SUO: RE: RE: Metaphysical choices - position. mereology and constitution
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Chris Partridge [mailto:mail@ChrisPartridge.net]
> Sent: Friday, June 14, 2002 12:27 PM
> To: Ian Niles; email@example.com
> Cc: Adam Pease
> Subject: RE: RE: Metaphysical choices - position. mereology and
> I am glad you think it is useful. I think one of the problems
> here is that
> the issues seem to me to be obvious through familiarity
> (perhaps), but they
> are not to you - so need more explanation. If we do
> (eventually) manage to
> understand one another, I would agree with you that this
> would be v. useful.
> My comments below marked CP3>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Ian Niles [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
> Sent: 14 June 2002 19:37
> To: 'Chris Partridge'; email@example.com
> Cc: Adam Pease
> Subject: RE: RE: Metaphysical choices - position. mereology
> and constitution
> Comments below. I think this is turning out to be a
> very useful
> discussion. I've done much editing of previous messages to
> keep the overall
> size down.
> > I'm not sure that this is true. Why couldn't (part QueenElizabeth
> > EnglishMonarch) be true in an atemporal sense? Even part
> > relations that are
> > blessed by Peter Simons are going to hold between two
> > physical objects,
> > right? If so, then, assuming that all physical objects have
> > a limited life
> > span, it would follow that all part relations are parallel
> to the one
> > involving Queen Elizabeth.
> > CP2> Sure you can have atemporal parts - like my hand being a
> > functional
> > part of my arm being a functional part of my body - and so
> > on. In fact, in
> > the traditional 3D view objects' parts are atemporal - and
> > for this reason,
> > in principle, objects do not have temporal parts. As the SUMO
> > documentation
> > says (copied from my earlier extract below) 'in other words,
> > an &%Object
> > cannot have 'parts' which are separated in time, such as
> the first and
> > second halves of a football game.' But what you have here
> > contradicts that:
> > Queen Elizabeth and King George are *definitely* separated in
> > time. QED they
> > cannot be 'parts'.
> I don't understand why you think the hand/arm case differs
> from the Queen
> Elizabeth case. It is true to say now that my hand is part
> of my arm, but,
> if I had an unfortunate accident at some point in the future
> and my hand had
> to be amputated, from that point on my hand would not be a
> part of my arm.
> Thus, it still seems to me that all part relations that hold between
> physical objects are inherently temporal.
> CP3> I cannot make sense of this. Some part relations, even
> of physical
> objects are not temporal. The centrifuge (facility) in a
> centrifuge pump is
> atemporally part of it. The various centrifuges that are
> installed in the
> pump to undertake the work of the facility are part of the
> pump for a period
> of time. There is clearly a difference between the two.
If the difference is so clear, you shouldn't have any problem explaining
exactly what it is. I imagine what you're driving at is the idea of
essential properties a la Aristotle, i.e. properties such that a thing would
not be what it is without them. However, I don't think you're going to find
too many proponents of essentialism on this list. There are a few, but most
philosophically minded thinkers tend to steer clear of de re modalities
these days, as far as I am aware.
> this passage you
> seem to be referring to a hand that can be cut off and
> amputated - and so is
> a part temporarily. There is also my hand, the functional
> atemporal part of
> my body - which I talked about in the original example.
> CP3> I am also a bit lost as to what you are arguing. I seem
> to recall the
> point you make last time was that parts are atemporal. Now
> you seem to be
> saying the opposite, that 'all part relations that hold
> between physical
> objects are inherently temporal'. Have you changed your mind
> - or is there
> some continuity that I am missing?
My general point was and is that all of these part relations stand or fall
together as far as temporality is concerned. I don't think that you've
successfully argued that some part relations are temporal while others are
not, or vice versa.
> > CP2> Similarly if X and Y swap hearts in a heart transplant,
> > then the heart
> > X was born with has a stage which is part of X until the
> > heart transplant
> > and then the heart Y was born with has a stage that is part
> > of X. It makes
> > no sense to me to say that these are atemporally part of X -
> > surely this is
> > a example where they are quintessentially temporarily part of X.
> > CP2> Also as the SUMO Object documentation says: 'An &%Object
> > is thought of
> > as continuing through time, but at any particular time is all
> > there is at
> > that time, in contrast to something that is thought of as
> > being divided into
> > stages (contrast &%Process).' I suspect a typo (or
> > misunderstanding) - it
> > should read 'is all there at the time'. So taking this and
> > your claim at
> > face value, at any particular time that the EnglishMonarch
> > exists its parts,
> > Queen Elizabeth and King George, do also. Which seems
> > counter-intuitive.
> I'm not sure I follow part of this comment. What difference
> in meaning is
> there between "is all there is that time" and "is all there
> is at the time"?
> CP3> The typo seems to have re-appeared. "is all there is
> that time" is true
> of processes. Whatever stage of the process that is happening
> at a time is
> 'all there is at that time'. However, the whole process is
> not 'all there at
> the time' - different (temporal) parts of it exist at different times.
I see now that the documentation strings for 'Object' and 'Process' need to
be rewritten. They're not sufficiently clear for anyone's purposes.
> As for the rest, I agree that the documentation of 'Object'
> and 'Process' is
> overly laden with metaphysical niceties that probably have no
> business in a
> general-purpose ontology.
> CP3> Of course, I take the opposite view.
> Perhaps the best course would be to retain the
> distinction between 'Object' and 'Process', but eliminate the
> language in
> the documentation strings which implies the 3D orientation.
> In other words,
> I think we can have our cake and eat it too. We can assume
> that there is,
> in the majority of cases anyway, a clear distinction between
> objects and
> processes, since people by and large agree on which is which,
> but we can
> also refuse to stake a strong philosophical claim about what
> this difference
> amounts too. How does this approach strike you?
> CP3> It seems to me a big backward step, if you want to try
> and pick up Bill
> Anderson's PAR 3) point. One of the prime benefits of
> ontologies that I have
> found in my data integration work is that they help to
> resolve ambiguity. If
> you are not doing any kind of integration - probably to the
> extent of not
> worrying about helping people to reach a common
> understanding, then, of
> course, it does not make sense to do the work of regimenting
> this kind of
> stuff. However, if you want to honour claims about ontologies
> helping out
> with data integration, then this is work that needs doing.
> And the benefits
> of doing it are great. In my (and others) experience of the
> integration of
> largish operation data systems - this work is useful and
> sometimes even
> > > And during that lifespan (part EnglishMonarch QueenElizabeth)
> > > also would
> > > also hold as improper parts are allowed.
> > I don't follow you here.
> > CP2>Maybe it is easier to understand if one spells out the
> > indirectly stated
> > holdsduring - holdsduring Queen Elizabeth's lifespan (part
> > EnglishMonarch
> > QueenElizabeth). Under most merelogies this would, of course imply
> > identity - but I cannot see how this pans out in SUMO -
> maybe you can.
> I agree that the assertion '(holdsDuring (WhenFn QueenElizabeth) (part
> QueenElizabeth EnglishMonarch))' should be true in the SUMO.
> I'm not sure
> why you think this should imply an identity between
> 'QueenElizabeth' and
> 'EnglishMonarch'. The assertion (holdsDuring (WhenFn MyHand)
> (part MyHand
> MyArm)) is, barring any bad accidents, true, but that doesn't
> imply that
> there is an identity between my hand and my arm.
> CP3> Earlier you stated (part QueenElizabeth EnglishMonarch), I added
> holdsduring Queen Elizabeth's lifespan (part EnglishMonarch
> In many mereologies if A is part of B and B is part of A then
> A = B. If you
> allow part to be temporalised, you need to modify this. I
> cannot see this
> being done anywhere in SUMO.
Oh, I see now. I had taken '(part EnglishMonarch QueenElizabeth)' for a
typo - I just assumed that you had intended the arguments to be reversed.
Given that it isn't a typo, it doesn't seem right to me, for the same reason
that '(holdsDuring (WhenFn MyHand) (part MyArm MyHand))' isn't true.
> > Well, I don't think you've established that we're adopting a
> > 4D tactic here,
> > for the reason given above.
> > CP2> Firstly, see reply above. Secondly the 4D thesis is, in
> > one of its
> > definitions, that ordinary physical objects have temporal
> > parts - see, for
> > example, "Parthood and Identity Across Time" by Judith Jarvis
> > Thomson. So as
> > you are proposing that objects are subject to a temporal part
> > relation -
> > this must be, *by definition*, a 4D thesis. Thirdly, the
> > name 4D tactic or
> > X tactic is not particularly relevant, the question still
> > holds. To repeat:
> > 'I would be interested in knowing in what cases of
> > co-location you would not
> > adopt this position. And how this is decision is formalised
> within the
> > SUMO.' Note - I cannot find anything on co-location using the
> > SUMO browser.
> > I presume this means that the SUMO has not explored the
> ways in which
> > co-location can be interpreted - leaving this open to the people who
> > implement domain ontologies to do in as heterogeneous way as
> > they wish.
> I think the last sentence expresses a fair assessment. We
> haven't taken a
> position on co-location, and we've made the assumption that
> interpretations of co-location will be rare, and conflicting
> that actually result in, for example, interoperability
> problems will be even
> CP3> This issue is commonplace. I suggest that you look at
> the way in which
> 'tag' and facility' have been analysed in the engineering industry. I
> believe Bill Anderson described a project where this or
> something similar
> was a problem. You can also look at the EPISTLE website. You
> may also wish
> to consider any kind of description of responsibility in
> contracts , and
> ...., and..... I would only agree that it is rare that people
> bother to
> analyse the problem in terms of metaphysical policies for co-location.
Could you give some background about the analysis of 'tag' and 'facility' in
the engineering industry. This sort of information would probably be of
general value to everyone on the list.
> > >
> > > (NB: you seem to have ignored completely my arguments that
> > > Queen Elizabeth
> > > is not any of the types of agent in the SUMO - though I agree
> > > with you that
> > > in the SUMO ontology it would be an object and not a
> > > process.)
> > I don't recall you giving an argument to this effect. I
> > think you made this
> > claim, but I don't remember seeing anything to substantiate
> > it. In any
> > case, Queen Elizabeth would be a 'CognitiveAgent' in the SUMO.
> > CP2> In ordinary language we talk about Queen Elizabeth
> > making a commitment,
> > but if you look at this in (legal) detail this is shorthand for the
> > EnglishMonarch (when Elizabeth is Queen). To see the same
> point from a
> > different viewpoint, take the X Y heart transplant example
> > above. Are the
> > stages of X and Y's hearts also hearts. I suppose one could
> > make a case for
> > this (and as usual a philosopher has) but it is unusual and
> > counter-intuitive. Or to argue another way, is Queen
> > Elizabeth during the
> > first decade of her reign a CognitiveAgent, or Elizabeth
> Windsor as a
> > child - and if so, what temporal parts, if any, do not qualify as
> > CognitiveAgents.
> Well, it may just be a fact about the way the concepts work
> that temporal
> parts of 'Agents' are themselves 'Agents', while temporal
> parts of other
> things, like 'Organs', are not themselves 'Organs' (or at
> least not the same
> kind of 'Organ').
> CP> And this has not yet been regimented in SUMO. However, it
> one wants to
> be able to describe the commitments that exist in commercial
> contracts it
> helps to know about these things. The risk management systems
> I have worked
> on have tried to capture some of the key aspects of this. It
> seems to me
> unlikely that temporal parts of Intentional Agents are also
> Agents (one may have a better argument for Agents) . If so, I
> could argue
> that it is 'me in 2001' that signed up for the credit card -
> and so has to
> pay the bill, not 'me in 2002'.
Well, I imagine that if parts of 'Agents' are themselves 'Agents', then the
superpart has responsibility for the subpart, so I don't think your argument
to the credit card company would carry a lot of weight (not that the credit
card company would have found it convincing otherwise!). I do agree with
your general point that the more regimentation of the ontology the better,
but we can't settle every issue at this moment. These are hard conceptual
problems, and, with respect to some of them, not all of the facts are in
> > >If the SUMO
> > > wants to do a proper job of regimenting the notion of a
> > > position as agent it
> > > needs to clarify what type the position-occupying stage is.
> > Well, I suggested making it a 'subrelation' of 'part' in my
> > last message to
> > you. I'm still unconvinced that this results in some sort of
> > incoherent
> > melding of 3D and 4D perspectives, which is what you seem to
> > be claiming.
> > CP2> This seems to be a misreading of the point. The question
> > asked what the
> > object the 'position-occupying *stage*' was - not the
> > position-occupying
> > *relation*.
> Both arguments in the 'occupiesPosition' relation are required to be
> instances of 'CognitiveAgent'.
> CP3> So SUMO claims that every occupation of a position
> creates a cognitive
> agent. ](documentation CognitiveAgent "A &%SentientAgent with
> responsibilities and the ability to reason, deliberate, make
> plans, etc.
> This is essentially the legal/ethical notion of a person. Note that,
> although &%Human is a subclass of &%CognitiveAgent, there may
> be instances
> of &%CognitiveAgent which are not also instances of &%Human.
> For example,
> chimpanzees, gorillas, dolphins, whales, and some
> extraterrestrials (if they
> exist) may be &%CognitiveAgents.")] - so my very brief
> occupation of the
> position of director creates a SentientAgent with
> responsibilities and the
> ability to reason, deliberate, make plans in addition to me and the
> position. This is a strong claim. I would be v. interested in
> an example
> that substantiated this. I suspect that SUMO needs some revision.
SUMO says nothing about "creating" a cognitive agent corresponding to the
position occupied. There are different ways of understanding what the
relationship is between the two cognitive agents that fill the slots of
'occupiesPosition'. It may be that the one agent is a part of the other
agent (in 3D terms), that the one agent is a space-time slice of the other
agent, etc. I agree with you that this implies that the SUMO is not
sufficiently "regimented" on this point, but SUMO is an ongoing project and
my hope is that discussions like this one will result in more
> > CP2>My original point was that this variety is not useful as
> > it compromised
> > the intended use of the ontology to facilitate interoperability of
> > information systems. Allowing there to be two interpretations
> > with different
> > objects and different numbers of objects clearly does so -
> > there cannot, in
> > principle, be a one-to-one mapping. So can I infer that you
> > (now) accept
> > that SUMO allowing two interpretations compromises
> interoperability as
> > described by Bill Anderson as item 3) from the PAR.
> > The advantage of embodying such variety is that it
> > makes the standard palatable to a wider class of users. It
> > would certainly
> > be a shame if some users declined to use the ontology just
> > because it didn't
> > accord with their.
> I'm not sure I follow you here. I guess your general claim
> is that one
> ontology (call it O1) can conform with another ontology (call
> it O2) only if
> the existential claims that follow from O2 (call them E2) can also be
> derived from O1 (call these claims E1). Is that what you're
> saying? If so,
> I don't buy it. Even if O1 and O2 make different claims
> about what exists
> (i.e. even if E1 and E2 are not identical), the two
> ontologies may agree
> about how to classify what exists in the real world. For it
> may be that the
> class of things that actually exist in the world (or even
> just the things
> that we are interested in describing) are a subset of both E1
> and E2. If
> that's the case, then the two ontologies agree for all
> practical purposes,
> even though they conflict as regards la-la land.
> CP3> I do not understand how what you say relates to the
> point I made. Are
> you saying that whenever any two ontologies (with the same
> interests) differ
> in their commitments regarding exactly the same parts of the
> world - the
> standard commercial data integration problem - it is because
> the things that
> the commercial systems are describing are not real but exist
> in la la land.
No, that's not what I am saying. Let me give you an example. Suppose that
the ontologies O1 and O2 are identical except that O1 embodies some form of
Platonic realism (i.e. abstract qualities are supposed to have an
independent existence in this ontology), while O2 is a hard-headed
materialist ontology. O1 may make all sorts of wacky claims about the Forms
in Platonic heaven, but this won't matter as far as the real world of data
integration is concerned. The two ontologies can still agree about how
physical objects and processes are to be classified.
> Even if this was true, which seems unlikely, the enterprises
> that own these
> systems seem to think that they exist sufficiently to warrant
> > CP2> This does not seem to have been an overriding
> consideration when
> > Teknowledge took the decision to use a 3D ontology.
> > CP2> I agree there are trade-offs. However for most
> > commercial projects,
> > worries about accommodating 'preferred metaphysical theory'
> > are low down the
> > list compared with enabling interoperability - unless the
> > preference gives
> > at least a comparable business benefit.
> I'm glad we agree about this.
> CP3> So we agree that it is not important to worry about accommodating
> people's pet theories - it is more important to regiment the
> theory that
> enables interoperability.