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Re: [ontolog-forum] The concepts can change?

To: "'[ontolog-forum] '" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Matthew West" <dr.matthew.west@xxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sat, 14 Jul 2012 09:47:31 +0100
Message-id: <50013226.c54fb40a.1ce6.ffffedf3@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>

Dear Marcelino,


What does it mean to say that concepts can change?


MW: For a concept to be able to change would suggest a very unusual usage of the term. Usually the whole idea of a concept is that it refers to the same thing always.


It is the case that the meaning of the concepts can change over time? In this case, what is the meaning of meaning? How one can to trace the identity of concepts over time, in order to judge that a (same) concept was changed? What remains the same when occur a change in a concept?


MW: These would be excellent questions to ask anyone who suggests that concepts can change.


Or it is the case that each meaning is related to a single concept? In this perspective, seems that when we say that a concept was changed, in truth, we have two concepts: the previous concept and a new concept (with a new meaning). 


MW: This would be the usual usage.


Does it make sense to say that a concept can cease to exists?


MW: That depends on how you are using the word “concept”. If you are using it as a synonym for class then it probably does not make sense. But one of the usages of concept has it as the representation of some thing in some particular human brain, in which case presumably they cease to exist when the person dies or forgets them.


How these questions are related to the practice of ontology engineering?


MW: They questions you need to get out of the way.





Matthew West                            

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