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

To: "'[ontolog-forum] '" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Matthew West" <dr.matthew.west@xxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sat, 4 Apr 2015 14:26:00 +0100
Message-id: <016001d06eda$e819df80$b84d9e80$@gmail.com>
Dear Leo,    (01)

You said:
One issue is that we can predicate (nearly) anything. Does that make it a
property or just a way of talking about/representing prospective properties?
Logic is good for talking about stuff, but is not necessarily sufficient for
telling us what that stuff is, whether it really exists in the world, etc.
[1]  Once you have notions about that stuff, then you can express it
relatively unambiguously in logic.  But reality (whatever it is) precedes
the formalism for describing/representing it, no?    (02)

This is a point of disagreement, I think, between logicians and ontologists
(qua metaphysicians). The former think that expressing/representing
something is equivalent to it being so, and that the "being so" doesn't
matter that much. The latter think not.
[MW>] It is worth bearing in mind the different uses of "exist":
- To the man on the Clapham Omnibus (old English colloquialism) exist means
things they can kick,
- For a logician, it means the things you can talk about.
There is quite a big gap between these, and it causes much confusion.
Tied to this is the metaphysist/ontologist mission to identify that minimum
set of categories and commitments that are adequate to describe the world,
such that everything can be satisfactorily explained as belonging to one of
them. This give rise to e.g. nominalism, which tries to manage without any
kind of abstract objects.    (03)

For ontological engineers, of course, it could be moot, since we have
application fish to fry. But to be better ontological engineers, I think it
is not moot. Especially if the best engineering ontologies approximate (or
intend to) the best scientific theories. 
[MW>] Right. Generally one would expect that an ontology that is a good
match to how the world is will work better than one that is not.    (04)

Regards    (05)

Matthew West
+44 750 338 5279    (06)

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