|To:||mclange@xxxxxxxxxxx, "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>|
|From:||William Frank <williamf.frank@xxxxxxxxx>|
|Date:||Tue, 22 May 2012 18:59:45 -0400|
This is a question that could lead to a lot of different threads, that could be amusing or troublesome, and maybe some thread that might be enlightening. |
One, that has been brought up below, is the fact that facts are slippery things: what people believe is true, what they are so sure about, they are willing to call it a fact, does not mean it IS true. Back to the theory of knowlege, which does not seem to fair well in this forum, with the total relativists among us seeming to believe (inconsistently) that a fact itself is "just" what somebody believes, inconsistent, because if they assert that, and I believe different, (that a fact is a statement that is true, and a known fact being one that someone is justified in believing (i.e.,knowledge = justified true belief). then we have no argument, since all beliefs are equally true, which leads me to wonder why they bother to converse, since there are no rational grounds for any discovery of what is more likely to be true.
But this is realted to the well known (fact?) that we can't ever be *sure* what is true, so we can't count facts but only justified (and perhaps unjustifed) beliefs, and the well known (fact) that only a surprisingly small number of the statements made on the Web appear to be true.
Another is how do you **count** facts? For almost 40 years, in the mid last century, started by Russel and Wittgenstein's idea of an atomic fact, carried forward by Carnap, might have suggested a way. For example, take the fact that I have 10 toes, and i know this is true, at least the last time I looked. Then, there are other facts that I know on reflection, such as that I have at least 3 toes, and that I do not have exactly 7 toes, and that I have fewer that 11 toes. In fact, going forward, we have an **infinite** number of facts: for each n, the fact that I have fewer than n toes, where n is greater than 10. I think the atomic facts in question are 10 in number, that I have toe 1, toe 2, etc. The problem with this is that atomic facts are based, as Mathew Lange says, on relationships between known entities, and how do we count these? The foot, the toes, the 26 bones in the foot, the 356 blood vessels?
So, it seems one needs an ontology of types of things, and a count of the instances of each type, and then perhaps the factorial of the sum of those counts, might be the number of possible atomic facts in the world identified by that ontology. Then, the total number of facts would be the sum of all the atomic facts expressible in each ontology. I suspect the fact that most of these possible atomic facts would be false would not change the order of magnitude of the answer. It would seem that how many of these possible facts could be known depends on the availability of knowers.
This all might lead to a reasonable investigation or to a Zen moment, or both..
On Tue, May 22, 2012 at 6:05 PM, matthew lange <mclange@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
Billions is several orders of magnitude too small, to be sure--but then again you were talking about beholders, not the facts themselves...wiuch leads me to think that we perhaps could estimate a ballpark average number of facts that a beholder needs to know for various levels of sophistication in particular knowledge domains--including "common sense".
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