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Re: [ontolog-forum] Watchout Watson: Here comes Amazon Machine Learning

To: ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
From: John F Sowa <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 29 Apr 2015 08:13:23 -0400
Message-id: <5540CAE3.2080500@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Dear Matthew,    (01)

Possibility and necessity affect the logic, not the ontology:    (02)

> Another problematic category is possibilia (things that might be,
> or possibly are in some parallel universe).    (03)

They can be treated in the same way as plans for the future.
For example, if you're designing an airplane or a bridge, it's
a possibility until it's actually built.    (04)

> The criteria for including possibilia (or not) is utility vs
> the baggage that comes with the extra commitment.    (05)

The categories of parts, part numbers, etc., might be empty
in actuality, but they are specified in the ontology by the
same methods before and after the things are built.    (06)

There are, of course, issues about storing information about the
future in the database -- orders for future delivery of things
that don't yet exist, reservations for hotels, travel, etc.
The orders and reservations exist in the present (or past),
but they refer to things and events in the future.    (07)

Tom Johnston wrote a book about time and temporal issues in
databases.  Perhaps he might care to comment on this point.    (08)

Following is an article in which I discuss issues about
modality, possible worlds, and the laws that govern them:    (09)

    Worlds, models, and descriptions    (010)

And by the way, possibilities are another area where a strictly
nominalist position (e.g., Quine's or Goodman's) gets into trouble.    (011)

Clarence Irving Lewis, who defined the first modern versions
of modal logic, had been the chair of the philosophy department
at Harvard while Quine was a student and later a professor.    (012)

But Quine was very strongly opposed to any version of modal
logic and any talk of possibilia.  Hao Wang, who had earned
a PhD under Quine's supervision, was very critical of Quine's
attitude.  He called it *logical negativism*.  See    (013)

    Wang, Hao (1986) Beyond Analytic Philosophy: Doing Justice
    to What We Know, MIT Press, Cambridge, MA.    (014)

John    (015)

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