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Re: [ontolog-forum] Is Philosophy Useful in Software Engineering Ontolog

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Thomas Johnston <tmj44p@xxxxxxx>
Date: Sat, 4 Jul 2015 23:10:30 +0000 (UTC)
Message-id: <860086240.2576754.1436051430687.JavaMail.yahoo@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>

I never studied Peirce in grad school, and have not read anything of his since then. But I did become quite familiar with Whitehead's metaphysics, and wrote my M.A. thesis on it.

Your integration of perspectives from both Peirce and Whitehead make it clear to me that I need to understand Peirce's thought to some level of depth. Your Knowledge Representation, and that essay of yours on your website to which you provided a link a week or so ago, have made this clear to me. I understand what you wrote, from Whitehead's perspective, quite well. Now I need to understand Peirce other than through Whiteheadean lenses.

But I've never found Wittgenstein, earlier or later, of direct relevance to my thought. I can't help but see the Vienna Circle and the Tractatus as naive, although I understand that at the time, those ideas were not obviously naive at all. And I can't help but find the Phil Investigations of relevance to my thinking in only one aspect, that Wittgenstein revived interest in a non-Aristotelian approach to definition (prototypes) that was, however, presaged in some neo-Platonic comments on God and his Ideas in medieval Philosophy.


On Saturday, July 4, 2015 5:51 PM, John F Sowa <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

Tom, Rich, Matthew, and Bruce,

The point I was trying to make is that good philosophy can be
useful in providing guidelines and in eliminating the huge amount
of crap that gives philosophy a bad name.

> I'd appreciate some clarification of X1's comment, which John quotes.

X1's comment is crap.  No clarification is possible or useful.
I should have deleted his quotation because it just muddies the waters.

What I was trying to say is that Peirce's pragmatism and fallibilism
provide criteria for detecting and throwing away the crap.

> I have no proof we inhabit different worlds, and I don't necessarily
> believe we do. But I also have no evidence that we inhabit the same world.

Red flags!!!  Crap detector on high alert!

Everybody on planet earth inhabits the same planet.  To say that we
don't is either (a) a metaphor or (b) blatantly false.

As Peirce said, if you want to understand a concept, look at the
effects.  How is it related to what people see and do?

> Here is a video on the Multiverse - multiple simultaneous universes:
> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aUW7patpm9s

> Multiverses is just a Possible Worlds set up from a physics
> perspective. It does not suggest that we are in different universes,
> just that all possible universes are a physical reality somewhere

Yes.  When a metaphor is creating more confusion than enlightenment,
it's time to drop the metaphor.

That video showed fish swimming in a restricted environment.
Then it used the words 'world' and 'universe' to describe what
they see.  That jump from fish under water to astronomers who use
telescopes and abstract theories is hopelessly misleading.

> Many republicans seem to view freedom and property rights very highly,
> and consider that the way that the poor can grow with all of us is
> best expressed in the free market...

> Is a political issue (e.g. same-sex marriage) “part of the world”?

This is another example where words are being used in very different
ways.  To clarify the issues, get rid of the metaphors and the
abstract terminology.  Look at what people actually do.

Whose freedom are we talking about?  The freedom for the CEO to pollute
the environment?  Or the freedom of the citizens to breathe clean air
and drink uncontaminated water?

Whose property are we talking about?  The cost of the factory?
Or the cost of the homes in the neighborhood with dioxins, mercury,
or hexavalent chromium in the land?  Or the cost of the health care
(or deaths) for the people who live there?

Are we talking about the freedom of the toy manufacturers and Walmart
to save 1 cent per toy by putting poisons in the plasticizer?  Or the
freedom of the parents to buy toys without poisons in them?

This is not a hypothetical example.  The Chinese manufacturers make
the toys on the same assembly line.  The only difference is that they
ship the poisoned versions to the USA and the clean versions to Europe.
Who should have the freedom to decide?  Walmart?  Or the parents?

And what do you mean by free market?  The Republicans wrote the laws
that require the DoD to get the lowest discounted price on every item.
But they forced Medicare to pay *list price* for every drug.  That
enables the pharmaceutical companies to set an inflated list price
and pay a huge *bribe* (AKA "loyalty discount") to the physicians
who prescribe the drugs.

I treasure my freedom.  And I want everybody -- including CEOs --
to have the same amount of freedom that I have -- and no more.

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