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Re: [ontolog-forum] Ontology is affected by Personality

To: ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
From: John F Sowa <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sun, 26 Jan 2014 09:13:24 -0500
Message-id: <52E51804.7030105@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Rich, Leo, and William,    (01)

You're emphasizing different aspects of how humans and other animals
interpret their experiences and react to them.  As Wittgenstein said,
philosophy is a systematic set of reminders of the obvious.  Following
are five reminders that I would emphasize:    (02)

  1. There is a real world out there that is independent of what
     any of us think about it.    (03)

  2. The beliefs and habits of all living creatures that successfully
     carve out a niche where they and their family can thrive are
     adapted to and shaped by the aspects of reality they experience.    (04)

  3. But different experiences, environments, perspectives, abilities,
     tools, and goals result in differences in their belief systems
     and ways of behaving -- even for two siblings.    (05)

  4. Even the same individual at different stages of life will have
     belief systems that differ in significant ways.    (06)

  5. And even the same individual at the same stage of life will,
     for different purposes, interpret and respond to very similar
     experiences in significantly different ways.    (07)

RC
> To say that there is ONE objective reality to be experienced by all
> observers is to go beyond the actual evidence.    (08)

I suggest that the word 'reality' be reserved for point #1 above.
Instead, I recommend the following version:    (09)

Revised version of RC's point:
> To say that there is ONE objective way of expressing the aspects of reality
> experienced  by all observers is to go beyond the actual evidence.    (010)

Leo
> I would say that there is an underlying ontology that we all share (though
> we may not know it) + additional ontologies which are cultural, mini-cultural,
> and personal in nature.    (011)

'Ontology' is not a synonym for 'reality'.  The fundamental theories
of physics are the most accurate ontologies that have ever been
formulated.  But those theories are constantly changing.  Even
physicists who agree on a particular theory often disagree on how
to interpret it and apply it.    (012)

For a good summary of how physics and astronomy have changed from year
to year during the past century -- and how different scientists react
to and interpret those changes, I recommend:    (013)

    Dean, Cornelia, ed. (2012) The New York Times Book of Physics
    and Astronomy, New York: Sterling.    (014)

This is a collection of articles published in the NY Times from 1896 to
the present.  They don't go into the technical details, but they show
the development of the ideas, theories, debates, and applications.    (015)

(Available for $12.47 from Barnes and Noble or Amazon.  I suggest bn.com
in order to preserve the survival of at least one competitor to Amazon.)    (016)

WF
> 'people in a speech community share meanings' empirically. This is
> true  as a logical necessity, not as something that could be tested...
> sharing of meanings is not all or nothing, it is a matter of degree,
> as communities fade into each other.    (017)

The meaning of 'meaning' is extremely vague and complex.  What people
share are not precisely defined ontologies or even precise word senses.
The meaning of a word is more like a cloud that shifts its shape and
position to adapt to changing conditions.    (018)

Despite the enormous changes, physicists still use the same cloud of
meanings as Newton over 300 years ago:  force, mass, momentum, energy,
acceleration, etc.  All the theories are precise, their predictions
agree on certain tests, but they differ on others.    (019)

For further discussion by a computational linguist and lexicographer,    (020)

    Kilgarriff, Adam (1997) I donít believe in word senses,
    http://www.kilgarriff.co.uk/Publications/1997-K-CHum-believe.pdf    (021)

John    (022)

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