Wooops, sorry folks, I intended to send it only to John, but now that
you all got it, comments are welcome.
It is still a draft, so your comments might actually affect the outcome. (01)
Quoting Avril Styrman <Avril.Styrman@xxxxxxxxxxx>: (03)
> Hi John,
> if you happen to have time, you could check out the phd. Now less
> than 100 pages! I would really appreciate your comments.
> Quoting John F Sowa <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>:
>> In various notes to Ontolog Forum, I emphasized the importance of laws
>> (both physical and social) as a foundation for ontology. I won't go
>> into all the details, but I'd like to make a few comments:
>> 1. Laws of physics provide a more fundamental explanation of many
>> properties than the notions of "disposition" or "tendency".
>> Physicists, for example, would explain why glass is fragile
>> along the following lines:
>> "Look at the structure of the material and how the atoms and
>> molecules are linked to one another. Given that structure
>> and the laws of quantum mechanics, you can predict that under
>> certain conditions, something made of steel will bend, and
>> something of the same shape but made of glass will break."
>> 2. Many people have found the term 'disposition' to be useful in
>> defining terms in an ontology. I have no objection to using
>> those terms to simplify an explanation. But I would *not*
>> treat dispositions as fundamental. The word 'disposition' is
>> just a shorthand way of saying that there exists a law that
>> makes a certain kind of prediction.
>> 3. For the social sciences, the interactions are far more complex
>> than in physics. But there are regularities that can be used to
>> make predictions that have a high probability of being correct.
>> For example:
>> a) If you go to a store and pay the asking price for an item,
>> the sales clerk will take the money and give you the item.
>> b) If you drive on a highway and stay on the designated side
>> of the road, other drivers will stay on their side and
>> avoid hitting you or your car.
>> c) If you work for a company and repeatedly fail to do what
>> your manager asks you to do, you will be fired.
>> For reasoning about social interactions, the laws aren't as strict
>> as the laws of physics, but game theory has proved to be useful.
>> Following is a survey article from the _Scientific American_:
>> The economics of fair play
>> Following is an influential book on the subject:
>> Axelrod, Robert (1984) _The Evolution of Cooperation_,
>> New York: Basic Books. Revised edition, Perseus Books, 2006.
>> It's significant that Richard Dawkins, who wrote the book
>> _The Selfish Gene_, wrote a highly favorable forward to the
>> revised edition of Axelrod's book.
>> I'm happy to see that Dawkins endorses Axelrod's book, but
>> I remain skeptical about the memes that Dawkins proposes.
>> For more info about related issues, see Axelrod's home page:
>> I followed some of those links to a review of Daniel Dennet's
>> book, _Darwin's Dangerous Idea_ by H. Allen Orr:
>> From the concluding section of the review:
>>> Although he has produced a provocative and intermittently
>>> entertaining book, Dennett's chief claim is unconvincing.
>>> Darwinism may have little to tell us outside of biology.
>> I strongly agree with that last line. I also agree with
>> Orr's criticisms of Dennet's version of memes.
>> In summary, I believe that laws of nature and social behavior
>> are a better foundation for ontology than dispositions. I
>> would also recommend game theory as a useful methodology
>> for reasoning about social behavior.
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> Ystävällisin terveisin,
> Avril Styrman
> puh. +358 40 7000 589 (04)
Ystävällisin terveisin, (05)
puh. +358 40 7000 589 (06)
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