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Re: [ontac-forum] Re: The world may fundamentally be inexplicable

To: ONTAC-WG General Discussion <ontac-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Smith, Barry" <phismith@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 05 Jan 2006 16:22:27 +0100
Message-id: <>
At 03:56 PM 1/5/2006, you wrote:
>JOHN wrote:
>''1. There will be categories called Time, Space, Object,
>    Process, etc.''
>and BARRY replied:
>''The upper ontology should contain at least the following top-level 
>Independent Continuant
>Dependent Continuant
>Process (aka Occurrent)''
>John and Barry,
>Why we try to invent the wheel again and again, to be original or to 
>impress the public?    (01)

I am not trying to invent the wheel; on the contrary, I am trying to 
find the common core between Aristotle, SUO, DOLCE, etc. And I am 
trying to do this patiently and without getting angry.    (02)

>There are long existing ontological fundamentals (classes) 
>formulated by classic ontology, recognized by modern science and 
>underpinning natural language; namely:
>1. Substance, of which all objects are made of;
>2. State, determining the properties, qualities and quantities of things;
>3.Change (process) in general;
>4. Relationship in general    (03)

So we agree on process.
Do you mean by 'object' an entity which endures in time, can gain and 
lose parts, is made of matter, and can exemplify different qualities 
at different times?
If so, then we agree: what you call 'object' I call 'independent continuant'.
The reason to use the technical expression is simplify to overcome 
the fact that people use 'object' to mean too many different things.    (04)

What do you mean by 'property'?    (05)

And how is 'object' related to 'thing'?    (06)

Substance, I presume, subsumes, for example, hydrogen, oxygen, water, 
blood, etc.
Do you then agree that it is not substance but rather portions of 
substance of which things (what I call independent continuants) are made?
Do you distinguish between types (aka universals) and instances, so 
that all four items on your list are names of types, and that there 
would be corresponding instances in all four types?
If so, can you give examples of instances of relationship in general?    (07)

>All other things are particular kinds and special meanings of these 
>ontological classes of entity:    (08)

Things are special meanings? Sounds wrong to me.    (09)

>1. objects or 'independent continuants' are made of substances and 
>expressed by count nouns;
>2. quantities and qualities are partitions of state in general;    (010)

can you define 'partition'?    (011)

>3. events and processes are specific kinds of change;    (012)

agreed    (013)

>4. relationships in time and space expressed by all sorts of prepositions.    (014)

are these the only types of relationships?
and is the relationship expressed by the preposition 'in' the same in, e.g.    (015)

the ball is in the water?
the hydrogen molecule is in the water?
the man is in the room?    (016)

>We say physical, chemical, biological, mental, social, economic, 
>cultural [substances, states, changes and relationships] at the first place.
>Nobody speaks like this economic continuant or chemical occurrents.    (017)

We should not be arguing about words, I think.    (018)

>No scientific theory can be viable without founding on these 
>categories, no human discourse is meaningful without using these 
>fundamental classes. Neither scientist nor laymen speak in such 
>funny dialect of ontological language (endurants, continuants, etc), 
>nor machines will like it.    (019)

See my remark on 'object' above; the same remark can be made re 'state'.    (020)

>To sum up:
>There is the world (or reality) as the totality of things (or entities);    (021)

So 'thing' and 'entity' are synonyms for you?
So quantities are things?    (022)

>There exist entities of four classes, substance, state, change and 
>relationship;    (023)

so there are, in addition to the instances of these four classes 
(what I prefer to call 'types' or 'universals') also these four 
classes themselves; are the latter entities? if so, to which class do 
they belong to?    (024)

>Particular substances (objects)    (025)

so substances ARE objects?
I thought substances were MADE OF objects (see above).
Does your reference to 'particular substances' here mean that there 
are also non-particular substances?    (026)

>have states (properties), subject to changes and stand in various 
>relations to each other, etc.
>[for axioms and more details please refer to USECS, the ontological 
>lattice of entities]    (027)

Please feel free to paste the relevant elucidations into your 
response to the above.
BS    (028)

>Azamat Abdoullaev
>----- Original Message ----- From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
>To: "ONTAC-WG General Discussion" <ontac-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>; 
>"'SUO WG'" <standard-upper-ontology@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>; "CG" <cg@xxxxxxxxxx>
>Sent: Thursday, January 05, 2006 6:36 AM
>Subject: [ontac-forum] Re: The world may fundamentally be inexplicable
>>I received the following offline comment, and I gave
>>the same response I've been giving for the past
>>several years.
>>John Sowa
>>-------- Original Message --------
>>Nobody knows exactly how many theories will be needed:
>>>But I don't have any good idea **how many** logically
>>>different theories will in fact be required.  I do have
>>>a strong suspicion that it will not be as many as one
>>>would suppose after a casual glance at the different
>>>upper ontologies that people have proposed.
>>But there are certain things that are pretty safe bets:
>>  1. There will be categories called Time, Space, Object,
>>     Process, etc.
>>  2. There will be some assumptions common to all the
>>     axiomatizations:  time will have a before and
>>     after, and space will have 3 dimensions.
>>  3. But beyond that, all bets are off.  It would be
>>     a mistake to adopt situation calculus instead of
>>     pi calculus for reasoning about time; it would be
>>     a mistake to insist on either 3D or 4D treatments
>>     of space-time; it would be a mistake to insist
>>     that objects are "ontologically prior" to processes;
>>     it would be a mistake to say that a vase and the
>>     lump of clay from which it is made must be or must
>>     not be considered different entities.
>>That's why the only thing you can insist on is a very
>>sparse, very limited set of common axioms.  At that
>>level, you can't do much problem-oriented reasoning.
>>For more detailed reasoning in specific applications,
>>you need the problem-oriented modules or microtheories.
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>    (029)

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