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Re: [ontolog-forum] Universal Basic Semantic Structures

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: John F Sowa <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 28 Sep 2012 01:51:21 -0400
Message-id: <50653AD9.1020300@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Avril, Doug, William, and Pat,    (01)

Before criticizing mereology, I want to say that I consider it
a useful alternative to set theory for many aspects of ontology.    (02)

But there are fundamental limitations of mereology when you
attempt to apply it to anything related to intentionality:    (03)

  1. As Peirce observed, intentionality requires irreducible triadic
     relations.  But I won't go into a tutorial on CSP in this note.
     For a summary, see http://www.jfsowa.com/pubs/rolelog.pdf    (04)

  2. But the part-whole relation is dyadic.  It is impossible to
     represent anything related to intentionality with only dyadic
     relations.  John Searle hadn't read much (any?) of Peirce's
     writings, but he independently rediscovered the need for triadic
     relations in his books on _Intentionality_ (1983) and
     _The Construction of Social Reality_ (1995).    (05)

  3. Barry Smith attempted to represent social relations with
     just the dyadic part-whole relations of mereology.  Following
     is a debate between Smith and Searle on that issue:
     http://ontology.buffalo.edu/smith/articles/dksearle.htm    (06)

  4. In my opinion, Searle won that debate.  I summarized the issues
     in pages 7 and 8 of http://www.jfsowa.com/pubs/worlds.pdf    (07)

> in this paper
> http://ontology.buffalo.edu/smith/articles/BittnerSmithDonnelly.pdf
> they made a quite complex formalization of granularity with at least
> four part-whole connectives and types and labels.    (08)

That is an interesting extension of mereology, and it might be useful
for some purposes.  But Barry Smith is still hoping that adding more
hairy formalism to a dyadic relation will magically give him the
ability to represent intentionality.  For example,    (09)

Bittner, Smith, & Donnely, page 1.
> The second is a theory of reference or intentionality (Theory B).    (010)

Reference is dyadic.  But intentionality is triadic.  By using the
word 'or', they're hoping that the reader will think 'intentionality'
is a synonym for 'reference'.    (011)

BSD, page 2.
> Projection is thus close to what philosophers call ‘intentionality’ [Ser83].    (012)

No.  It's just another dyadic relation, and it's not close to triadic.
Searle would *never* accept the BSD formalism as a representation of
intentionality or social reality.  Citing him in support of the idea is
disingenuous.    (013)

> I object to the idea that things in the world have classifiers.  It
> is sentient beings that generate the classifiers and attach them to
> things whether they are in the world, or not.    (014)

I agree.    (015)

> But [Rom H] is claiming "a person’s body is not a part of that person
> in the relevant sense."
> This depends upon what he means by "the relevant sense".    (016)

The key phrase is "the relevant sense".  Consider the sentences,    (017)

    1. Bob thinks that the sky is blue.    (018)

    2. Bob's body thinks that the sky is blue.    (019)

    3. Bob's brain thinks that the sky is blue.    (020)

The first sentence is normal, but the other two are "weird".
Nobody, except somebody "in the grip of a theory", would
ever say anything like that.    (021)

The point Rom was trying to make is that the word 'body' is not
synonymous with 'person'.  Those words are never used in ways
that are interchangeable.    (022)

> my question was Rhetorical.  I imagined that people would relate
> it to your Rom Harre quote, and realize: no, a body is not
> a ***part*** of an animal.  From one single perspective, it IS
> the WHOLE animal But this is only one dimension, one facet,
> one viewpoint, perspective, take your pick.    (023)

I agree with your literal explanation of what you meant.    (024)

Cautionary note:  Since tone of voice is not transmitted via email,
it's best to avoid irony and rhetorical questions (or mark them
with a smiley face or other emoticon).    (025)

> The world is not just made of lumps of stuff occupying space: it is
> also comprised of energy fields, momentums, pressures, movements
> and all the other dynamic processes which animate the stuff in the
> space. Whether we call them "parts" or not, they certainly exist,
> and certainly play a necessary role in how we conceptualize reality.    (026)

I agree, and I believe that is similar to the point Rom H. was
trying to make.    (027)

> OK, now someone mention Whitehead.    (028)

I'll take the bait.  In his magnum opus, _Process and Reality_,
ANW considered processes to be more fundamental than objects.
He treated objects as slowly changing processes that could be
recognized at repeated occurrences.    (029)

John    (030)

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