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[ontac-forum] Subjectivity

To: ONTAC-WG General Discussion <ontac-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 16 Dec 2005 10:40:25 -0500
Message-id: <43A2DFE9.3000302@xxxxxxxxxxx>
When I talk about the importance of addressing goals
and intentions in ontology, some people confuse that
point with "subjectivity".  Following is an edited
combination of two notes on this topic, which I sent
to another forum.    (01)

John Sowa    (02)

-------- Original Message --------    (03)

Regarding subjectivity:  Please note that I did *not* use
that word, and it is totally irrelevant to this discussion.
I used the words "goal", "purpose", and "intention" --
all of which are implemented quite nicely in chess-playing
programs, which do not have any resemblance to human thinking.    (04)

> Human cognition in given too much value here. I was
> suggesting those kinds of a priori premises of ontology
> that hold disregarding subjective humans.    (05)

Without those concepts, we are discussing pure physics.
If you're interested in that, I would highly recommend
_The Road to Reality_ by Roger Penrose, which is an
excellent summary of the ideas underlying modern physics
without omitting the math, but with intuitive examples
that illustrate the concepts for people who have forgotten
all the math they had studied many years ago.  It's an 1100
page tome, but it's not necessary to read it all at once.    (06)

On the other hand, if you're interested in any kind of
ontology that can be applied to anything having to do with
society, government, engineering, business, medicine, law,
or any other human activity, *you cannot ignore humans.*    (07)

As an example of the kind of topic we must address, consider
the definition of the word _business_.  People have gone round
and round in circles trying to define a business as a set or
a mereological sum or other kinds of nonsense.  But they omit
the fundamental principle:    (08)

    The goal of a business is to make money.    (09)

There is, of course, the intermediate principle:    (010)

    In order to make money, a business must have the goal of
    producing a product or delivering a service that earns money.    (011)

And there are many other intermediate goals implied by these two.    (012)

As I said before, you can talk about the goals and strategies
used in a chess program and implement them in a purely formal way.
You can also talk about the goals, intentions, strategies, and
deterrents used in business, medicine, engineering, law, etc.,
in purely formal ways.  If an ontology is to have any use whatever
in any of those areas, it must address goals and intentions.    (013)

All those ideas fall under Peirce's category of Thirdness, but I
despair of getting people to read Peirce's writings.  If anyone
would like to do so, I recommend the _Essential Peirce_, which
is available in two paperback volumes.    (014)

John    (015)

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