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Re: [ontolog-forum] Fractal cultures...

To: ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
From: John F Sowa <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sun, 19 Aug 2012 10:31:22 -0400
Message-id: <5030F8BA.9020702@xxxxxxxxxxx>
On 8/19/2012 8:08 AM, Sandro Rama Fiorini wrote:
> http://xkcd.com/1095/    (01)

That's a great cartoon.  Thanks for the  pointer.    (02)

> Could the same be said about knowledge domains?
> Is there a limit in how specific a domain ontology can be?    (03)

That cartoon can certainly be applied to ontology (or any
other knowledge domain).    (04)

> There are two main camps:  The professionals designing
> for established brands and the hobbyists.    (05)

That's certainly true of Ontolog Forum -- and every other
profession on the planet.    (06)

> Human subcultures are nested fractally.  There is no bottom.    (07)

That is true of every field of knowledge.    (08)

In fact, the metaphor 'bottom' is ambiguous in several ways,
and all of them are appropriate to knowledge domains:    (09)

  1. 'bottom' as level of detail in the subject matter:
     any aspect of any domain can be analyzed in subdomains
     with greater detail at finer and finer levels of granularity.    (010)

  2. 'bottom' as level of knowledge about any domain:
     In every profession from farming to rocket science,
     there are experts who know a great deal, amateurs who
     are good at some aspects, and casual observers who know
     just enough to be dangerous.    (011)

  3. 'bottom' as unethical charlatans:  In any profession,
     there are professionals and amateurs with high standards
     and ethical principles, but there are also many people
     -- with varying degrees of knowledge -- who exploit whatever
     skills they have for personal gain without any regard for
     the consequences.    (012)

For each of these interpretations, the converse is also true --
there is no top or upper limit, but going up is harder than
going down.    (013)

As this example illustrates, metaphors are also fractal.  With
a little thought and ingenuity, it's possible to find many more
interpretations of any metaphor -- including this one.    (014)

John    (015)

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