extended at any length of time whatever.

> IMO, moving in the physical world, interacting with the world, manipulating with the world's objects, processing the world's instant representations, are hardly about predictions, in the strict sense.

Predicting your next step on a walkway is of *exactly* the same nature as predicting the weather.  Both of them depend on the same laws of nature:  gravity, the behavior of physical objects in a force field, the relationships among multiple competing forces acting on matter, etc.

The next step beyond predicting how to place your foot on a slippery slope is to design a wakway or a bridge to provide a more secure footing.  Primitive societies learned how to develop that technology by a few steps of cognitive reasoning beyond just trial and error.  Humans did it by thinking, and spiders did it by genetic learning over millions of years.  But the fundamental principles are *exactly* the same.

The fact that the short-term interactions are learned by trial and error rather than formal lectures in a physics course is a trivial  difference from the point of view of ontology.  There is a continuum between a child learning how to maintain balance while walking and engineers using physics to predict how the International Space Station will interact in the gravitational fields of the earth, sun, and moon.

As far as ontology is concerned, the child and the engineer are learning about gravity and how to maintain a desired position within its range of influence.  They're making the same kinds of predictions for the same reasons -- but at different levels of  complexity on the continuum.


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