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Re: [ontolog-forum] Self Interest Ontology

To: "'[ontolog-forum] '" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Rich Cooper" <rich@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 16 Aug 2011 09:35:46 -0700
Message-id: <7E0969A430044B3E9D7A91AEF67FD5BE@Gateway>

Dear John,

Re your ISS slides, slide number 65, you wrote:

    Any formal theory can only express one version at a time.

That is why I chose the And/Or search algorithm class for my database context discovery methods.  Using different heuristic metrics, multiple viewpoints of the same factual structures (represented in the graph) can be visited sequentially as the solution subtree switches among the alternative interpretations.  Each such solution subtree is itself consistent, and the forest of subtrees is based on the same facts and rules which establish any one of the subtrees. 

This approach requires that all facts (the Interface as your quote from Otto Rossler puts it) are agreed to by all participants as observations.  Even the choice of facts to believe is subjective (remember the work on belief systems back in the 80s or so?) and certainly which facts should have how much weight and which others are inconsequential are subjective opinions (Rosslers endophysics, though I dont particularly like that name.  I would prefer acknowledging the subjectivity of the observer rather than objectifying it as though it were some universal physics theory). 

On slide 67, you wrote:

    Any theory (exo- or endo-) that claims to be true about the world must be consistent with observations:

    ● No observation can contradict a true theory.

    ● But many observations may be irrelevant to a theory that is true about some limited aspect of the world.

    ● Theories may also have internal variables that are not directly related to observations.

    ● The internal variables of one theory may be very different from or inconsistent with the internal variables of another theory.

    ● But all true theories must be consistent with observations.

All of these points are preserved by the sequential readout of subtrees using various heuristic viewpoints. 

On slide 68, you wrote:

    Query processing: An SQL query or a path-based query is evaluated to truth or falsity in terms of the given DB.

I would prefer to interpret the query as truth bindings or lack of said truth bindings.  Falsity cannot be proven by a lack of answers, it can only be interpreted as to the best of my knowledge, no answers are available at this time.

With RVs concept of incommensurability factored in, it seems that a database comprises a list of known entities, relationships and attributes, and constraints among them, but the fact that not all views are represented in any database should be emphasized.  Naïve operators blame the computer if the answer doesn’t suit them, but all that can be realistically concluded is that the answer isnt there, if it exists at all. 




Rich Cooper


Rich AT EnglishLogicKernel DOT com

9 4 9 \ 5 2 5 - 5 7 1 2

-----Original Message-----
From: ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of John F. Sowa
Sent: Tuesday, August 16, 2011 8:50 AM
To: ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: Re: [ontolog-forum] Self Interest Ontology

Azamat, Rich, Richard, Ron, and Ali,

There have been many ideas posted to this list over the past few days

that are worth considering.  But I agree with Azamat:


> 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.

I'd like to start with the following quotation from Wikipedia,

as copied by Rich:

> *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...

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.


> 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...

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.


> 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 – and this is why I have been

> interested John’s epistemic cycle etc of abductive, inductive and

> deductive reasoning.

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.

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.

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.


> 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?

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.

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.


> 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.

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."

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."

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.

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:


    Integrating Semantic Systems

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.

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




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