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## Re: [ontolog-forum] Taxonomies, cuts, and the decimal system

 To: "[ontolog-forum]" joseph simpson Sat, 10 Aug 2013 20:28:30 -0700
 Bruce...Interesting approach.. I am not sure I understand the details of your concepts...But .. it did remind me of a couple of sources of information that might be helpful.. The first source of information is "The Sciences of the Artificial" by Herbert A. Simon..    The idea of hierarchic systems and notations are addressed generally in this work... The second source of information is "A Science of Generic Design", by John N. Warfield   The Law of Gradation is outlined along with the ideas of gradation, structure, object language and metalanguage..... These two sources may provide a similar, yet different view on the content of your post...One key aspect is the idea of abstraction and context..    ...at one level of abstraction a  given system may look like a hierarchy..    ...at another level of abstraction a given system may look like a network...   ...and at yet another level of abstraction a given system may look like a point...An interesting approach to the analysis of these areas is outlined in the "Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy" by Bertrand Russell... The key may be the establishment of a viable object language and metalanguage set, combined clear relational attributes..Take care, be good to yourself and have fun, JoeOn Sat, Aug 10, 2013 at 6:04 PM, Bruce Schuman wrote: Pardon me for experimentation, if you can – but I’ve got something kinda by the tail here, and I thought I would float this idea past this group and see if anybody can point out something obviously wrong – or possibly suggest something constructive.  My instinct for semantics tends to be absolutely linear and decompositional.  I want to factor everything in ways that can be perfectly mapped to a matrix of rows and columns.  This is basic to the notion of “ad hoc top-down stipulation” as I understand it.  GENERAL CONCEPT OF LINEAR TAXONOMY  Generally, the “taxa” (plural of “taxon”) in a taxonomy (genus, species, family, whatever) can be understood as “rows” – like a row in a database table.  A taxon can be understood as a single row with a series of “cells” with boundaries between them, and the item being categorized is “inside the cell”.  Thus, if the taxon is “mammals”, the cells might contain things like “cows”, “humans”, “dogs”, “horses”, “seals”, “pigs”, “wolves”, “goats”, “zebras”, “giraffes”, etc.  Think of that row as a Y axis defined in a cellular format – as if drawn on graph paper with a length of as many items as are included (in this case, 10 cells), and a height of one cell (the height of one unit, where the unit is some bounded condition that defines “mammals”).  Essentially, the taxon is a “class”, and if we can order the class by some criteria in the definition of the objects it contains, it’s an “ordered class”.  Since these objects at a minimum are “words”, we do have a legitimate minimum sorting criteria: alphabetical order.  Other possible orderings might include median numeric values in various dimensions, such as average weight or height or cost or life expectancy, etc.  There are many other possibilities.  The “differentia” that divides the taxon (genus) into species can be some value that distinguishes the elements within the cells.  In a rows and columns model, the species becomes a column (an X axis), relative to the genus/row (Y axis).  All the horses in the system stack up inside that column, ordered in some way (size, price, age, attitude, sub-species, etc.), and amenable to all the same principles that govern the genus/row (“mammals”), of which they are a parsing or “cut” – and the “width” of the column is one unit, where the (multi-dimensional/abstract) unit is “horse”.  More can be said – and the issue of what happens at the boundaries of these cells is an interesting question  -- because these boundaries are related to “lower and upper boundary values” that might define a range of values within which the object must be defined, or it’s not that object (if a “cow” is 3 inches tall, is it a cow?).  Or – if an “unborn fetus” is 4 months old – is it a “human being”?  Sparks fly around these issues of boundary values.  In the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman case, what are the boundary values distinguishing first-degree murder from second degree or manslaughter?  Boundary values are critically important in the real world, and these things are stipulated all the time.  But for right now – I just want to ask one question.  TAXONONOMIC DECOMPOSITION AND DECIMAL PLACES This is an idea that fascinates me and feels powerful – because it seems “perfectly recursive” and amazingly parsimonious.  To me, this idea feels like Occam’s Razor personified – so tell me why I’m wrong…  Measurement of anything in the real world is defined to a finite number of decimal places in some unit (whether inches or feet or “mammals”).  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Measurement -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Observational_error  So here’s the idea: in a rational number, in a finite number of decimal places, it looks to me like every subsequent decimal place is a “species” of the previous decimal place.  So, in the number 6.7837 – the trailing digit “7” is a species – one of 9 possibilities – of the genus (previous decimal place) “6.783”.  Or put another way, 6.7837 is a “species” of 6.783.  In the same way, up one level of recursion, 6.783 is a species of 6.78.    And 6.78 is a species of 6.7.  And 6.7 is a species of 6.  In my simple-minded way, that looks to me like pure “recursive descent”.  Plus, it’s a perfect representation of a generalized model of taxonomy.  And who knows, maybe the entire concept of “number” itself can be usefully defined this way.   So – if this idea is right, and all this makes sense – it’s actually amazingly simple (maybe totally obvious?) – we are starting to look at a linear parsing principle that is  1)      Perfectly linear 2)      Perfectly recursive and “self-similar” at any level3)      Totally natural and intuitive, and the way we actually do things, and something anybody can understand 4)      Fits exactly into measurement theory as it actually works in the real world 5)      Takes exactly the same form as our basic ideas on taxonomy at any level of abstraction – which suggests that what we might have here (??) is a perfect form of linear recursion (or “recursive descent”) that extends from any high-level abstraction (“mammal”) to any particular instance (my pet cow Margie).  So the question is – isn’t it true that decimal places are a perfect example of the genus/species/differentia relationship?  And if it is true – aren’t we starting to look at a very sensible way to parse any top-down stipulative cascade, such as  “Mammals / cows / Guernsey cows / young Guernsey cows / young female Guernsey cows / my pet Guernsey cow Margie”  I call that model a “cut on a cut on a cut on a cut” – where each subsequent level is a “species” of the previous level.  And cuts like this are “stipulated” from the top-down by somebody in some context at some moment for some reason….  “CONCEPTS ARE DISCRETE, REALITY IS A CONTINUUM”  I am asking this – because I want to assemble this model in algebraic row/column diagrams building up from the definition of continuity as the real number line.  So what we are talking about is a kind of “digital-to-analog conversion” at the bottom of our analytic cascade – where rational numbers meet the real number line ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Real_number_line )  If we are measuring something to within 6.7837 units of something, the “next decimal place” is a mystery – that’s where total uncertainty (and the concept of continuity) enters the picture.  What we seem sure of is – the value is bounded somewhere between 6.7837 and 6.7838, or somewhere close to there – and that “boundary value range” (that “acceptable error tolerance”) just has to be good enough, and we’ll shake hands on it.  There almost certainly IS a “next decimal place” – but we just don’t know what it is for sure, so we settle for a bounded approximation.  Ok, thanks for your patience, apologies for the extreme tedium of this simple-minded thinking.  What I need to do is – within the context of stipulative definition, build up this cascade from the mysterious unknowable/inconceivable perfection of the real number line to boundary value specifications at any level of abstraction (“when is a mammal not a mammal?”).   Just as the last digit in a series creates a discontinuous boundary-value “width” in the real number line, every higher level cut or distinction in the chain also carries “width” in the axis it cuts. In the ad hoc context-specific environment of local immediacy, we should be able to build a perfect cascade of intended meaning from any abstraction to any specific level of measurement.  Maybe our entire legal system should be defined this way.  Bruce Schuman(805) 966-9515 Santa Barbara   _________________________________________________________________ Message Archives: http://ontolog.cim3.net/forum/ontolog-forum/ Config Subscr: http://ontolog.cim3.net/mailman/listinfo/ontolog-forum/ Unsubscribe: mailto:ontolog-forum-leave@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Shared Files: http://ontolog.cim3.net/file/ Community Wiki: http://ontolog.cim3.net/wiki/ To join: http://ontolog.cim3.net/cgi-bin/wiki.pl?WikiHomePage#nid1J  -- Joe SimpsonSent From My DROID!! ``` _________________________________________________________________ Message Archives: http://ontolog.cim3.net/forum/ontolog-forum/ Config Subscr: http://ontolog.cim3.net/mailman/listinfo/ontolog-forum/ Unsubscribe: mailto:ontolog-forum-leave@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Shared Files: http://ontolog.cim3.net/file/ Community Wiki: http://ontolog.cim3.net/wiki/ To join: http://ontolog.cim3.net/cgi-bin/wiki.pl?WikiHomePage#nid1J    (01) ```
 Current Thread Re: [ontolog-forum] Case realtions as Practical Semantic Primitives - was Context and Inter-annotator agreement, (continued) Re: [ontolog-forum] Case realtions as Practical Semantic Primitives - was Context and Inter-annotator agreement, Patrick Cassidy Message not available Re: [ontolog-forum] Practical Semantic Primitives, Bruce Schuman Re: [ontolog-forum] Practical Semantic Primitives, Obrst, Leo J. Re: [ontolog-forum] Practical Semantic Primitives, John F Sowa Re: [ontolog-forum] Practical Semantic Primitives, Patrick Cassidy Message not availableRe: [ontolog-forum] Practical Semantic Primitives, Bruce Schuman Message not availableMessage not available[ontolog-forum] Taxonomies, cuts, and the decimal system, Bruce Schuman Re: [ontolog-forum] Taxonomies, cuts, and the decimal system, John Bottoms Re: [ontolog-forum] Taxonomies, cuts, and the decimal system, joseph simpson <= Message not availableRe: [ontolog-forum] Taxonomies, cuts, and the decimal system, Bruce Schuman Re: [ontolog-forum] Taxonomies, cuts, and the decimal system, Simon Spero Re: [ontolog-forum] Taxonomies, cuts, and the decimal system, John F Sowa Re: [ontolog-forum] Taxonomies, cuts, and the decimal system, William Frank [ontolog-forum] Are Classifications nothing more than Indexes?, Frank Guerino Re: [ontolog-forum] Are Classifications nothing more than Indexes?, William Frank Re: [ontolog-forum] Are classifications nothing more than Indexes?, John F Sowa Message not availableRe: [ontolog-forum] Practical Semantic Primitives, Bruce Schuman Re: [ontolog-forum] Practical Semantic Primitives, Gary Berg-Cross Message not availableRe: [ontolog-forum] Practical Semantic Primitives, Bruce Schuman