Concerning your response to Barry that the possible reason for his remarks is a ?lack of proper perusal and not a lack of insightinto the matter.? It is possible that this is somewhat true of you also. Or are your comments taking into account such things as Hans Burkhardt & Barry Smith (eds.) - Handbook of Metaphysics and Ontology - Philosophia Verlag, Munich, 1991 or Smith, Barry. 1982. Parts and Moments: Studies in Logic and Formal Ontology. Philosophia Verlag?
As an introduction to the field of Formal Phisolophical Ontology, i recommend to read the valuable works of M. Bunge, first of all, Ontology I: the Furniture of the World(1977), where you can find the most systematic analysis of classic ontologies, and the comprehensive system of top categories: Substance, Form, Thing, Possibility, Change, and Spacetime
On a more specific note, your long ontological listing on SUBSTANCE, substrate, stuff which Barry commented on to which you responded:
>Very funny, you missed the whole point, this is Aristotle's >ontological lexicon, included as part of the whole systems of >definitions. Don't push me to believe that you never read of >him.
This all was not designed for public
Listing these Aristotlean
ideas is OK, but as Barry and Christopher Welty discuss in Ontology: Towards a New Synthesis, the
growth of ontology in the information science field calls for a something new,
something more structured for use in information science.
looked at the article, which is not so valuable as you may thinking. Poor in
content, many common places, heavy style
(infelicities, sesquipedality, flatness, confused formulations), and
biased references, all added with a partial definition of
ontology. Better read more inspiring work of Barry, which seems not cited
fact, there is much better stuff of this sort:
1. What are
Ontologies, and Why Do We Need Them?
Systems Journal, 1999
2. Future Directions
of Conceptual Modeling
Modeling: Current Issues and Future Directions' (1998)
Most of us know that Aristotle viewed
individual substances as basically a twofold structure: they are composed of
matter and form. Form in its turn has a number of different meanings, the most
relevant of which is the interpretation of form as essence.
This framework was
implicit in your listing but not as clear as it could be and needs to be for a
synthesis. As an example of some structure, the table below (from Boguslaw Wolniewicz - A formal ontology of situations -
Studia Logica 41: 381-413
(1982). pp. 381-382.) lists some of A?s substance
primary substances (substantiae
prime matter (materia
self-subsistence of primary substances (esse per
BTW, Wolniewicz makes an
interesting parallelism between Wittgensteinian (previously discussed by John
Sowa) and Aristotelian ontologies( In ?on Wittgenstein and Aristotle?
Boston studies in the philosophy of science. Vol.
IV. Edited by Cohen Robert S. and Wartofsky Marx W. Dordrecht: Reidel Publishing Company 1969. pp.
208-210). This seems to be part of people?s intuitive differences on Ontology,
so I include Wolniewicz?s core comparison
Aristotle's ontology is an
ontology of substances, while Wittgenstein's ontology is an ontology of
facts. For Aristotle whatever exists in the basic sense of the word is a
primary substance (as mentioned in the table above). Thus an Aristotelian
substance is the denotation of an individual name, whereas for a
Wittgensteinian ?fact/ atomic fact? is the denotation of a true
proposition. From a Wittgensteinian point of view, Aristotle's
substances are NOT things, but hypostases of facts, and thus their names are
not logically proper names, but name-like equivalents of
This all looks as a
confusion of understanding, besides we both risking to be reproved by Patrick
as debating something out of the topics of the
My own speculation is
that, from an information processing view, relevant to our systems we need to
be concerned with propositions (for now, with current levels of processing
intelligence in our system), but that these are grounded in ontological
analysis ? epistemology.
The propositions and
statements must be included in the general ontological context (or frame)
based on three pillars: 1.the largest universe of discourse (the world); 2.
the system of ontological classes; 3. the set of all significant
propositions about the domain of interest. You can't cast away the reference
class without harming your intelligent systems. Besides, your
reference is warning: 'an ontology is ... not an
As Roberto Poli has said
in his 3 thesis about ontology (from R. Poli, "Ontology for knowledge
organization", in R. Green (ed.), Knowledge organization and change,
Indeks, Frankfurt, 1996, pp. 313-319) there
are some tricky relations here ? especially in thesis
THESIS 1. An ontology is
not a catalogue of the world, a taxonomy, a terminology or a list of objects,
things or whatever else. If anything, an ontology is the general framework (=
structure) within which catalogues, taxonomies, terminologies may be given
suitable organization. This means that somewhere a boundary must be drawn
between ontology and taxonomy.
THESIS 2. An ontology is
not reducible to pure cognitive analysis (in philosophical terms, it is not an
epistemology or a theory of knowledge). Ontology represents the ?objective?
side (= on the side of the object), and the theory of knowledge the subjective
side (= on the side of the knowing subject) of reality. The two sides are
obviously interdependent, but this is not to imply that they are the same
(exactly like the front and rear of a coin). In order to conduct ontological
analysis, it is necessary to ?neutralize?, so to speak, the cognitive
dimension, that is, to reduce it to the default state. I assume that the
default state is the descriptive one, where the dimensions of attention, of
interest, etc., are as neutral as possible (= ?natural? attitude). It is of
course possible to modify the default state and construct ontologies of the
other cognitive states as well, but this involves modifications of the central
THESIS 3. There is nothing
to prevent the existence of several ontologies, in the plural. In this case
too, ontological study is useful because, at the very least, it renders the
top categories explicit and therefore enables verification of whether there
are reasonable translation strategies and of which categorization can serve
best to achieve certain objectives. (John?s point in other words?)
that ''an ontology is the general framework'' and that there
are ''some structural uniformities among the top categories'' may also
imply thinking of a unified framework ontology, i.e., ''a single universal
ontology'. Just you need some
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