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Re: [ontolog-forum] On dyads and triads

To: ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
From: John F Sowa <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sat, 30 Mar 2013 11:12:32 -0400
Message-id: <515700E0.8050709@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Simon,    (01)

I have no quarrel with the examples of NL usage that you cite.    (02)

> The presence of this weak but common core suggests that these are
> different senses/micro-senses of the same give; this presents
> some challenges to the mandatory requirements.    (03)

I certainly agree.    (04)

NL words have an open ended range of microsenses, and different senses
may have different constraints on what is essential or optional.    (05)

In any case, my definition of 'essential' is based on my preference
for Dunn's semantics for modality:    (06)

  - Something x is essential to something y as characterized by some
    concept z iff the definition of z implies the existence of x.    (07)

  - x is optional for y as characterized by z iff the existence of x
    is consistent with the definition of z.    (08)

Note that I define what I mean by 'essential' in terms of a *concept*,
which I would define formally as 'monadic predicate'.  But I also
admit very informally specified concepts -- there's a continuum
of degrees of precision.  And the appropriate precision depends on
context and purpose.    (09)

> Also, note that when trying to formulate identity criteria for Events,
> Quine suggested, and Davidson partially accepted, the necessity of the
> two identical events occupying the same regions of space and time/space-time.
> If this is true, a case must be made for these identity criteria being
> second-class properties of an event.    (010)

I don't believe that there is any unique or ideal or universal way of
describing what is happening in any region of space-time.  What anyone
calls an event depends on context, purpose, and point of view.    (011)

The word 'event' has a huge number of microsenses, each of which could
be defined in many different ways.  I believe it's hopeless to attempt
to specify strict identity criteria for events.  For that matter, I
don't believe in strict identity criteria for objects -- I agree with
Whitehead (and Lenat) that objects are just slowly changing events.    (012)

This doesn't mean that ontology is impossible -- just that there is not
and never can be a strictly formal universal ontology of everything.    (013)

As the engineers say, all models are wrong, but some are useful.    (014)

Since a model is a realization of an ontology, the same principle
holds for ontologies -- they're all wrong, but some are useful.    (015)

But note that this is *not* relativistic.  I strongly believe that
there are criteria for saying that one is better than another.
That's science -- always in search of truth, but never infallible.    (016)

For a discussion of Dunn's semantics for modality and its relationship
to Kripke semantics, see    (017)

    http://www.jfsowa.com/pubs/worlds.pdf    (018)

John    (019)

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