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

To: "'[ontolog-forum] '" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Rich Cooper" <rich@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 28 Jan 2014 17:00:36 -0800
Message-id: <BEAB8C0005F440C0A7E183850A2EE267@Gateway>

Dear John,


My comments are below,




Rich Cooper


Rich AT EnglishLogicKernel DOT com

9 4 9 \ 5 2 5 - 5 7 1 2




The word 'reality', like nearly all words in nearly all languages,

is used with a wide range of meanings.



> I go further and state that reality, experienced differently

> by different people, is different for the two people.


There are people who use the word 'reality' in that way.


But there are some German words that make finer distinctions:


  1. The Umwelt is the species-specific perceptible environment of any

     species ranging from bacteria to humans.


  2. The Innenwelt (inner world) is the private, subjective way of

     interpreting or modeling the world by any individual of any



  3. The Lebenswelt (life world) is the specifically human way

     of using language and other symbols to organize, think about,

     and talk about our Umwelt, Innenwelt, and Mitwelt (social world).


Various German philosophers and psychologists have coined words

for related variations:  Merkwelt, Eigenwelt, Überwelt.


Jakob von Uexküll coined some of these terms, and his work is

a good starting point.  For the English version, see _A Foray

into the Worlds of Animals and Humans: with A Theory of Meaning_,

available for $20.75 from Amazon or bn.com.


You can browse the WWW for much more.  Wikipedia has some short

definitions and pointers to related material.




Thanks John, but you’re right, people use the word differently.  I use it in at least two ways.  The common sense physics way based on popular standard sizes of parts, d=r*t, and those many other facts and rules which apply to the physical world.  But I don’t expect a physics ontology to be used by the vast majority of web users.  And remember that the German philosophers also came up with words like Nazi, among others.  So ontologies are not always benign any more than ontologists are always benign. 


Then there is the ontology of all those social things, what’s on Amazon, when are the grandkids coming to stay overnight, which grocery store has the products I want today, how do I get WordNet to explain some linguistic phrase, and so forth.  These daily facts and rules are the ones that most people use.  They are the ones that can leverage our time most effectively in getting done a day’s worth of love and work (leben und arbeiten) which is the real business of life.  This is the area of true opportunity for growth of ontologies that address common everyday situations. 


Even in the physics ontology(?) where property edges are likely sharper, there are contested points of physics, experiments which are not often successfully duplicated (cold fusion) and many other spurs off the ontological physics trail.  But if it is physics you are doing, you have the easy version. 


When you consider the more widely used ontology – the social ontology – and by far the most financially significant ontology, we lead different lives and therefore have different needs at different times.  I find it absurd to think that a single ontology could be used by all people pursuing their individual happinesses.  I don’t even think we live by any one ontology for much more than an hour or two at a time before moving to a new frame of reference, and therefore a new governing ontology. 



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