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Re: [ontolog-forum] Self Interest Ontology

To: ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 16 Aug 2011 11:50:05 -0400
Message-id: <4E4A91AD.5060004@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Azamat, Rich, Richard, Ron, and Ali,    (01)

There have been many ideas posted to this list over the past few days
that are worth considering.  But I agree with Azamat:    (02)

> The topic indeed needs more focusing and concentration... keeping away
> from politics, economics, history, and all sorts of the mass media's
> sensations and anecdotes, however amusing it might be.    (03)

I'd like to start with the following quotation from Wikipedia,
as copied by Rich:    (04)

> *Incommensurability* is the idea that it is possible to see the world in
> multiple ways, and that there is not a fair method to see which way is
> right. Some people think that it is possible that scientific traditions
> (called /paradigms/) can be incommensurable: it is not really possible
> to say which one is right...    (05)

That's a problem we face with huge numbers of legacy systems that
have no explicit theory of ontology.  They have implicit ontologies
embodied in working software.  That software is mission-critical for
the businesses that use it, and it's not going away for a long time.    (06)

> but the realists position and the notion that knowledge is fallible
> means that we cannot say something is right or true, we can only say
> that our claims more closely mirror the world than others...    (07)

The world is the starting point.  That's what people perceive and talk
about in everyday language.  Refined language, logic, and ontological
theories are important.  But the grounds of agreement are in the
ordinary language that everybody can read, write, and understand.    (08)

> We can only act, and then monitor the impact and then choose to amplify
> positive (emergent) patterns and constrain those that we do not want.
> This is where the wisdom of the crowd might have something really
> interesting to say. But, I think the wisdom of the crowd has to be set
> within a broad context of decision logics Ė and this is why I have been
> interested Johnís epistemic cycle etc of abductive, inductive and
> deductive reasoning.    (09)

I agree.  But before we propose new methods of reasoning, we need
to recognize that companies have successfully developed mission-
critical systems for over half a century.    (010)

In fact, we should look at the punched card systems that Hollerith
and his successors (IBM) developed a century ago.  Many of them
had useful methodologies for "systems and procedures" which people
quickly transferred to the early computer systems.    (011)

Remember that 'Univac' was synonymous with 'computer' in the public
mind during the 1950s.  But IBM overtook and passed all the competition
for one simple reason: they had a smooth *migration path* from punched
card systems to computers.    (012)

> Can you tell me how many years do you think that the litigation about
> compensation for a garbage dump or electrical generating plant (Nuclear
> or coal or hydro-electric) would take.  Who gets compensated - those
> downwind, those who lose a fishing spot or beautiful vista, everyone
> within 20 miles of a nuclear plant?    (013)

I agree.  Litigation is an extremely slow process that can take years
to complete.  It's a clunky system that tends to reward the wealthy,
independent of their guilt or innocence.    (014)

For people who are most likely to cause harm (rich or poor), clear
and simple rules are a cheaper and more effective guide to behavior
than a threat of a long delayed punishment, no matter how harsh.
But I certainly agree that we need to simplify and clarify the rules.    (015)

> in his "Moral Foundation Theory", [Haidt] identifies the following
> 5 fundamental categories which arise to various shades of morality:
> * Care for others, protecting them from harm. (He also referred to this 
>dimension as Harm)
> * Fairness, Justice, treating others equally.
> * Loyalty to your group, family, nation. (He also referred to this dimension 
>as In-group)
> * Respect for tradition and legitimate authority. (He also referred to this 
>dimension as Authority)
> * Purity, avoiding disgusting things, foods, actions.    (016)

That's a good summary of the issues, and I would add self-interest to
the list.  People who act ethically also need to survive.  I suggest
the Golden Rule:  "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."    (017)

I would also replace the word 'purity' with the more general word
'aesthetics'.  The phrase 'avoid disgusting things' is negative,
and it's better to have a positive goal for guidance.  As a short
summary, I suggest the slogan "Truth, beauty, and justice."    (018)

Peirce, by the way, chose *aesthetics* as the fundamental basis for
all value judgments.  Truth and justice are valued because they are
more harmonious and satisfying than lying and injustice.    (019)

But to bring this thread back to practicality, we need to integrate
all these issues with a "smooth migration path" that supports a
methodology that people would actually use.  That's the main theme
of the following slides:    (020)

    Integrating Semantic Systems    (021)

That talk contains 100 slides.  To get to the point of interoperability
among systems based on incommensurable theories, I suggest jumping
directly to slide 62 and read the six slides from 62 to 67.    (022)

In the Adobe reader, just type 62 into the window of the slide counter.    (023)

John    (024)

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