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Re: [ontolog-forum] Self Interest Ontology

To: "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Christopher Menzel <cmenzel@xxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 17 Aug 2011 18:04:12 -0500
Message-id: <651F02FE-C940-434A-8BFC-9B63092544E3@xxxxxxxx>
On Aug 17, 2011, at 5:07 PM, Richard Vines wrote:
>>> All knowledge is fallible -
>> Well, if by this you mean that things that we know can be false, knowledge 
>is *not* fallible. We can't *know* things that are false -- cf. the 
>traditional definition of knowledge as justified *true* belief.
> …………….
> RV: Yes, this is a traditional definition of knowledge. An evolutionary 
>perspective that I have been influenced by, in contrast is that “knowledge is 
>solutions to the problems of life”. It is grounded in a realist’s perspective, 
>not a constructivists perspective.    (01)

There's nothing realist about that view; it is in fact strongly anti-realist, 
basically "Truth is whatever works".  That is an extreme form of pragmatism.  
For the classical realist, truth is some sort of correspondence to an 
objective, external reality.  Beliefs that simply work might, by some quirk of 
the universe, be strongly out of step with that reality and, hence, be 
objectively false.    (02)

>>> 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 
>> I'm never sure how to understand this claim.  It just seems obviously false. 
> What is contextual about the fact that addition on the natural numbers is 
>commutative or that the earth orbits the sun?  There was of course a time when 
>people *believed* the sun orbited the earth, but that was not a context in 
>which it was *true* that the sun orbited the earth. It was a context in which 
>a false proposition was believed to be true.
> ……………
> RV: Yes, … this to me supports a view that knowledge itself needs to be 
>understood as evolutionary. There is something very contextual about the 
>Galileo’s route to market for a new proposition about the relationship between 
>the sun and the earth.    (03)

Sorry, I'm not getting you.  Of course knowledge evolves in the sense that it 
grows and becomes more refined in a series of fits and starts.  But I have no 
idea what it means to understand knowledge as "evolutionary".    (04)

>> Would you provide an example of different, modern day linguistic frameworks 
>that are "incommensurable"?  Please stick to frameworks that have a bearing on 
>ontological engineering.
> …………
> RV: Sure: Trying to reconcile five different quality standards where there is 
>a need to make explicit the tacit schemas embedded in five different print 
>documents. See section 2 of this paper (sorry to requote this), where we look 
>at the challenge of what is involved in creating commensurability between five 
>separate quality standards in the community services context. The problem is 
>regulatory burden for those institutions that deliver services across these 
>types of service silos. There are plenty other examples. The primary focus for 
>me is dealing with incommensurability, not necessarily ontology engineering. 
>Ontology merging maybe.    (05)

Ok, well then it simply looks like the challenge is how to integrate five 
different, perhaps pairwise logically inconsistent, conceptions of quality in a 
useful way.  If you want to use "incommensurable" for "logically inconsistent", 
go right ahead, but "incommensurable" is such a trendy weasel word that no one 
has a clear idea of what they or anyone else means when they use it.  Logical 
inconsistency, by contrast, is completely clear and precise.  There is no 
reason whatever that I can see for muddying the waters with a buzzword when the 
problem at hand can be explained in clear, traditional, well-understood terms.    (06)

-chris    (07)

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