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RE: [ontolog-forum] Research Illusion

From: Jeremy Carroll <jeremy@topquadrant.com>
Date: Sun, 10 May 2009 13:32:21 -0700
To: "'John F. Sowa'" <sowa@bestweb.net>
Cc: "'[ontolog-forum]'" <ontolog-forum@ontolog.cim3.net>, "'SW-forum'" <semantic-web@w3.org>, "'Mustafa Jarrar'" <mjarrar@cs.ucy.ac.cy>, 'Sören Auer' <auer@informatik.uni-leipzig.de>, "'Pieter De Leenheer'" <pdeleenh@vub.ac.be>
Message-ID: <006301c9d1ae$6be8e6b0$43bab410$@com>
>  > It seems that another inescapable fact is that we are social
> creatures
>  > and that research, consensus and truth are social processes.
> If you delete the word 'truth' from that sentence, I agree.  But
> there are hard, testable criteria for truth:  the ability to generate
> correct predictions when tested under a sufficiently large body of
> experiment and observation.

Hi John

I am aware that I am out on a limb here ... but for me one of the great weaknesses of the whole enlightenment project, is also its greatest strength - its conceptualization of truth, which you articulate with clarity above. This is a clear improvement on a pre-enlightenment notion of truth based on authoritative source.

But, many use of SemWeb technology are not about the world out there, but our human world. In our human world, truth is much more a social construct. For example, whether the song "Do anything you wanna do" by Eddie and the Hot Rods, is or is not in the punk genre is not a question that has an objectively true answer, but is the sort of thing that one might include within some RDF triples that work with a music ontology. That we will choose to structure our conceptualization of music in whatever fashion works for us. It is arguable that much scientific knowledge also follows the same pragmatic structure, since today's science will be superseded tomorrow.

I think in practice, whatever our philosophical differences, we agree ... truth should not be hard-coded but somehow emergent.

[I am pretty sure I am not the only post-modernist here!]


Received on Sunday, 10 May 2009 20:33:11 UTC

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