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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: Thu, 02 Apr 2015 11:23:12 -0400
Message-id: <551D5EE0.8030702@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Dear Matthew and Avril,    (01)

Before commenting on the details, I'd like to make some general
observations, which I hope are not controversial:    (02)

  1. We have to distinguish    (03)

     a) The way the world (or universe) actually happens to be
        -- about which all of us have some shared opinions and
        scientists have more detailed analyses and theories.    (04)

     b) The way people talk in everyday language, as ingrained
        in the vocabulary, syntax, and implicit semantics of
        the languages of the world.    (05)

     c) An ontology about the world that happens to be useful
        for some particular task or group of related tasks.    (06)

  2. Since most of us are not solipsists, we can agree that 1a is
     the ultimate "reality".  But even the best scientific theories
     are fallible.  Therefore, every version of 1b or 1c is at best
     a useful approximation to 1a for some purpose.    (07)

  3. For everybody, even the most learned scientists and philosophers,
     the ways of talking (1b) are closest to their instinctive ways
     of thinking.  When physicists say "Anybody who says they truly
     understand quantum mechanics is lying", they mean "I can do the
     math, but I don't have an intuitive feeling I can accurately
     express in my usual way of talking."    (08)

> There is nothing artificial about dissectivity. It is just a
> property of types to be either dissective or non-dissective
> (and I guess possibly a-dissective).    (09)

When I used the word 'artificial', I meant that the phrase
"a property of types" is taken from some ontology (1c), not from
ordinary language (1b).  Nothing in the universe (1a) could be
truly dissective in an absolute sense.  (The only exception might
be a perfect vacuum, but it's not clear whether a perfect vacuum
is possible in 1a.)    (010)

That word 'type' is critical for your reply to Pat:    (011)

> I think what [Pat is] saying is that you can state facts in a neutral
> way that would allow them to be imported and reasoned over by either
> an ontology that was endurantist or perdurantist, and this gives you
> an easy way to federate a group of ontologies.    (012)

If you assume a strict typing system, the way you classify something
causes it to have certain "properties of types".  Pat was proposing
a typeless logic that allows you to refer to something without saying
which type it may belong to.    (013)

In a typeless logic (such as Common Logic) you can, if you wish,
state the same assumptions that are implicit in the type definitions.
But the typeless logic gives you the option of not making those
assumptions.    (014)

> I find it useful to learn about and use the specialist language
> of an area when I stray onto their territory.    (015)

I certainly agree.  But I doubt that the specialists you were
talking to used the terms 'dissectivity' and 'property of types'.    (016)

> the conception of a single time line where time t is before time t+1.
> There's the fundamental necessary ontology that everyone should
> acknowledge, for everyone relies on it implicitly in any case, even
> if one would not admit this.    (017)

I agree that the assumption in the first line belongs to 1b for
most people.  But ordinary language also allows any speaker to
explicitly reset the time point for any sentence or paragraph.    (018)

In plans for the future, people use a kind of "branching" time
with different options they might choose.    (019)

In their memories of the past, people can remember a large number
of episodes quite clearly.  But it's extremely rare for them to
have explicit times and dates.  The exceptions are emotionally
significant events for which the date is significant.    (020)

See, for example, Erik Sandewall's classification of 2,304 kinds
of process ontologies:  http://www.jfsowa.com/ontology/process.htm    (021)

John    (022)

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