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Re: [ontolog-forum] metaphysis, semantics and the research program of on

To: "'[ontolog-forum] '" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Rich Cooper" <rich@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 2 Apr 2012 10:19:15 -0700
Message-id: <4AF73EB32B5B46B0A84594ADFE914A4C@Gateway>

Dear Ronald,


I found a graphical view of the categories you espoused:


I like the way you use normal conversational words to name the concept nodes.  Some of the links (i.e. [Norms, Knowledge]) have two directional arcs, though most have only one direction.  How do you interpret the two dimensional arcs, and what do they mean?


What is MEASUR?  How does it relate to the other concepts in the diagram? 


I found the paper “Stumbling across a soft mathematics…”, though the URL is the same as for the other papers there: http://www.rstamper.co.uk/


Thanks for an intuitive categorization of reality, though I don’t think you mean it to be all encompassing.  Still, it shows categories that are interrelated on the basis of familiar objects and actions that are everyday concerns of many people. 





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 Ronald Stamper
Sent: Monday, April 02, 2012 9:54 AM
To: [ontolog-forum]
Subject: Re: [ontolog-forum] metaphysis,semantics and the research program of ontologies


Dear colleagues,


Interesting discussion.

On metaphysics, semantics, context, ontology etc. we have taken a different route.  It serves well in practical information system engineering and I think it could contribute to the semantic web and “ontology” in the computer science sense.


I’ll provide, from the point of view of our methods, brief notes on a few of the topics mentioned in the discussion.  I’m sorry that it turns out to be longer than intended.


SEMANTICS: The problem of meaning requires us to examine the relationships between things A (in the role of signs) that stand for things B, regarded as objects in the reality that the sign system can represent.  For that limited problem, we must make a commitment about our understanding of the reality involved in this meaning relationship.  We may need only a limited kind of solution to the metaphysical issue of ontology.  We accept that limitation.  But we do not accept the limitation that seems to govern the main body of work on the Semantic Web (OWL-related, for instance) that signs stand for other signs.  We are focused on the world beyond the signs.


ONTOLOGY:  For all practical engineering purposes, the only things that exist do so because a responsible agent can perceive them in the here-and-now.  This Presentist version of Actualism induces careful examinations of time, signs and responsibility, among other things.  (Computing devices are not responsible agents.)


PERCEPTION: An agent experiences a continual flux of events and actions which it makes sense of by discovering invariant repertoires of behaviour that enable it to survive and to avoid the slings and arrows . . . .   (See James Gibson’s Theory of Affordances). The recognition of affordances can be learned by individuals and evolved by a species.


SUPREME  CATEGORY: affordance = invariant repertoire of behaviour.


REALISATION: For an agent, a thing only exists when that affordance is available or realised and this entails the coexistence of all its ontological antecedents (see dependency, below). 


UNIVERSAL/ CATEGORY: An affordance, as a recognisable, ‘useful’ ability to employ an invariant repertoire of behaviour (example: walk is usually available to a person from about 1 year until old age but realised only during some particular intervals).


PARTICULAR/ INSTANCE: A universal (ability) may be realised for many particular, shorter, possibly overlapping periods within its existence (each time a person walks, for example, or encounters a dog). The agent may not necessarily be able to discriminate between those particulars (quite a complex process of discovery).


DIRECT KNOWLEDGE: An agent constructs its own reality by discovering the repertoires of behaviour afforded by the combined functioning of its own structure and the chaotic world it occupies.  (No simple boundary between the body and environment of the agent?)


ONTOLOGICAL DEPENDENCY: An agent that realises (has available) a certain affordance may be able to realise further ontologically dependent affordances. For example       

Agent upright walk

or, for joint affordances

                        Agent  (paper [medium] WHILE pencil [tool]) draw

Here, draw has two ontological antecedents; no affordance has more than two.


ROLES: Relative to every realised affordance, every antecedent plays a role.  Direct antecedents often have natural language names (in the example above ‘medium’ is dubious) but, at least, they have default code names.


ONTOLOGICAL/ SEMANTIC SCHEMA: The schema resulting from the successive application of the ontological dependency constraint depends on a particular root agent. It imposes tight constraints on the existence of things in the perceived reality all of which is the ‘private’ reality of that agent. 


RESPONSIBILITY: In a biological sense, an isolated agent is responsible for the affordances it discovers and is responsible for using them, in that it must endure the physical and ecological consequences of any behaviour prompted by the affordances it recognises.


PRESENT: = the coexistence of an agent’s affordances. An agent with memory (internally generated and maintained signs) can transcend its limitation within the present.  For any realised affordance, it will remember (retain a signs for) the periods when it did not exist and for its start and finish events.


TIME: The starts and finishes of realisations, registered with the benefit of memory, begin the development of a notion of time.  Moments of time exist only semiologically; they cannot be visited for perception as sustained repertoires of behaviour, as other things are perceived, they can only be signified before or after their existence.


SIGNS: In addition to the development of memories, agents will evolve the perceptions of signs through metonymical and metaphorical relations to what they stand for.  Agents of the same phenotype will discover how to share their naturally similar repertoires of signs.


SOCIETY: An isolated agent can construct only a rather limited reality.  That changes when a number of agents collaborate by using signs and learn the affordances discovered by others while also learning to  discover collectively affordances beyond the abilities of any of their individual members.


SEMIOLOGICAL KNOWLEDGE: Supremely in the case of humankind, a society of agents becomes the effective root agent, creaing the larger reality that its members share.  The Actualist ontology compels one to examine in a thorough and rigorous manner the use of signs for constructing past, future, possible, fictional and various social 'realities'.


AUTHORITY: An isolated agent is the only possible authority for making or recognising any change in its perceived reality.  A society, consisting of many responsible agents, assigns authority to appropriate members as agents who register or decide upon changes.  In many cases, starts and finishes are authorised by norms.  The condition that triggers the norm’s application will distribute authority over possibly many agents who determine the facts that the condition takes into account.


RESPONSIBILITY: In the social sense, responsibility is the obverse of authority (devolved or usurped) and it indicates with whom to communicate to obtain information or challenge it. 


SEMANTIC TEMPORAL DATA BASE:  The STDB serves as a symbolic surrogate for the perceivable reality, each realisation represented by a relational tuple consisting of identifiers representing

            surrogate identifier

            category/ universal

            first antecedent

            [second antecedent]

            start (contemporary realisation)

            finish (contemporary realisation)

            authority for start  (agent, norm, speech act)

            authority for finish (agent, norm, speech act)


LANGUAGE: One may make assertions or ask questions about the subject domain; that requires words, names or numbers (possibly pictures). These are joint affordances, each ontologically dependent on the realisation and the relevant language(s) or register(s) employed by the people using the information.  To accommodate different cultures, expressions may be needed rather than single words to serve some language or other for various affordances.


CONTEXT: Any sentence formed using the signs associated with the schema and particulars recorded in the STDB will use operators – WHILE, ORWHILE, WHILENOT, BEFORE etc – that take account of the start and finish events.  The times or temporal relationships, authorities and the antecedents structures for all the realisations involved all to the context. Context is limitless, always extending beyond any degree of formalisation we may achieve.


“ONTOLOGY” (in the computer science sense): The ontological dependency schema, which is very stable (indeed it displays empirically the properties of a canonical form - always open to refutation), can be developed gradually by accretion from successive applications. 


GENERIC-SPECIFIC: The generic-specific relationships that dominate most Semantic Web “ontologies” tell us about relationships among certain categories; they are perceptual norms that summarise other norms – cognitive, deontic or evaluative. Each has a period of existence with a start, a finish and associated authorities. G-S relationships included in an ontological dependency schema help to abbreviate it. 


APPLICATIONS: We use these ideas for specifying purely human information systems as systems of social norms, with the ontological dependency schema providing the core of the perceptual norms. We are now able to generate supporting computer applications for the human system automatically - still testing the limits.


PROJECT: We’d like to initiate a programme for the incremental development of a public domain “ontology” based on the concept of ontological dependency. Finance?  Any suggestions?


Ronald Stamper

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