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Re: [ontolog-forum] Endurantism and Perdurantism - Re: Some Comments on

To: ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
From: John F Sowa <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 23 Mar 2015 16:21:47 -0400
Message-id: <551075DB.4040709@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Dear Matthew and Robert,    (01)

I mostly agree, but I'd like to add some comments.    (02)

> I think it is more useful to think of being a process or a physical
> object are different views on things, rather than being entirely
> different things    (03)

> Agreed... the continuant-occurent (or snap-span) distinction are
> two perspectives on the world.    (04)

> The key is whether it is one object with two perspectives, or one
> object per perspective with the perspectives being mutually exclusive
> (as BFO requires). Changing between these two might seem simple, but
> it is a change to a core commitment of the ontology. Id rather not be
> around when you suggested it to Barry Smith.    (05)

This is an issue on which I've fought with Barry.  He seems to be
dedicated to the Cartesian fallacy that a single perfect ontology
is desirable, possible, and useful.    (06)

Scientists agree that every scientific theory is fallible, and
perfection is only possible -- if at all -- after every scientific
question has been answered.  Since every scientific discovery
raises new questions, striving for perfection is a losing game.    (07)

> it might be wise to consult physicists.    (08)

I suggest engineers.  They're even more practical than scientists.
They realize that all our measurements are approximate.  Therefore,
it's pointless to insist on precision that goes beyond what can be
measured or built.    (09)

> This does not mean change top-levels haphazardly. In fact I would
> hope that any top-level has checks and balances in place to ensure
> those risks are not realized and that it is open to change in the
> light of discovery and error-finding.    (010)

Yes, but as the engineers have shown in every complex system,
you can use different theories for different components of
the same system.    (011)

For any large business enterprise, different divisions --
engineering, manufacturing, sales, accounting, shipping, etc.
-- think, talk, reason about, and act upon the same products
in very different ways.  The primary need for agreement is
about the part numbers, serial numbers, and the times when
the products move from one branch of the enterprise to another.    (012)

People in different divisions don't understand each other's
ways of thinking and talking.  The fine points of the ontologies
(implicit or explicit) are irrelevant.    (013)

That's why Schema.org is successful:  it ignores all the issues
that we spend time debating.    (014)

John    (015)

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