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Re: [ontolog-forum] Truth

To: Avril Styrman <Avril.Styrman@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Cc: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: John F Sowa <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 29 Jun 2012 08:39:29 -0400
Message-id: <4FEDA201.4000104@xxxxxxxxxxx>
On 6/29/2012 7:50 AM, Avril Styrman wrote:
> D.M. Armstrong uses the term 'universal' for properties which have been,
> are, or will be instantiated. This is a good convention that separates
> uninstantiated properties from the instantiated ones.    (01)

Perhaps.  But we can't predict the future.  Some definitions can be
contradictory, such as a round square.  Therefore, we can safely say
that they will never be instantiated.    (02)

But there is no way to tell whether some consistent property,
such as 'golden mountain', might be instantiated somewhere in the
universe.    (03)

I realize that there has been a huge literature about universals and
particulars over the centuries.  And many of the texts have interesting
insights.  But for practical ontology, I would recommend against using
the words 'universal' and 'particular'.    (04)

If you're going to represent the ontology in some version of logic,
every useful distinction can be discussed in terms of that logic.
If you have the words 'relation' and 'instance' for talking about
the logic, you don't need the words 'universal' and 'particular'
for talking about any ontology expressed in that logic.    (05)

Basic point:  If your logic can't express some distinction, then
don't confuse your students with terminology that is irrelevant
to anything that they can express -- except perhaps in a little
historical background that you tell them "won't be on the test."    (06)

John    (07)

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