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Re: [ontolog-forum] Semantics of Natural Languages

To: ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sun, 04 Sep 2011 23:27:42 -0400
Message-id: <4E6441AE.1020508@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Pat, Rich, and Azamat,    (01)

> I am finding this whole thread rather bewildering.    (02)

I don't blame you.    (03)

Self interest is necessary for self preservation in every species,
and it would be part of any theory that includes subjectivity.
I have made some suggestions for generalizing the project.    (04)

> I chose the term self-interest because that explains a huge
> portion of the political scenarios that were discussed
> in the beginning of this thread.    (05)

I have been trying to point out that the best you can get out
of an ontology is a clear and precise definition of terms.    (06)

To get any kind of testable predictions and practical advice
about politics (or any other subject), you need to get some
actual data -- i.e., facts.  You won't get any such thing
from the definitions in an ontology.    (07)

And judging from the discussions we've been having, I believe
that you can get better definitions more quickly by consulting
any off-the-shelf dictionary designed for human consumption.    (08)

> Perhaps the phylogenically attributed “virtues” (self sacrifice
> a la apoptosis, sexiness as viewed from the opposite gender,
> healthiness observables [power, wealth, generosity a la peacock
> displays…] as viewed from all genders …) are the ones at the top
> (nil end) of the lattice.    (09)

Any ontology of self interest will involve all subjective aspects
including the ones you mentioned.    (010)

Just one point:  it's misleading to call the top of the lattice
the "nil end".  It's true that the top has no axioms (i.e., no
constraints).  That means it applies to anything and everything.    (011)

That point was noted as early as Aristotle: the more axioms in
a theory, the greater the constraints, and the fewer individuals
it applies to.  Conversely, the fewer the axioms, the fewer the
constraints, and the greater the number of individuals.    (012)

Therefore, the top node, which has no axioms, says nothing,
and it's therefore true of everything.  Rather than call it
the nil end, it's more appropriate to call it the universal end.    (013)

John    (014)

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