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Re: [ontolog-forum] Computational Metaphysics *and* Laws

To: ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
From: John F Sowa <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 11 Jun 2013 09:48:30 -0400
Message-id: <51B72AAE.2040805@xxxxxxxxxxx>
I received an offline note that asked an important question:    (01)

> Where would all that talk about laws fit in a computational
> framework for ontology?    (02)

That is a good question, which brings all this abstract discussion
down to earth.  Since it's related to an earlier thread with the
subject line "Computational Metaphysics", I'll combine both threads
in this note.    (03)

I discussed some of these issues in the tutorial I presented in the
Semantic Technology Conference in 2012.  Following are the slides:    (04)

    http://www.jfsowa.com/talks/kdptut.pdf    (05)

In 1668, John Wilkins published a 600 page book that presented a very
large and interesting ontology.  His upper level includes Aristotle's
ten categories as a special case, and it makes room for many kinds
of abstractions that Aristotle did not include in the categories.    (06)

For the tree of Wilkins upper level, see slide 92 of kdptut.pdf.    (07)

Text from slide 92:
> In a 600-page book, Wilkins (1668) devoted 270 pages to tables
> that define 40 genera subdivided in 2,030 species.
> The categories labeled 1 through 6 are the first of his 40 genera.
> The other 34 genera are subtypes of Substance or Accident.
> Inheritance: Each species is defined by the conjunction of all
> the differentiae along the path from one of the 40 genera.    (08)

On the lower right of the tree, Wilkins has two nodes called
Substance and Accident.  Those nodes contain everything that
Aristotle included under his 10 categories.  (For a summary
of Aristotle's categories, see slides 14, 15, and 16.)    (09)

Text from slide 93 summarizes Wilkins' system:
> An impressive combination of upper-level ontology, metalevel
> ontology, mid-level ontology, thesaurus, and notation.
> The division of Transcendental vs. Special corresponds roughly
> to the distinction between signs and their referents.
> The division of Collectively vs. Distributively is an important
> distinction that many ontologies ignore.
> But 2,030 categories at the endpoints of the tree are inadequate
> for a general-purpose language.
> Other members of the Royal Society added about 15,000 English
> words as approximate synonyms of those 2,030 categories.
> Unfortunately, the system contained many ad hoc features that
> were ridiculed by Jonathan Swift and Jorge Luis Borges    (010)

In slides 94 to 100, I discuss some later developments during
the next 300 years.  Then slide 101 takes those points into
account to show a tree with the same branching structure as
Wilkins' version, but with more modern categories.    (011)

My major change to Wilkins' tree is to replace his label
Transcendental with a Peircean label Signs.    (012)

There is much more to say.  I say a bit more in those slides,
and I plan to say much more in the book I'm writing. Following
is the outline:  http://www.jfsowa.com/plo/plo.pdf    (013)

John    (014)

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