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[ba-ohs-talk] Fwd: Re: [PORT-L] Digital Imagination

Context for forwarding this long post:
I believe the following discussion relates closely to the evolving 
discussion on graph structures.  Jon Awbrey, in his usual, extremely 
articulate way, seems (to me) to be saying that ontologies, in an of 
themselves, are problematic.  But, we are still forced with the issue of 
archiving (representing) the universe for purposes of research, inference, 
and so forth.    (01)

An approach to representation being taken by the KnownSpace project 
(http://knownspace.sourceforge.net) is one that appears to be agnostic: 
simple entities, their names, values, and attributes.  Perhaps the graph 
structures we create should remain agnostic as well, and leave the 
'interpretation' to the agents that use those structures.  I still have 
problems with that idea, and I am presently probing the limits of the 
simple entity-attribute scheme with the KnownSpace group at this time; 
possibly, my problems stem from growing up a consummate reductionist.    (02)

Jack    (03)

>From: Jon Awbrey <jawbrey@OAKLAND.EDU>
>Subject:      Re: [PORT-L] Digital Imagination
>JA = Jon Awbrey
>MA = Murray Altheim
>MK = Mary Keeler
>JA: The problem that I am constantly up against up late is that
>     the very word "ontology" appears to have a very intoxicating
>     and even toxic effect on people's brains -- toxonomy? -- for
>     no sooner does someone start us frame his or her vision with
>     the all-purpose ever-contentless operator "Ontology Of" (OO),
>     than he or she, and soon to be it, develops a kind of tunnel
>     vision against all the diversity that does not fit within it.
>MA: I agree. Yet there is a pragmatic need to organize research
>     materials, and developing even a flawed ontology (given that
>     all ontological models are to some degree flawed) is better
>     than having no organizing principle.  Don't you think this
>     is an iterative process?
>MK: As soon as ICCS program preparations are complete,
>     I will have time to summarize and suggest along
>     these lines.
>JA: I'm just telling you what two years under the influence of this word
>     has taught me.  It's not something that I would've guessed going in.
>Here's the thing:  Why does an organizing principle have to
>be absolutized and reified and sedimented into an ontology?
>Yes, I know that one is "supposed" to be able to generate
>ontologies of process and relation and shape and flow,
>but from what I've observed of the folks under the
>influence of this ontologism, there is something
>akin to a gravitational furce here that pulls
>them down to thinking in monadic absolutes.
>If you are really a hermenaut of writing,
>what is wrong with organizing principles
>like theme, image, motif, genre, pov, etc?
>I did some genreic thinking about this in my dissertation,
>developing notions of "objective frameworks, genres, motifs"
>as a way of formalizing an interpreter's point of view and the
>logical structure of its placement in a dynamic community of
>tradition and interpretation.  Very initial hints, but that
>was the general idea.
>  Objective Plans & Levels
>In accounting for the special characters of icons and indices
>that arose in previous discussions, it was necessary to open
>the domain of objects coming under formal consideration to
>include unspecified numbers of properties and instances of
>whatever objects were initially set down.  This is a general
>phenomenon, affecting every motion toward explanation whether
>pursued by analytic or by synthetic means.  What it calls for
>in practice is a way of organizing growing domains of objects,
>without having to specify in advance all the objects there are.
>This Subsection presents the "objective project" (OP) that I plan to
>take up for investigating the forms of sign relations, and it outlines
>three "objective levels" (OL's) of formulation that guide the analytic
>and the synthetic studies of interpretive structure and that regulate
>the prospective stages of implementing this plan in particular cases.
>The main purpose of these schematic conceptions is organizational,
>to provide a conceptual architecture for the burgeoning hierarchies
>of objects that arise in the generative processes of inquiry.
>In the immediate context the objective project and the three levels of
>objective description are presented in broad terms.  In the process of
>surveying a variety of problems that serve to instigate efforts in this
>general direction, I explore the prospects of a particular "organon", or
>"instrumental scheme for the analysis and synthesis of objects", that is
>intended to address these issues, and I give an overview of its design.
>In interpreting the sense of the word "objective" as it is used in this
>application, it may help to regard this objective project in the light
>of a telescopic analogy, with an "objective" being "a lens or a system
>of lenses that forms an image of an object" (Webster's).
>In the next three Subsections after this one the focus returns to the
>separate levels of object structure, starting with the highest level of
>specification and treating the supporting levels in order of increasing
>detail.  At each stage, the developing tools are applied to the analysis
>of concrete problems that arise in trying to clarify the structure and
>function of sign relations.  For the present task, elaborations of this
>perspective are kept within the bounds of what is essential to deal with
>the example of A and B.
>At this point, I need to apologize in advance for a introducing
>a certain difficulty of terminology, but the underlying issue it
>raises can no longer be avoided.  To wit, I am forced to use the
>word "objective" in a way that conflicts with several traditions
>of interpretation, going so seriously against the grain of a few
>prevailing connotations that it will probably sound like a joke
>to many readers.  It is a definite "motive of consistency" (MOC)
>that requires me to do this, as I will try to justify in the end.
>As always, my use of the word "object" derives from the stock of the
>Greek root "pragma", which captures all of the senses needed to suggest
>the stability of concern and the dedication to purpose that are forever
>bound up in the constitution of objects and the institution of objectives.
>What it implies is that every object, objective, or objectivity is always
>somebody's object, objective, or objectivity.
>In other words, objectivity is always a matter of interpretation.
>It is concerned with and quantified by the magnitude of the consensus
>that a matter is bound to have at the end of inquiry, but in no way does
>this diminish or dismiss the fact that the fated determination is something
>on which any particular collection of current opinions are granted to differ.
>In principle, there begins to be a degree of objectivity as soon as something
>becomes an object to somebody, and the issue of whether this objective waxes
>or wanes in time is bound up with the number of observers that are destined
>to concur on it.
>The critical question is not whether a thing is an object of thought and
>discussion, but what sort of thought and discussion it is an object of.
>How does one determine the character of this thought and discussion?
>And should this query be construed as a task of finding or of making?
>Whether it appeals to arts of acquisition, production, or discernment,
>and however one expects to decide or decode the conduct it requires,
>the character of the thought and discussion in view is sized up and
>riddled out in turn by looking at the whole domain of objects and
>the pattern of relations among them that it actively charts and
>encompasses.  This makes what is usually called "subjectivity"
>a special case of what I must call "objectivity", since the
>interpretive and the perspectival elements are 'ab initio'
>operative and cannot be eliminated from any conceivable
>form of discernment, including their own.
>Consequently, analyses of objects and syntheses of objects are always
>analyses and syntheses to somebody.  Both of these modes of approaching
>the constitutions of objects lead to the sorts of approximation that are
>appropriate to particular agents and that are able to be appropriated by
>whole communities of interpretation.  By way of relief, on occasions when
>this motive of consistency hobbles discussion too severely, I will resort
>to using chimeras like "object-analytic" and "object-synthetic", paying the
>price of biasing the constitution of objects in one direction or the other.
>In this project I would like to treat the distinction of direction between
>construction and deconstruction as being more or less synonymous with the
>contrast between synthesis and analysis.  However, doing this without the
>introduction of too much distortion requires the intervention of a further
>distinction.  Therefore, let it be recognized that all orientations to the
>constitutions of objects can be pursued in both "regimented" and "radical"
>In the weaker senses of the terms, analysis and synthesis work within
>a preset and limited regime of objects, construing each object as being
>composed from a fixed inventory of stock constituents.  In the stronger
>senses, contracting for the application of these terms places a more
>strenuous demand on the would-be construer.
>1.  A radical form of analysis, in order to discern the contrasting
>     intentions in everything construed as an object, obliges agents
>     to leave or at least to re-place objects within the contexts of
>     their live acquaintance, to reflect on their prevailing motives
>     or their underlying motifs for construing and employing objects
>     in the ways that they do, and to deconstruct how their own aims
>     and biases enter into the form and the use of objects.
>2.  A radical form of synthesis, in order to integrate ideas and information
>     devolving from entirely different "frameworks of interpretation" (FOI's),
>     requires interpreters to reconstruct isolated concepts and descriptions
>     on a mutually compatible basis and to use means of composition that can
>     constitute a medium for common sensibilities.
>Thus, the radical project in all of these directions demands
>forms of interpretation, analysis, synthesis that can reflect
>a measure of light on the initially unstated assumptions of
>their prospective agents.
>The foregoing considerations lead up to the organizing conception of
>an "objective framework" (OF), in which objects can be analyzed into
>sets of constituent objects, perhaps proceeding recursively to some
>limiting level where the fundamental objects of thought are thought
>to rest -- or not.  If an OF is felt to be completely unique and
>uniquely complete, then people tend to regard it as constituting
>a veritable "ontology", but I will not be able to go that far.
>The recognition of plural and fallible perspectives that goes
>with pragmatic forms of thinking does not see itself falling
>into line any time soon with any one or only one ontology.
>On the opposite score, there is no reason to deny the possibility
>that a unique and complete OF exists.  Indeed, the hope that such
>a "place to stand" does exist, somehow, somewhere, somewhen, often
>serves to provide inquiry with a beneficial regulative principle or
>a heuristic hypothesis to work on.  But it just so happens, for the
>run of "finitely informed creatures" (FIC's) at any rate, that the
>existence of an ideal framework is a contingency to be established
>after the fact, at least, somewhat nearer toward the ultimate end
>of inquiry than the present time is apt to mark.
>In this project, an OF embodies one or more "objective genres" (OG's), also
>called "forms of analysis" (FOA's) or "forms of synthesis" (FOS's), each of
>which delivers its own rendition of a "great chain of being" for all of the
>objects under its purview.  In effect, each OG develops its own version of
>an "ontological hierarchy" (OH), designed independently of the conceivable
>others to capture an aspect of structure in its objective domain.
>For now, the level of an OF operates as a catch-all, giving the projected
>discussion the elbow room it needs to range over an unspecified variety
>of different OG's and to place the particular OG's of active interest in
>a running context of comparative evaluations and developmental options.
>Any given OG can appear under the alias of a "form of analysis" (FOA)
>or a "form of synthesis" (FOS), depending on the direction of prevailing
>interest.  A notion that is frequently invoked for the same purpose is that
>of an "ontological hierarchy" (OH), but I will use this only provisionally,
>and only so long as it is clear that alternative ontologies can always be
>proposed for the same space of objects.
>An OG embodies many "objective motives" or "objective motifs" (OM's).
>If an OG constitutes a genus, or a generic pattern of object structure,
>then the OM's amount to its specific and individual exemplars.  Thus, an
>OM can appear in the guise of a particular instance, trial, or "run" of
>the general form of analytic or synthetic procedure that accords with
>the protocols of a given OG.
>In order to provide a way of talking about various objective points of view
>in general without having to specify a particular level, I will use the term
>"objective concern" (OC) to cover any individual OF, OG, or OM.
>An OG, in its general way, or an OM, in its individual way, begins by
>relating each object in its purview to a unique set of further objects,
>called the "components", "constituents", "effects", "ingredients", or
>"instances" of that object with respect to that "objective concern" (OC).
>As long as a discussion remains fixed to what is visible within the scope
>of a particular OC, the collected effects of each object in view constitute
>its "active ingredients", supplying it with a unique decomposition that fixes
>it to a degree sufficient for all purposes conceivable within that discussion.
>Contemplated from an outside perspective, however, the status of these effects
>as the "defining unique determinants" (DUD's) of each object under examination
>is something to be questioned.  The supposed constituents of an object 
>that are
>obvious with respect to one OC can be regarded with suspicion from the 
>points of
>view of alternative OC's, and their apparent status as rock-bottom 
>can find itself reconstituted in the guise of provisional placeholders 
>or excipients) that precipitately index the potential operation of more subtly
>active ingredients.
>If a single OG could be unique and the realization of every object
>in it could be complete, then there might be some basis for saying
>that the elements of objects and the extensions of objects are known,
>and thus that the very "objects of objects" (OOO's) are determined by
>its plan.  In practice, however, it takes a diversity of overlapping
>and not entirely systematic OG's to make up a moderately useful OF.
>What gives an OG a definite constitution is the naming of a space
>of objects that falls under its purview and the setting down of
>a system of axioms that affects its generating relations.
>What gives an OM a determinate character from moment to moment
>is the particular selection of objects and relational linkages
>from its governing OG that it can say it has appropriated,
>apprehended, or actualized, that is to say, the portion
>of its OG that it can say actually belongs to it, and
>whether they make up a lot or a little, the roles
>that it can say it has made its own.
>In setting out the preceding characterization, I have reiterated what is
>likely to seem like an anthropomorphism, prefacing each requirement of the
>candidate OM with the qualification "it can say".  This is done in order to
>emphasize that an OM's command of a share of its OG is partly a function of
>the interpretive effability that it brings to bear on the object domain and
>partly a matter of the expressive power that it is able to dictate over its
>own development.
>  Formalization of OF:  Objective Levels
>The three levels of objective detail to be discussed are referred to as
>the objective "framework", "genre", and "motive" that one finds actively
>involved in organizing, guiding, and regulating a particular inquiry.
>1.  An "objective framework" (OF) consists of one or several
>     "objective genres" (OG's), each of which may also be known
>     as a "form of analysis" (FOA), a "form of synthesis" (FOS),
>     or an "ontological hierarchy (OH).  Typically, these span
>     a diverse spectrum of formal characteristics and intended
>     interpretations.
>2.  An OG is made up of one or more "objective motives"
>     or "objective motifs" (OM's), each of which may also
>     be regarded as a particular "instance of analysis" (IOA)
>     or a particular "instance of synthesis" (IOS).  All of the
>     OM's that are governed by a particular OG exhibit a kinship
>     of structures and intentions, and each OM roughly fits the
>     pattern or "follows in the footsteps" of its guiding OG.
>3.  An OM can be identified with a certain moment of interpretation,
>     one in which a particular 2-adic relation appears to govern all of
>     the objects in its purview.  Initially presented as an abstraction,
>     an individual OM is commonly fleshed out by identifying it with its
>     interpretive agent.  As this practice amounts to a very loose form
>     of personification, it is subject to all of the dangers of its type
>     and is bound eventually to engender a multitude of misunderstandings.
>     In contexts where more precision is needed it is best to acknowledge
>     that the application of an OM is restricted to special instants and
>     to limited intervals of time.  This means that an individual OM must
>     look to the "interpretive moment" (IM) of its immediate activity to
>     find the materials available for both its concrete instantiation and
>     its real implementation.  Finally, having come round to the picture
>     of an objective motive that is realized in an interpretive moment,
>     this discussion has achieved a discrete advance toward the desired
>     forms of dynamically realistic models, providing itself with what
>     begins to look like the elemental states and dispositions that
>     are needed to build fully actualized systems of interpretation.
>A major theoretical task that remains outstanding for this project is to
>discover a minimally adequate basis for defining the state of uncertainty
>that an interpretive system has with respect to the questions it is able to
>formulate about the state of an object system.  Achieving this would permit
>a measure of definiteness to be brought to the question of inquiry's nature,
>since it can already be grasped intuitively that the gist of inquiry is to
>reduce an agent's level of uncertainty about its object, its objective,
>or its objectivity through appropriate changes of state.
>Accordingly, one of the roles intended for this OF is to provide
>a set of standard formulations for describing the moment to moment
>uncertainty of interpretive systems.  The formally definable concepts
>of the MOI (the objective case of a SOI) and the IM (the momentary state
>of a SOI) are intended to formalize the intuitive notions of a generic
>mental constitution and a specific mental disposition that usually
>serve in discussing states and directions of mind.
>The structures present at each objective level are formulated by means
>of converse pairs of "staging relations", prototypically symbolized by
>the signs "-<-" and "->-".  At the more generic levels of OF's and OG's
>the "staging operations" associated with the generators "-<-" and "->-"
>involve the application of 2-adic relations analogous to those of class
>membership "element of" and its converse, but the increasing amounts of
>parametric information that are needed to determine specific motives and
>detailed motifs give OM's the full power of triadic relations.  Using the
>same pair of symbols to denote staging relations at all objective levels
>helps to prevent an excessive proliferation of symbols, but it means that
>the meaning of these symbols is always heavily dependent on the context.
>In particular, even fundamental properties like the effective "arity"
>or "valence" of the relations signified can vary from level to level.
>The staging relations divide into two orientations, "-<-" versus "->-",
>indicating opposing senses of direction with respect to the distinction
>between analytic and synthetic projects:
>1.  The "standing relations", indicated by "-<-", are analogous to
>     the "element of", "belongs to", or the membership relation "in".
>     Another interpretation of "-<-" is the "instance of" relation.
>     At least with respect to the more generic levels of analysis,
>     any distinction between these readings is largely immaterial
>     to the formal interests and the structural objectives of
>     this discussion.
>2.  The "propping relations", indicated by "->-", are analogous to
>     the "class of" relation or converse of the membership relation.
>     An alternative meaning for "->-" is the "property of" relation.
>     Although it is possible to maintain a distinction in this regard,
>     the present discussion is mainly concerned with a level of purely
>     formal structure to which this difference is largely irrelevant.
>Although it is strictly speaking logically redundant to do so,
>it turns out to be extremely useful in practice to introduce
>efficient symbolic devices for both directions of the staging
>relations, "-<-" and "->-", and to maintain a formal calculus
>that treats analogous pairs of relations on an equal footing.
>Extra measures of convenience come into play if the relations
>are used as assignment operations or as "field promotions",
>that is, to create titles, to define terms, and to establish
>the offices of objects in active contexts of given relations.
>Accordingly, I regard these dual relationships as symmetric
>primitives and employ them as the "generating relations"
>of all three objective levels.
>... more at:
>Inquiry Driven Systems
>01.  http://suo.ieee.org/ontology/msg03604.html
>02.  http://suo.ieee.org/ontology/msg03605.html
>03.  http://suo.ieee.org/ontology/msg03607.html
>04.  http://suo.ieee.org/ontology/msg03608.html
>05.  http://suo.ieee.org/ontology/msg03609.html
>06.  http://suo.ieee.org/ontology/msg03610.html
>07.  http://suo.ieee.org/ontology/msg03611.html
>08.  http://suo.ieee.org/ontology/msg03613.html
>09.  http://suo.ieee.org/ontology/msg03614.html
>10.  http://suo.ieee.org/ontology/msg03615.html
>11.  http://suo.ieee.org/ontology/msg03616.html
>12.  http://suo.ieee.org/ontology/msg03617.html
>13.  http://suo.ieee.org/ontology/msg03618.html
>14.  http://suo.ieee.org/ontology/msg03619.html
>15.  http://suo.ieee.org/ontology/msg03620.html
>16.  http://suo.ieee.org/ontology/msg03621.html
>17.  http://suo.ieee.org/ontology/msg03622.html
>18.  http://suo.ieee.org/ontology/msg03623.html
>19.  http://suo.ieee.org/ontology/msg03624.html
>20.  http://suo.ieee.org/ontology/msg03627.html
>21.  http://suo.ieee.org/ontology/msg03630.html
>22.  http://suo.ieee.org/ontology/msg03640.html
>23.  http://suo.ieee.org/ontology/msg03642.html
>才~~~~~~~~才~~~~~~~~才~~~~~~~~才~~~~~~~~才~~~~~~~~    (04)