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Re: [ontolog-forum] What is the role of an upper level ontology?

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "doug foxvog" <doug@xxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sat, 18 May 2013 16:57:36 -0400
Message-id: <9b1c01f817f52e375d43c0ce0f29847a.squirrel@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
On Sat, May 18, 2013 09:59, John F Sowa wrote:
> Gary, Doug, and Rob,    (01)

> Fundamental issues:  the role of an upper level ontology (ULO),
> what should be included in it, how it should be represented,
> and how much detail should be included in (a) the upper level
> (b) the middle and lower levels, and (c) any particular use.    (02)

Agreed    (03)

>>>> Examples are Semantic Theories of:
>>>>   parts & wholes,
>>>>   essence & identity,
>>>>   composition and constituency.
> ...
> DF
>> Identity is the crux of all of the above.  And the problem is that
>> identity for some spatio-temporal entity
>> is human defined and human created.    (04)

> I agree that the problems of defining and recognizing identity are
> central to all issues.    (05)

> ...
> The point I was making is that similarity is what we perceive.  All our
> statements about identity are inferences, which could be mistaken.
> Infants, for example, recognize similarities from birth.  But they don't
> recognize the continued existence of their mommies until they reach the
> "Peek a Boo" stage.    (06)

> RR
>> Reality affords minds to distinguish, and so some reality outside
>> of minds grounds these unities.    (07)

> We can all agree on that.  As adults, we have more experience in
> recognizing the continued existence of many more things and kinds
> of things than infants.  But all our inferences are fallible,
> even the most precise and sophisticated scientific theories.    (08)

Agreed.    (09)

> DF
>> What is out "there" are a bunch of quarks, leptons, and photons that
>> interact in various ways.  Patterns of groups of them have "interesting"
>> properties and various of the properties last for those patterns (which
>> are continually gaining and losing members) for macroscopic periods of
>> time.    (010)

> Those inferences are based on the most precise observations and the
> most detailed and general theories known to modern science.    (011)

> RR
>> This reflects one reductive view of the world. Whether it's true is
>> another question. What's important is that "interesting" does not
>> mean "arbitrary"...    (012)

> That word 'reductive' can hide a variety of sins.  One sin is to say
> that the world is "nothing but" that soup of particles.    (013)

Which i did not do.    (014)

>  The opposite
> sin is to dismiss or ignore that soup of particles as meaningless for
> our daily lives.  There are many levels of construction above the soup,
> which are characterized by chemistry, biology, physiology, the many
> versions of engineering, and the Geisteswissenschaften of philosophy,
> psychology, linguistics, anthropology, sociology...    (015)

Exactly.    (016)

> ...
> As we build up the many levels of science and engineering, we may
> notice that they all use the = sign of mathematics.  But nearly
> every theory relates that symbol to very different methods of
> observation for many different purposes.  To lump every way of
> using the = sign under the blanket term 'identity' won't give us
> a dependable foundation for ontology.    (017)

>>> Fundamental principle:  All the options are important and can be useful
>>> for various applications.  But they belong in an open-ended family of
>>> *microtheories*.  None of them belong in an upper level ontology.    (018)

> RR   [Actually "df"]
>> Here i beg to disagree.  Since the options are important and can be
>> useful, it *is* useful to define them in an upper level ontology.    (019)

> I'll agree that the word (or symbol) for identity belongs in whatever
> logic or mathematics is used to represent ontology.  And it's OK
> to use the highly polysemous word 'identity' for all those uses.    (020)

> But the details of how that symbol is related to the world will be
> different for nearly every application in every branch of science,
> engineering, business, etc.    (021)

Alternatively, several types of identity, parthood, etc. could be
well defined and well documented in the upper ontology and
different ones could be selected as appropriate in lower ontologies
and KBs.  These different types could be further specified in the
appropriate microtheories.    (022)

> John    (023)

doug f    (024)

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