[Top] [All Lists]

Re: [ontolog-forum] Defining everything in terms of relations (was Charl

To: "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Cory Casanave <cory-c@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 25 Feb 2014 16:46:38 +0000
Message-id: <99de639f77444e348a2bb64fb5209fb7@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>

Sjir/ William,

Perhaps we need to separate how we formalize concepts and the conceptual frameworks that people use, correspond with their way of thinking and meet their needs in some context. Entities/attributes and relations work and have worked for some time, there is a enormous foundation of formalized knowledge using this paradigm. These concepts can be formalized as first-class nary relations but we don’t have to slap the users in the face with it. The Entity/attribute/relation paradigm is typically (but not always) representing a snapshot in time so to formalize them correctly any relations representing these assertions would need to be contextualized by some timeframe or situation (typically implicit in a data structure).

While we certainly want to encourage clear thinking and unambiguous _expression_, if we are unable to adapt to and consume well understood ways of thinking we will continue to struggle to be mainstream.


On the formalization front, the problem I have with HasAttr is visible in its representation – it is 2 thoughts. 1) That the relation exists between the entity and the attribute value and 2) that it exists now (has). Since many Onto languages don’t allow for 2nd order statements or context these get mangled together and often create multiple properties for the same underlying concept (e.g. hasAttr, should haveAttr, did haveAttr, will haveAttr, Reified Attr, etc.). Echoing the note from John, I would suggest that for relations to be a fundamental foundation they must be identifiable and able to play roles in other relations.




From: ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Sjir Nijssen
Sent: Tuesday, February 25, 2014 9:46 AM
To: [ontolog-forum]
Subject: Re: [ontolog-forum] Defining everything in terms of relations (was Charles Fillmore...)


Hi William,


It was a pleasure to read the email below. A little “annotation”:


Given this, why would one want to insist that the fundamental organization of thought or a universal simple way to express propositions is based on entities, their attributes, and their relationships? +1




Sjir Nijssen



Van: ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] Namens William Frank
Verzonden: dinsdag 25 februari 2014 15:38
Aan: [ontolog-forum]
Onderwerp: Re: [ontolog-forum] Defining everything in terms of relations (was Charles Fillmore...)



On Mon, Feb 24, 2014 at 11:10 PM, John F Sowa <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

Ed, Pat C, William,



> Nothing wrong with the word 'attribute', or the way CHEN and now
> everyone uses it.
> EXCEPT FOR Tthe BIG MISTAKE of thinking that a certain kind of  thingie
> (say blue) IS an attribute, just because it **can play that role.**

I agree.  I would use a dyadic relation named HasAttr to relate
an entity to something called an attribute of that entity.

An attribute of something is only an attribute when it is viewed
in the role of the second argument of a relation named 'HasAttr'.


Right, I have been saying the following on this forum for almost two years: 

being an attribute is, in human language, not a fixed feature of a word or a concept, except for some of the words in some minority of languages.  In others, 'beauty' and 'beautiful' and 'is beautiful' are expressed with exactly the same word, and the role in the sentence is market either by word position (in a positional language) or a particle that shows this (in a tagged language).  

In a very mongrel language like English, things are very complex, because multiple patterns are in play at the same time, on a word-by-word basis. For example, some words, like 'German', and the same as nouns and adjectives.  He is German, He is A German, while others that occupy the same semantic space, like English and Scottish, are not the same, but have to turn into English Person and Scot. 

 psycholinquists are examining how various language-related disabilities are manifested by speakers of different languages, and thus finding more about what is the same and different about the fundamental samenesses and differences between thinking and speaking in different languages.    They don't use entities, attributes, and relationships as their foundation, nor parts of speech like nouns and verbs.  They tend to use theta roles.


Given this, why would one want to insist that the fundamental organization of thought or a universal simple way to express propositions is based on entities, their attributes, and their relationships? +1



> In another attibutive relation, the same thingie, blue, can play
> the role of attributed to, such as in 'blue is a color.'

This raises the question about instances of blueness.  We'd like to say
the blue of your coat is darker than the blue of the sky.  So we need
to include instances of blueness in the ontology:  the HasAttr relation
relates a coat x to an instance of blueness y, which we can relate to
another instance of blueness z of the sky.


Yes, this is yet another role that 'blue' can plan.  It can be the name for a particular repeatable experience of blueness.

The blue of my coat is, if I understand correctly, what some metaphysicians are calling 'tropes' these days.

According to trope theory, the world consists (wholly or partly) of ontologically unstructured (simple) abstract particulars or, as they are normally called, tropes.  " Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

That is, it is a particular but repeatable experience of blue.   And, in fact, if I understand, in this thought, 'my coat' is there just to locate the blue experience using a shared identifier, becasue the experience of that blueness, along with many other cues, is in fact one of the things that underlies constructing the coat in question out of our fundamental experiences.   Personally, I like this direction for metaphysics, in that it brings it closer to psychophysics and social psychology.   


> Did you ever have clients who had trouble seeing that 'customer'
> was a role, and that so was 'vendor,' so that the vendor and customer
> might be the same company?

Good old Aristotle was quite clear about those issues.  He
distinguished the "substance" -- such as HumanBeing -- from the
"accidents" such as being blue or being a customer, vendor, etc.
For an Aristotelian description of George Washington, see slide 6
of http://www.jfsowa.com/talks/aristo.pdf


Yes, and this goes back to some previous discussions here about natural types, with which I also agree. 

But I have found it harder to sell that idea right off the bat than selling the understanding that some words used to describe things are actually describing roles of the things (customer, scoutmaster) , and others are not (person).

Thanks for this, John




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)

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>