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

To: <doug@xxxxxxxxxx>, "'[ontolog-forum] '" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Matthew West" <dr.matthew.west@xxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 28 May 2013 15:48:28 +0100
Message-id: <51a4c3b8.8855b40a.1ea4.55db@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Dear Doug,
> On Thu, May 23, 2013 09:25, Matthew West wrote:
> > doug foxvog wrote:
> > > Matthew West wrote:
> >> > MW: I go for strong 4D
> >> > which has the 4D extent as the identity of any individual (not a
> >> > set or relationship). So I do not even know what it means to exist
> >> > if you have a temporal but not a spatial extent.
> >> At work i have a sick leave account and a vacation leave account.
> >> Such accounts (as well as bank accounts, credit card accounts) are
> >> useful to model in an ontology.
> >> They certainly have temporal existence.  But it seems to me quite a
> >> stretch to claim that they have a spatial extent.
> > MW: The question is what is the root of a day's leave? It is you for
> > the day in a vacation state.
> The root is permission.  The existence of leave in the account is not
> to any particular day or location (other than near-Earth).    (01)

MW: I think you are making the same mistake as Hans, in thinking that what
something is, is what creates it. So I repeat, your vacation is you whilst
you are on vacation. That is (part of) the fulfilment of some agreement that
there is some amount of vacation you may take during some period of time.
> > That is a spatio-temporal extent, and any account of it is some
> > representation of that, or an aggregate of similar objects.
> So an account is a representation.  I suppose you would claim that the
> representation has to be physical.    (02)

MW: There isn't any other kind.
> >> Permission to do something has a temporal extent.  Claiming that its
> >> spatial extent it the area in which the thing may be done seems
> >> specious to me.
> > MW: Not at all. You only need to bring possible worlds into the
> > equation
> So to avoid abstract objects in the ontology, one needs to include an
> number of possible worlds in the ontology.    (03)

MW: I have possible worlds to deal with modality. You need some way to deal
with modality in any practical ontology.
> If you allow for more than one "possible worlds", isn't your model 5D?
> You have continually been stating that your ontology is 4D.    (04)

MW: If you listen carefully you will hear that I say that my ontology is 4D,
plus a simple set theory, plus possible worlds.
> 1) Everything in a 4D ontology has three spatial dimensions and one
>     temporal dimension.
> 2) A 4D worm can be defined for everything in a 4D ontology.
MW: Not for sets.
> 3) 4D ontologies model possible worlds.
MW: Each possible world is a 4D extent.
> 4) #2 + #3: A 4D worm can be defined for every possible world.
> How do the 4D worms of two different possible worlds that start at the
same 4D
> point differ?    (05)

MW: By as much as they do. I allow worlds to branch, so if I have a plan for
how things will go between today and tomorrow, that is a possible world that
starts from here. However, things do not turn out like that. That is another
possible world. Each shares everything up to the start of the plan, but then
they branch.
> > to cover the future activity (a spatio-temporal extent) that is the
> > execution of that permission.
> >> A patent is temporal, and is different from the sheet of paper (or
> >> group of all sheets of paper that document the
> >> patent).   Claiming that it has a spatial extent of the territory of
> >> the issuing country also seems a stretch.
> > MW: A patent is about (generally) a design - that is universal,
> So the design is a physical object that exists in the whole universe?
> Does it also have a mass?  Or is it the patent whose scope is the whole
> universe?    (06)

MW: I said it was a universal, i.e. a set. It would be the set of physical
objects that are made to the design. There will be a physical representation
of the design.
> > and placing restrictions on its use.
> > Again we need possible worlds and activities, but not objects with
> > temporal but no spatial boundaries.
> And the spatial boundaries of the possible worlds are what?    (07)

MW: Each possible world has its own spatial boundaries that are what they
> >> What would the physical extent of an ontology be?
> > MW: An ontology, is an aggregate of signs of classes, individuals,
> > relationships, and rules. The signs are spatio-temporal extents of
> > some sort, even if they are bits in computers.
> >> What is the physical extent of an hour, a day, a year, a century be?
> > MW: The whole universe. That is actually obvious if you really think
> > in 4D.
> The temporal extent of the day 24 May 2013 is different in California,
> England, and China.  Relativistic physics recognizes that simultaneity in
> distant objects is context dependent.  Is your 4D system non-
relativistic?    (08)

MW: You need to take a frame of reference, that is all.
> >> A time zone, the Earth, the observable universe, an
> >> expanding/contracting sphere around the time zone/Earth with its
> >> radius being in light-units of time, the instantaneous greatest
> >> distance in time from the specific time to the time of the sphere?
> >
> > MW: It actually makes a lot more sense when you add the spatial
> > dimensions in. I suggest you try drawing a space-time diagram for this
> > problem.
> Note that the relative motion of objects affects the observed temporal
> differences.
MW: Again, this is about taking a frame of reference.
> >> I accept 4D models of physical objects, situations, and events, but
> >> also accept the existence of temporal non-physical objects.
> > MW: I consider that unnecessary, and therefore to be avoided.
> But you don't consider possible worlds as something to be avoided, thus
> consider them necessary.  Possible worlds are certainly temporal.  Thus
> consider them to be temporal objects which are not non-physical.  So, your
> position is that possible worlds are temporal physical objects?    (09)

MW: No. They are spatio-temporal objects, just like the universe we inhabit.
> >> > In the strong 4D that I use, an organization consists of the
> >> > temporal parts of the people involved in it, whilst they are in an
> >> > organizational role.
> And an organization of organizations -- such as the UN?  Does it consist
> physical parts of its member organizations?    (010)

MW: Essentially it consists of the activity done in its name and those doing
it. Some of that is some parts of its member organizations, but it also has
employees in its own right. Largely the member organizations are responsible
for the charter and objectives of the UN as an organization, (i.e. the
intentional construction bits again) rather than the execution of those
> >> Then in any KB using that model, Apple, Inc., didn't have a presence
> >> in the countries in which it rented post office box numbers, but had
> >> no employees?
> >
> > MW: It is actually an interesting question what exactly is the
> > constitution of an organization. Is it just the people?
> > Or does it include what the organization owns/rents as well?
> > The answer is a matter of law, which may vary from place to place.
> I don't think the law concerns itself with the physical constitution of
> organizations.  It concerns itself with officers of organizations,
> and non-tangible assets of organizations.  (Oops!  Is there a problem
> modelling what the International Accounting Standards Board standard 38
> 38)[1] defines as: "an identifiable non-monetary asset without physical
> substance."?) [1] http://www.iasplus.com/en/standards/standard37    (011)

MW: This is just a difference of interpretation. Examples they give are:
Examples of possible intangible assets include:
computer software
motion picture films
customer lists
mortgage servicing rights
import quotas
customer and supplier relationships
marketing rights    (012)

We've already covered most of these in principle at least. They seem to be
either information, or transferrable agreements.
> > MW: If there was a company set up, and it had a PO box, then there are
> > officers of the company, and even if they are not resident in the
> > country, then the company exists (there is not a restraint on
> > companies to operate only within their country). Whether just a PO box
> counts as a "presence"
> > is interesting. I would look for legal precedence.
> So you would equate the legal term "presence" with the physical extent
> of a company?   Does the law consider the "presence" of a company
> to follow the business travels of its officers and employees?    (013)

MW: It is whatever the legal precedence says it is. We are talking of things
that are socially constructed, so it can go either way depending on what the
social constructions dictate. It can even be different in different
> > However, the consequence determines what spatio-temporal extents count
> > as part of a company, not whether or not a company is a
> > spatio-temporal extent.
> Sure.  Both are just matters of definition.    (014)

MW: Exactly.
> >> Such a model may be consistent and useful for your purposes.
> >> But there seems
> >> to me to be no reason to impose it on everyone who wishes to use any
> >> ontology.
> >
> > MW: I carefully declare that this is a 4D view of the world.
> As mentioned above, it seems to be a 5D view of an infinity of worlds.
> > I quite agree that this does not require everyone else to take the
> > same view. I only argue that it is a valid, compact and rigorous view.
> I am not disputing that it can not be consistent with reality if terms
such as
> physical and spatial extent aren't redefined.  I haven't seen yet how you
> collapse the infinitude of possible worlds into the one that happens to
> continue, or how you differentiate them.    (015)

MW: I don't need to. They are spatio-temporal extents in their own right,
and you can either go with Lewis and claim that they are as real as this
one, or claim that they are imaginary. I don't much care, because the effect
is the same. However, I do note that the idea of the level III multiverse in
physics as an explanation of quantum physics is seeing something of a
> >> I'd accept it as an upper-level microtheory, but not as part of an
> >> upper level ontology designed for general use.
> > MW: It is perfectly suitable for general use.
> In that most users would have a different mindset, it would not be
> for them.  An ontology need not proselytize.    (016)

MW: An ontology is supposed to be about what is, not about a mindset.
> > I have not yet found something
> > (together with the other elements I mentioned, a basic set theory,
> > mathematical objects, and possible worlds) that it cannot cover.
> Does  your ontology require geometrical objects (triangles, Platonic
> solids) to have temporal extent as well as spatial extent?  Or do you
> them as 3D objects?    (017)

MW: I'm inclined to accept mathematical objects along with sets as
> >> > Note that I have no problem constructing one kind of object out of
> >> > the temporal parts of another kind (or kinds) of object.
> >> > In any case, given the nature of space-time, I don't know what it
> >> > means to exist with a temporal extent, but no spatial extent.
> >> > I therefore reject abstract individuals as an unnecessary commitment.
> >> Some people would reject a 4D model as an unnecessary commitment.
> > MW: If you do not commit to 4D you  have to commit to something else.
> For some purposes, yes.  For many, no.    (018)

MW: OK. Well I guess there are some purposes where you can do without either
4D objects or 3D objects plus time, but I would not refer to that as only
"some" purposes. There are very few purposes when you can do without
individuals (things that exist in space-time) at all. Therefore you have to
make some commitment as to what sort of objects they are. The most popular
choices are 3D + time (wholly present at each point in time, and passing
through time) or 4D (extended in both time and space). I consider that to be
a choice, since they are inconsistent with each other. I would be very
interested in how you think you can avoid the choice.
> > It is a choice you have to make, not an unnecessary one.
> A personnel system can assign dates to events.  These assignments can be
> interpreted one way in 4D, another in 3D+1, both of which would be
> with "the real world".    (019)

MW: Events are almost always interpreted as 4D, so that is not great trick.
Otherwise, the point is that you have to interpret the dates as relating to
3D or 4D objects before you do any reasoning, and it is that interpretation
that ontologises them.    (020)

> > MW: That is because what you have stated includes several short cuts.
> > If you expand it fully, you could say, the person (for the whole of
> > their life) that is currently a Red Sox Player (a state of the person
> > whilst they are a Red Sox Player) is currently father (a temporal part
> > of the person) to Sue.
> Yes, these are short cuts for the 4Der.  But such translations could be
> performed when translating from human to 4D.  You need not force everyone
> speak 4D.    (021)

MW: Of course. And you have to do something similar for 3D too. It is just a
different translation into a different ontological system.    (022)

Regards    (023)

Matthew West                            
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