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Re: [ontolog-forum] Universal Basic Semantic Structures

To: ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
From: John F Sowa <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 26 Sep 2012 09:52:41 -0400
Message-id: <506308A9.8060404@xxxxxxxxxxx>
On 9/26/2012 8:53 AM, Andries van Renssen wrote:
> The reason why the expression 'I dig a hole in the school district'
> sounds odd is: because that expression is a short-cut for 'I dig
> a hole in the land that has a role as school district'.    (01)

I agree with that point.  The notion of role is essential for
distinguishing every subdivision on planet earth.  There is
always a reason or a purpose for the choice.  That is true for
everything from countries and continents to things like farms,
parking lots, and playgrounds.    (02)

> But the piece of land that is defined by that boundary is
> nevertheless a physical object, and it has a mass, although
> its value is unknown and not of interest.    (03)

Space is physical, but it doesn't have a mass.  An area is
a two-dimensional region.  The political subdivisions only
specify coordinates that determine the area at the surface,
and they are silent about depth or height.    (04)

By fiat, the governments of countries lay claim to the mineral
rights beneath their areas.  In principle, they could claim rights
down to the center of the earth.  But in practice, the technology
can only mine a few km. beneath the surface.    (05)

When air travel became possible, national governments laid claim
to the air space above them, but smaller governments did not.
But nobody laid claim to the regions above the atmosphere.
Those are more distinctions by fiat.    (06)

In summary, I recommend that any ontology for any subdivision
of the earth should specify the surface area S and the intended
role R for that area.    (07)

Then anything else that may be associated with the pair (S,R),
such as the land, air, water, people, buildings, governments,
should be specified as the X associated with the area S as
considered in the role R.    (08)

John    (09)

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