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[ontac-forum] RE: ontology, language, logic, and what we intend to do he

To: <editor@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Cc: ONTAC-WG General Discussion <ontac-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Obrst, Leo J." <lobrst@xxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sun, 28 May 2006 16:41:17 -0400
Message-id: <9F771CF826DE9A42B548A08D90EDEA8001022197@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
PDM,    (01)

Although I share your concerns and invite your participation, I've seen
too many failed efforts. I think efforts need to fail on their own,
because we've pushed them and they came up short. I don't believe in
half-hearted measures that spend all their time in dithering. I am not
a black and white person, but a person who wants results, progress or
refutation. That's why, for example, I never became a philosopher by
career, though I was sorely tempted, but instead became a scientist and
largely a computational/computer scientist at that. I believe
philosophers serve a very worthy purpose, and am one on the side, if
you will, in philosophy of science, language, mathematics. In ontology
engineering, we indeed need to use their best thinking, and formal
ontology in our area is their best thinking. But to me, science and its
methods pushes forward with testable (and predictive) results. It
explores the boundaries, finds some, pushes those beyond what they
were. It doesn't stay trapped in argumentation.    (02)

Leo    (03)

ps. That's not to say there is not place for discussion and
argumentation. There is a very large place for that. But if you think
you have gotten yourself to a particular place, a theory, a state of
knowledge, then you need to test that place until it comes up short (or
not). If you don't, you won't progress, but instead spin your wheels
forever. Why? Because there are always incidental objections, minutiae
of the moment.     (04)

Dr. Leo Obrst       The MITRE Corporation, Information Semantics 
lobrst@xxxxxxxxx    Center for Innovative Computing & Informatics 
Voice: 703-983-6770 7515 Colshire Drive, M/S H305 
Fax: 703-983-1379   McLean, VA 22102-7508, USA     (05)

-----Original Message-----
From: Pdm [mailto:editor@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] 
Sent: Sunday, May 28, 2006 3:48 PM
To: Obrst, Leo J.
Cc: ONTAC-WG General Discussion
Subject: Re: ontology, language, logic, and what we intend to do here
in ONTAC: what DO we want to do in ONTAC?    (06)

Dear Leo    (07)

Thanks for your in depth comment.    (08)

Let me just reiterate that I am not a subscriber to this list
Yes I agree cross posting may not be a good n general but if a 
discussion belongs to both lists then cross posting is the appropriate 
thing to do, as I believe it was the case on this occasion    (09)

 Also,  because I am not a subscriber, my posts here are moderated that    (010)

means that if something is not compliant to posting rules it will not
approved, full stop. (please approve this one though!)    (011)

A diuscussion list can have  operational goals, and goals may benefit 
from relevant and adequate discussions. 
The two are not mutually exclusive, by any means.  You are not a 
bastars, but your world seems very black and white - surely for a
reason    (012)

Considering adding a new semiotic layer to ontological constructs may, 
or may not,  be critical to knowledge domains, including to the work
the goals of this list.
That is what my question was about.  Simply ignoring a question is 
generally enough for a thread to fade.    (013)

Should  however this (totally speculative) hypothesis be true,  then a 
lot of the work being done on this list and on many other lists,  would    (014)

be partially
obsolete, and not only GOALS need revising, but perhaps also some 
axioms.  I can see how change can be considered a threat to a non agile    (015)

organisation.    (016)

What you perceive as 'risk of failure' can be just evolution, things do    (017)

not necessarily fail, they just cease to fulfil a purpose and transform    (018)

into something else
Not necessarily a bad thing, especially if that original purpose no 
longer reason to be pursued.    (019)

As a project manager I share your sense of responsibility to get things    (020)

done within a given boundary, so apols if this semiotic question has 
diverted your attention
where it is not likely to be productinve for the moment,  I ll make
I ll conform to the charter, and next time I post to thiis group  it 
will be  an articulate piece of thinking rather than just an 'intution;    (021)

Keep me posted if something new in your conceptual framework in the 
future, I  think there might be some work to be done there    (022)

Cheers    (023)

PDM    (024)

>Your comment:
>"Broader perspectives, a higher understanding of the top level issues,    (025)

>increased commnication flow and general improved sense of orientation
>are likely to help any list ACHIEVE  any GOAL better and faster."
>Unfortunately I no longer believe so. I think there are discussion
>lists and there are working lists, which also have discussions. The
>difference is that the latter focus their discussions on goals to be
>achieved. There are also open and closed lists, depending on the
>rationale for the list.
>In fact, I think open-ended philosophizing doomed the IEEE SUO list
>led to a failure to achieve its goals. The list eventually was seen as
>being only a forum for endless disputation by armchair philosphers,
>those with much time on their hands. The real work was done offline by
>smaller groups. 
>I think there is definitely a need for discussion groups, but I think
>there is also a need for working groups. Education, consensus
>broader perspectives are important, but not necessarily if you want to
>achieve specific goals. A given group has to define what it is and
>its goals are (if any), and its members either have to discipline
>themselves to try to achieve those goals or a top-down structured
>methodology must be employed (as for example, ISO, W3C, OMG, etc.,
>standards groups have done). 
>Confusing the type of group you are is bad. Look at some of the
>arguments made recently about the impossibility of a common standard
>upper ontology: they cite the failure of the IEEE SUO distribution
>to come to agreement. This is a fallacious, self-fulfilling argument,
>to me, because endless argumentation dooms real achievement, i.e., we
>didn't achieve what we wanted to because we argued incessantly and
>therefore what we wanted to achieve is not achievable. It will doom
>ONTAC too unless ONTAC is supposed to be just a discussion list. In
>which case we can argue endlessly and newer members will raise the
>old issues again and again, without real resolution. Because there are
>always newer, mis-, dis-, or un-informed members who will often have
>strong opinions inversely proportional to their knowledge. 
>I know I will seem to be an arrogant, elitist bastard who is trying to
>squelch creativity, but I have seen too many lists fail. People who
>contribute the most drop off because of the high noise, and the list
>flounders, reducing to argumentation among the latest members with too
>much time and too little knowledge.
>If ONTAC is just a discussion list and has no additional goals, then I
>will gladly drop out. As will others. I don't think that is the case,
>hence invited Pat's response.
>By the way, profligate cross-posting to other distribution lists is
>also typically not very productive. 
>Dr. Leo Obrst       The MITRE Corporation, Information Semantics 
>lobrst@xxxxxxxxx    Center for Innovative Computing & Informatics 
>Voice: 703-983-6770 7515 Colshire Drive, M/S H305 
>Fax: 703-983-1379   McLean, VA 22102-7508, USA 
>    (026)

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