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[ontac-forum] Re: Problems of ontology

To: ontac-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
From: Ken Ewell <mitioke@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 16 May 2006 04:59:25 -0400
Message-id: <4469946D.1060202@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
On Repairing Reasoning Reversals via Representational Refinements    (01)

Alan Bundy, Fiona McNeill and Chris Walton    (02)

The Authors seem confused to me.    (03)

>However, it is the thesis of this paper that none of this goes
>far enough. In addition, we must consider the dynamic evolution
>of the underlying formalism in which the knowledge is represented.
That none of it goes far enough leaves me with the impression that the 
general direction (towards complex independent 
descriptive-representational conceptualizations(??)) is okay, when it 
should be what is called up for defense.  The second sentence, with the 
phrase "we must consider the dynamic evolution of the underlying 
formalism in which knowledge is represented" is troubling to me.      (04)

What is this "underlying formalism" and how do you know it evolves?  
People evolve/are evolving through successive generations. If our 
thought processes are so different from the ancient people, from whom we 
have evolved, why do our primordial instincts still orient us?  How 
exactly, have our thinking processes evolved, say, from Aristotle? Given 
2500 years, did we evolve?  The terms evolve or evolution conjure up 
concepts of evolutionary processes of adaptation.  Has the syllogism 
evolved then; to what extent has it adapted to our personal needs? If 
science has evolved, why does western science, and specifically logic or 
software engineers, still cling to the scientific methods of the Ancient 
Greeks. The concept of change belongs here but the concept of evolution, 
imho,  obfuscates the nature of the kinds of knowledge we can rely upon.    (05)

Personal knowledge is improved and perhaps even repaired and evolving 
(changing) --it is clear, but mathematical formalisms that are  a matter 
of public knowledge are usually timeless and explanatory.  Being 
timeless, how can they evolve?    (06)

Did Newton's formalism's evolve or change when Einstein introduced 
relativity? Did Einstein's formalism change Newton's formalism (even 
though they are, or conceded to be, incompatible theories)?  Did Steven 
Hawking change them when he deferred to both to formalize how black 
holes sort of boil away and evaporate?     (07)

What evolves here?  There are no evolutionary processes in these 
formalisms.  If you want to say that individual and social perceptions 
change and knowledge and some beliefs can change -say that, but 
attacking mathematical formalism or the motivation to achieve a 
mathematical formalism seems misguided.    (08)

Maybe Barry Smith can name some radiographic scanning machines or other 
medical instruments (any performing computations or memory operations) 
that could be or have been invented, without the aid of any stable, 
formal, mathematical, scientific model (or measure), but I cannot.    (09)

>To be concrete, in a logic-based representation the predicates
>and functions, their arities and their types, may all need to
>change during the course of reasoning.
No doubt.    (010)

>Once you start looking, human common-sense reasoning
>is full of examples of this requirement.   But such representational 
>refinement is not a rare event
>reserved to highly creative individuals; it's a commonplace
>occurrence for all of us. Everyday we form new models to
>describe current situations and solve new problems: from
>making travel plans to understanding relationships with and
>between newly met people. These models undergo constant
>renement as we learn more about the situations and get
>deeper into the problems.
>    (011)

I cannot say I disagree but I cannot help thinking the authors are 
confusing perception with representation, and therefore, perceptual 
models (personal, internal) with representational models (public, 
external).  One of them has been formalized by convention- the other 
remains unformalized.    (012)

>Consider, for instance, the commonplace experience of
>buying something from a coin-in-the-slot machine. Suppose
>the item to be bought costs 2. Initially, we may believe that
>having 2 in cash is a sufficient precondition for the buying
>action. However, we soon learn to refine that precondition
>to having 2 in coins --? the machine does not take notes.
>When we try to use the coins we have, we must refine further
>to exclude the new 50p coins --? the machine is old and has
>not yet been updated to the new coin. But even some of the,
>apparently legitimate, coins we have are rejected. Perhaps
>they are too worn to be recognised by the machine. Later a
>friend shows us that this machine will also accept some foreign
>coins, which, apparently, it confuses with British ones.
>Rening our preconditions to adapt them to the real world
>of this machine does not just involve a change of belief.
>We have to represent new concepts: ?coins excluding the new
>50p?, ?coins that are not too worn to be accepted by this
>particular machine?, ?foreign coins that will fool this machine?,
The claim for a change of belief is not warranted.  There is only 
confusion of concepts, relations and beliefs..    (013)

I believe that machines that supposedly recognize coins break down and 
can even be fooled by none-too-clever people.  Even though I could not 
articulate this belief then, I have held that belief since a very young 
age, when someone showed me how to attach a string to a dime in order to 
retrieve it and use it again  in a phone booth.  It was near the time I 
first had the personal requirement to use coin-operated machines. My 
perceptions have not changed after more than a half-century of experience.     (014)

I think anyone who approaches a coin machine of any kind with the 
(lightweight) assumption (in respect to hard belief) that all they need 
is any currency equal to the price-- must live on the evening, or is it 
the morning, star, and not on earth. Here on earth, even in England I 
assume,  we learn it is best to have clear instructions and the correct 
change in the correct denominations when using coin machines.     (015)

Because I think that, does not qualify it as a belief of any kind.    (016)

Before I was sixteen years old, I learned that the coke machines in my 
town would not accept Canadian coins of the same denomination.  Still, 
it did not alter my belief about coin-operated machines.  I did not have 
to learn new concepts.     (017)

I had more than the concepts of "Canadian money" and the  "coin-operated 
coke machine". I had personal experience with these real objects.  New 
relations, suppositions  and perhaps a new pattern resulted from the 
experiences I had with them. Otherwise, the experiences added facts to 
my memory that supports my belief that machines break down at some point 
and cannot be relied upon for perfect and trouble-free operation at all 
times.  Not to mention the ancillary belief of "correct change".    (018)

Perception or situational awareness can turn out wrong and it is useful 
to understand the nature of these failures and to have a mechanism to 
repair them.  I will add that I agree that we must clarify these things 
and we should thereby seek models that clarify and explain, rather than 
obfuscate, knowledge.     (019)

For the semantic web to work for people it must capture what is 
significant in the moment, that is, the semantic web must account for 
the patterns of (usually natural) entities and elements, (usually 
natural) processes, and the relationships between them, in a specific 
context served by the semantic web.    (020)

To accomplish that we have to refine our collective thoughts and ideas 
about the objects and entities of our thoughts and clarify the abstract 
categories, objects and functions we use to classify, process and reason 
about those objects and entities.     (021)

In my opinion the "objects of our thoughts" are not the "abstract 
objects" we use for thinking; just as a situational awareness, even an 
initial  impression, or a conjecture, are not justified true beliefs.  
This is a source of great confusion.  It is not to say personal 
impressions are not supported by some justified true beliefs.    (022)

This group might consider the work of the biologist Robert Rosen who 
formalized the work of the human metabolism by creating a mathematical 
model of metabolic reactions he called (M,R) systems or Metabolic-Repair 
systems.  Rosen maintained that modeling was the essence of scientific 
discovery.    (023)

According to Robert Rosen, John Sowa and other scientists, concept 
graphs are an essential part of the conceptual building blocks of 
meaning and knowledge.  Rosen's (M,R) systems owe many of their 
properties to graph theory and the 1950s-style blackbox analysis of 
electronic circuits, but (more significantly) to an interpretation that 
identified an enzyme with a mathematical mapping.     (024)

In his view, every metabolic reaction, such as the one catalyzed by the 
enzyme glucokinase: Glucose + ATP --> Glucose 6-phosphate + ADP can be 
formalized as a1 + a2--> b1 + b2, and can be viewed as the action of a 
mapping operator (-->) that transforms molecules a1 and a2 into 
metabolites b1 and b2.    (025)

On this same basis, every "thought reaction" can be seen as the action 
of a catalyst that transforms impinging energies and forces (a1) and 
psychophysiolgical impulses (a2) into abstracted objects of thought and 
the electro-chemical states of neurological activity (b1) and into the 
energy expended on articulation and representation (b2 | e.g., speech, 
language, music, cultural art, movies, etc.). In this formalism,  
Knowledge (K) appears to be  a result of thought reactions catalyzed by 
a living person (a thinker of thoughts): K = {a1+a2 --> b1+b2}.     (026)

The mapping operator --> catalyzes the thought reaction by transforming 
the energy input from an impinging environment and emotional or 
physiological impulses into the energy needed to articulate the 
sensations and sensibilities and formulate a representation.    (027)

The inputs a1 and a2, then, are seen to be the cognitive inputs in this 
view of the cognitive process in an individual. The inputs are mapped to 
perceptions and articulation on the outputs b1 and b2.  Such perceptions 
and articulations can be seen to construct and or repair reality (or 
assumptions, presumptions and beliefs about it) in the same fashion as 
the metabolic repair function is used to create enzymes that convert 
sugars into proteins to repair the body.     (028)

While the transformation can be conceived as a straight mapping of 
inputs onto outputs, we know it to be much more biased (via the 
operator) -- even to the extreme. In the case of personal knowledge, 
however, we are not repairing the organism and creating enzymes as the 
metabolism does. We seem to be  acquiring, creating and/or preserving 
meaning.    (029)

We may be constructing a personal reality, our impressions, and 
recognizing patterns, by reaching a semantic state of correspondence, 
satisfaction and preservation.  Accordingly a 'representational state' 
takes place or happens in a coordinated framework within the boundaries 
abstract objects of thought.    (030)

As Edmund Husserl observed, the boundaries of the objects of thought are 
not sides, but rather laws entailing the characteristic necessities and 
possibilities of kinds of things. The unity of any particular essence 
coheres within that determinate outermost boundary which free 
imaginative variations of possible cases must not exceed if they are to 
remain cases of this particular kind. Essential unity is a centripetal 
force.    (031)

Every thought pattern leading to knowing, along with every successive 
interpretation of a thought pattern, can be seen as a (regular, 
repeating) relationship (emerging, arising, obtaining) between a certain 
(perceived) context, the very system of objects and forces occurring 
repeatedly in that context, and a certain logico- conceptio-spatial 
configuration (within the boundaries of the abstract objects of thought) 
which allows the objects and forces at work to resolve themselves.    (032)

Change and dynamism are a part of the underlying formalism.    (033)

-Ken Ewell    (034)

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