On Apr 22, 2007, at 01:58 , John F. Sowa wrote:
Bill and Leo,
The matter at hand is not a philosophical question about
the word 'concept', but a practical problem about designing
We may all have varying opinions on the subject, but one thing
is very clear: words like 'concept' and 'conceptualization'
are creating more confusion than clarification. Attempting to
define such words will involve endless debate, and we're not
going to resolve the issues before the meeting at NIST.
My recommendation is to avoid using the word 'concept' and its
cognates. If anybody feels the need for it, please send me
the sentence in which it occurs, and I promise to send a much
clearer restatement that avoids the word.
For example, note the following definition of 'an ontology',
which I extracted from the Merriam-Webster Third Unabridged
a theory concerning the kinds of entities and specifically
the kinds of abstract entities to be admitted to a language
This definition uses much simpler and clearer words than the
word that is being defined. The word 'concept' is definitely
not clear, and there is no need for any such word to be used
in any formal definition.