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Re: [ontolog-forum] Person, Boy, Man

To: "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Ronald Stamper <stamper.measur@xxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 12 Feb 2014 18:18:31 +0000
Message-id: <ECC00C53-7170-40B6-AB8E-9001D6A2689B@xxxxxxxxx>
Dear All, 

May I enquire of fellow Ontologgers what ontologies (metaphysical) they embrace?  Surely they lead to interestingly different ontologies (computational) and different theories of meaning.

 Watching the “person, boy, man” game from the touchline I wondered by what ontological (m not c) rules do the participant play? Surely those basic assumptions would illuminate their discussions.

 I favour a kind of actualism that recognises as existing only things that a responsible agent can perceive here and now as affordances, which are invariant repertoires of behaviour (following James Gibson’s Theory of Affordances).   This suits my temperament as an engineer.  An agent may be an individual or an institution.  An affordance usually depends for its existence upon the coexistence of some ontological antecedents (these carry role names linked to the relevant affordance).  A community may confer personhood on either and take it away. Social norms also determine the existence of childhood and adulthood and even womanhood (American history interesting on this point).  Variant universal affordances are shared as perceptual norms over various, particular communities, whose social norms also supply the authorities governing the starts and finishes of affordances, both universal and particular.

 Ontologies (m) that presume the existence of 3 or 4 dimensions lead to ontologies (c) quite different from actualist ontological dependency schemas.  Ordinary linear time, for example is a sophisticated construct from the labels of the starts and finishes of affordances; starts and finishes cannot be examined in the here-and-now because they are always in the past or the future, so we only know them as signs /records of them and their relationships.  Topology tells us about spaces that afford one different kinds of routes and access between places, including different dimensions.

 Other ontologies (m) have no place for responsibility as a basic notion, they may employ truth instead but, from this actualist point of view, an abstract notion of truth must be constructed socially until it becomes a believably useful abstraction.  Powerful abstractions that help to simplify our world models are not rejected: but they do need to be explained.







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