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Re: [ontolog-forum] Self Interest Ontology

To: "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Richard Vines" <plessons@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 17 Aug 2011 20:44:59 +1000
Message-id: <002801cc5cca$b66a22e0$233e68a0$@netspace.net.au>
Hi John,

On slide slide 67 of this http://www.jfsowa.com/talks/iss.pdf you say:

● But all true theories must be consistent with observations.

I am not sure if this is a pedantic or a substantial matter I am raising. 

I would take the view that there are never any "true theories". 

All knowledge is fallible - some theories better explain something than
others because they are consistent with observations (principle of
induction). Observations that are inconsistent with theories act to refute
theories. In many ways this is the basis of evidenced-based practice.
Observations are a form of evidence and the evidence can refute a theory. By
taking the best theories into account, based on the evidence, we aim to
improve the quality of decision making.

But what happens when we cannot compare apples with apples. In fact, I would
argue this is almost always the case in reality. Knowledge is always
contextual and linguistic expressions always contain aspects of 'linguistic

Therefore, from one context to another, we need to have a way of dealing
with the incommensurability between different linguistic frameworks
associated with those contexts. This is why I prefer the idea of 'evidence
informed' decision making. It focuses on a perspective that only people
themselves can resolve semantic ambiguity between different contexts. An
evidence base informs decision making, it is not the basis of decision
making. Our ontologies are merged and/ or are expanded (or said another way
... they evolve through time) as a result of resolving semantic ambiguity.

Thinking about this challenge using another example ... the challenges of
interoperability and incommensurability in the translation of XML content
from one schema to another I have suggested: ....

..... it will not be possible to dispense with human intervention in the
translation of digital content. A technology that fails to acknowledge this,
and to make suitable provision for it, will be dysfunctional in comparison
with one that does. The reason for this is that digital content is ascribed
meaning by those people who use it; the categories used to organise content
reflect these meanings. Different communities of activity ascribe different
meanings and thus different categories. Translation of the elements of
content from one set of categories to another cannot, we claim, be
accomplished without the application of what we will call ‘human
interpretive intelligence’.

Schemas are theories about the world. Can these schemas be true? I don't
think so and if this is a serious answer to my question, then the
implications for thinking about interoperability strategies are very
significant indeed.

I am raising these matters as rhetorical questions rather than necessarily
statements of opinion.




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