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Re: [ontolog-forum] The KR ontology -- response to some criticisms

To: [ontolog-forum] <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, "cg@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <cg@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: John F Sowa <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 11 Sep 2015 10:42:39 -0400
Message-id: <55F2E85F.5080104@xxxxxxxxxxx>
I received some offline comments on my note about the KR ontology.
Following is a slightly edited copy of my response.    (01)

John    (02)

-------- Forwarded Message --------    (03)

> a literary review reveals that the continuant-occurrent dichotomy
> is all messed up: everybody means something different with it.
> Have you defined it unambiguously? I haven't noticed.    (04)

I was being charitable.  Instead of saying that it's "messed up", I
said that it's context dependent.  In short, it means an open-ended
range of things.  That's true of most words in ordinary language.
But it's hardly a distinction that can be considered a stable
foundation for ontology.    (05)

> If you define abstract as mental...    (06)

I dropped the category Abstract.  The category Sign is more
fundamental.  Basic triad:  mark, token, type.  If you wish to use
the terms 'abstract' and 'particular', it's better to define them
in terms of Sign:    (07)

  1. Every abstraction corresponds to some type.    (08)

  2. Everything called a particular is a token of some type.    (09)

  3. Point #2 gets rid of the confusion about a vase and the clay
     of which it's made.  Any physical mark may be interpreted
     as a token of an open-ended number of types.  That is not a
     paradox or a difficulty that requires an explanation.    (010)

  4. There is, however, a problem for those people who require
     rigid identity conditions.  But that is an artificial problem
     that is caused by the desire to treat the physical world as
     a Tarski-style model for predicate calculus.  Wittgenstein
     attempted to do that in his first book, and he spent the
     second half of his career explaining why that was a bad idea.    (011)

  5. Note that it is impossible to observe identity.  Similarity is
     observable, and identity is always an inference based on assumptions
     about what constellations of similar conditions may be unique.    (012)

  6. Similarity is the basis for classifying signs.  Identity is
     a special case that depends on complex and often fallible
     semiotic processes.    (013)

  7. Signs may be used to interpret other signs.  Every sentence that
     uses the term 'abstract particular' can be more clearly and
     precisely rephrased as a statement about signs of signs.    (014)

A sign type can describe changing processes without itself changing.    (015)

> The only way of reaching unambiguity is to start with unambiguous
> time mapping, and the only way to do this is to start with a predicate
> that denotes what exists exactly at one time in one location.    (016)

I would consider Process to be the fundamental physical category.
Time is derived from a relationship among processes -- i.e., you
assume some process as more worthy than others, and call it a
"clock".  Then you relate observable "clicks" of that clock to
other processes.    (017)

These comments are based on developing the ideas in the following
articles in more detail:    (018)

    http://www.jfsowa.com/ontology/causal.htm    (019)

John    (020)

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