How much ontology can we get done without worrying about "thirdnesses",
"oscillations", "goals", "life", etc? I bet a whole lot.
Lately all of this discussion of these kinds of things is a USDA Prime
example of why this group (modulo that done by the members working on
concrete projects) makes little progress as a whole. It's not that these
topics are not interesting. I suppose they are, and especially so if one
likes Peirce's philosophy.
However, there is a lot in the world that goes on without the sanction of
human knowers and can be ontologized without reference to human conceptual
or belief systems.
Take this whole bit whole bit about the amoeba, for instance. Or, for that
matter, E coli. If I get sick and die from E coli infection, frankly I
don't care about the teleological characterization of the status of this
little bug as a living thing. What I care about are the toxins that it has
released into my bloodstream that are turning my organs to jelly. In brief,
I'm a lot more concerned about the biochemistry of this little beastie than
I am about it's status as a living being.
There are many such examples. We can walk a very long way without taking
unnecessary strolls into the minefields that line the path. Later on we can
go back and clear the minefields.
From an industrial point of view, this is where the money will be for
ontology. Use an ontology to cure one disease, predict one terrorist
incident, eliminate 1% of fraudulent claims for an insurance company and
we're golden. Then we won't have to worry about justifying discussions
about "thirdness" and life.