Because I have followed a small number of the threads of this group over a period and learned a number of things from doing this, I thought I might make a small contribution back even though I am sure I am way out of my depth ……
RC: …….., I doubt if I can contribute much more, since I have a very strong conviction that subjective construction is the missing ingredient in ontology.
JS: There are three important issues that are worth discussing, but they should be kept distinct when we're trying to analyze them: (1.) The technical question about how modal logic is related to possible worlds and/or possible models of the world. (2). The philosophy of science about the nature of physical laws, and the criteria for accepting a hypothesis as a law. (3) The psychological and sociological issues about how scientists and engineers do their work and reach their conclusions.
In this discussion crossing over ontology and epistemic logic (and modalities), I am not sure why there is no reference to the nature of “evolutionary possibility”.
For me, there is a need to explicitly take into account a temporal component to this analysis …. that different types of knowledge emerge through time.
I have puzzled over these matters for some time and made a first attempt to link them in section 1.3 of first part of this paper (the overarching topic being about regulatory systems not epistemology or ontology). In thinking about this notion of “evolutionary possibility”, I was interested in exploring whether there might be merit in exploring a synthesis between Pierce, Popper (and his idea of “evolutionary epistemology”) Wittgenstein and Peter Munz. Munz was the only student ever to study under both Popper and Wittgenstein. It is clear from his book “Beyond Wittgenstein’s Poker”, Munz carried this as an unresolved burden for a good part of his life and his book has been an attempt to make sense of this early experience in the 1940’s. I was very interested in some of his discussion about meaning making within this context.
Subjective construction as “a missing ingredient in ontology” (in the broad sense of the word ontology) is very much alive and well in the discourse of knowledge management and to some extent, the KM world has recently been keen to draw upon Pierce’s notion of abductive reasoning to support the trend towards the uptake of a theory of social constructivism. Whilst I am sure this is a good thing, I think there is a long way to go before prevailing views about KM stabilise – it is still very much an emergent domain.
To this extent, I have been very much influenced by John’s advocacy for an “epistemic cycle”. I think this has a lot to offer for those with interests in KM theory and practice – and thus I referenced this in the piece referred to above.
This earlier piece on knowledge support systems in research intensive enterprises also made an attempt to integrate the impact of hierarchically complex systems and public knowledge spaces into this mix. These two aspects have some relevance to this discussion. – particularly, this:
i.e. RC multiple viewers of the same sign, each seeing it in distinct ways, and reaching distinct conclusions,