[Top] [All Lists]

Re: [ontolog-forum] Self Interest Ontology

To: "'[ontolog-forum] '" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Rich Cooper" <rich@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 18 Aug 2011 09:57:34 -0700
Message-id: <95A863AD292D412FB8FEEFD12246A6CD@Gateway>

Dear Richard,


Thanks for the reference to Darwin’s evolving knowledge.  But I am curious about your precise definition and use of the term “evolving knowledge”.  For your example, Darwin’s evolving book drafts make sense because the knowledge was recorded, and then iteratively refined, to better and better fit the observations, theories and knowledge gained at the time he iterated them. 


But the word “evolving” seems to me to require that kind of record by one single source, or even better, a reproducible record, such as Darwin’s book, a species’ chromosomes, and self reproducing automata that faithfully iterate pretty much the “same” structure time after time until it better fits the changing environment or situation. 


Do you feel the term “evolving” is adequate for such documents as laws, regulations, and other records that are only CHANGED (not truly refined) with new legislators, regulators, and recorders other than the originators?  When the power structure changes, the laws flip 180 degrees. 


For example, laws proposed by one set of legislators are repealed by others (e.g., Obamacare), and therefore are not truly evolving in REFINEMENT in that they are simply crafted and then recrafted by contending competing parties, without faithful preservation of past records. 


One exception that proves the rule might be the US constitution, which has only been amended without major modifications (refined?), but even there, consider the prohibition amendment, which was later repealed.  Consider the drug regulations, which are likely to soon be forced by events to be deregulated and replaced by licensing and taxation, and consider laws prohibiting stores from opening on Sundays which were in force a generation ago here, and are no longer applicable in a day when every kind of store, even liquor stores, can open on Sundays. 


Change is not necessarily evolutionary refinement, IMHO; it’s just a different power structure implementing a morality it believes in at one point in history being replaced by a power structure that disapproved of those morality laws in another generation.  The laws prohibiting abortion here in the fifties were replaced in the following decades by laws permitting them, though they are still a subject of political contention, and even spill over into interference with the development of stem cell medical treatment.  Those changes are solely motivated by one moral prescription replacing another, not by refinement. 


Evolution, as biologically formulated, doesn’t seem to go through such major revisions, but instead to make slight constructive incremental changes as organism classes encounter new environments and new competitors.  Is this difference relevant to the term “evolving knowledge”?


So while I like the term evolving knowledge, I would also like to have a more precise definition to clarify what is, and what is not, included in the terminology.  That would make it easier to discuss on the list.  Otherwise we are likely to exhibit incommensurable interpretations of evolving knowledge. 


Thanks for a really great insight!  I’m sure it will evolve here in refinement, at least for this set of list subscribers. 





Rich Cooper


Rich AT EnglishLogicKernel DOT com

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

From: ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Richard Vines
Sent: Thursday, August 18, 2011 2:06 AM
To: [ontolog-forum]
Subject: Re: [ontolog-forum] Self Interest Ontology


Hi Chris

I think these comments were addressed to me.


It seems that the genre below is not invitational ... so I won't comment on your ascriptions... except to point towards something I found quite interesting re a visualisation of knowledge as evolutionary. http://benfry.com/traces/. It takes a while to load.


We often think of scientific ideas, such as Darwin's theory of evolution, as fixed notions that are accepted as finished. In fact, Darwin's On the Origin of Species evolved over the course of several editions he wrote, edited, and updated during his lifetime.


I don't know if others would share an interest in this perspective giving some insight as to the presence of evolutionary processes, but as they say, nothing ventured nothing gained.


Thanks for the bits that were helpful.

Curious term - 'ontology engineering'.


Cheers, Richard







-----Original Message-----
From: ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Christopher Menzel
Sent: Thursday, 18 August 2011 9:04 AM
To: [ontolog-forum]
Subject: Re: [ontolog-forum] Self Interest Ontology


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.


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.


>>> 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...


>> 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.


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".


>> 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.


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.







Message Archives: http://ontolog.cim3.net/forum/ontolog-forum/

Config Subscr: http://ontolog.cim3.net/mailman/listinfo/ontolog-forum/

Unsubscribe: mailto:ontolog-forum-leave@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Shared Files: http://ontolog.cim3.net/file/ Community Wiki: http://ontolog.cim3.net/wiki/ To join: http://ontolog.cim3.net/cgi-bin/wiki.pl?WikiHomePage#nid1J



Message Archives: http://ontolog.cim3.net/forum/ontolog-forum/  
Config Subscr: http://ontolog.cim3.net/mailman/listinfo/ontolog-forum/  
Unsubscribe: mailto:ontolog-forum-leave@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Shared Files: http://ontolog.cim3.net/file/
Community Wiki: http://ontolog.cim3.net/wiki/ 
To join: http://ontolog.cim3.net/cgi-bin/wiki.pl?WikiHomePage#nid1J    (01)

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>