Ontology Introduction

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RCSaunders
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Ontology Introduction

Post by RCSaunders » Thu Jun 27, 2019 8:13 pm

Ontology is the branch of metaphysics which deals specifically with the nature of material existence.

Material existence is all that exists independently of anyone's knowledge or awareness. "Independent of" does not mean separate from, but, "whether or not anyone knows or is aware of that existence." Material existence includes what is usually referred to as, "physical existence," which is all that we can directly perceive and is the subject of the physical sciences. It also includes life, consciousness, and the human mind, which also exist independently of anyone's knowledge or awareness, but are not physical. (Of course no consiousness or mind exists independently of the one whose conciousness and mind they are.)

Ontology provides the basic concepts by which the essential nature of material existence can be understood. Since all we can know is what exists, it is our understanding of material existence which is the foundation of epistemology, especially the physical sciences.

Material Existents - Three Corollaries of the Axiom of Identity

Metaphysically, existence consists of everything that exists, without regard to its mode of existence. Ontologically, existence consists of all material existents or entities. All other things that are sometimes thought of as material existents, qualities, events, and relationships, only exist as aspects of entities with no existence independent of those entities. Qualities exist only as qualities of entities; events exist only as the behavior of entities, and relationships exist only between entities; there are no qualities, events, or relationships independent of the entities they are the qualities of, behavior of, or relationships between. In the physical realm, qualities, events, and relationships are physical existents (because they exist), but not entities, because they have no independent existence.

Those qualities of an existent that are the existent and by which it is identified epistemologically are called intrinsic qualities. An existent's behavior and relationships are called extrinsic qualities because an existent would have the same intrinsic qualities independently of its behavior or relationhips with other existents. Ontologically, no existent can exist indepedently of its actual behavior and relationships.

[NOTE: Some philosophers use the terms "characteristics," "attributes," or "properties," instead of qualities. The word, "qualities," is used here because it is the traditional term in philosophy that subsumes "characteristics," "attributes," "properties," "aspects," and "states."]

The axiom of identity, originally stated by Aristotle, is, A is A, or "a thing (or existent) is what it is." But what exactly is a thing's identity?

It is one of the most important questions of philosophy. "A is A," is fine, but what exactly is A? A thing certainly is what it is, but what is a thing anyway? There are three corollaries to the axiomatic concept of identity which answer this question. Those corollaries are, the necessity of qualities, the necessity of difference, and the necessity of relationship. By necessity is meant that all three corollaries are true of all existents and there can be no existent of which all three are not true.

[NOTE: By, "axiomatic concept," is meant that to deny it is self-contradictory. It is not an assumption.]

Corollary 1: The Necessity of Qualities Anything that exists must have some qualities and those qualities are its identity, that is, what it is.

It is true of all existents, psychological as well as material, that a thing is whatever all of its qualities are. Note, however, the qualities do not make a thing what it is, the qualities are what they are because a thing is what it is. Identifying a thing's qualities (an epistemological function) is not identifying why a thing is what it is, only what it is.

[NOTE: This article pertains only to the ontological material existents with material qualities. Existents with material qualities are called entities. The epistemological identification of existents, including entities, will be described under epistemology]

An entity is whatever all its qualities are, and those qualities do not exist independently of the entity of which they are the qualities. Conversely, since an entity's qualities are what the entity is, the entity cannot exist independently of its qualities. An existent sans qualities is a contradiction.

For example, the redness, elasticity, and roundness of a red rubber ball are qualities of the red rubber ball, but they are not things impressed on or added to something else that somehow transforms it into a red rubber ball. The qualities are simply the qualities of a red rubber ball, and have no independent meaning or existence apart from it. If there were never anything elastic, or red, or round, none of those qualities would exist or have any meaning.

An entity's identity, ontologically, is all of it's qualities. This must not be confused with an existent's epistemological identity, which is dependent on what is known about it. The entity identified, both ontologically and epistemologically is the same entity. An entity is what it is regardless of how much is known or not known about it.

Corollary 2: The Necessity of Difference Anything that exists must be different in some way from everything else that exists. No two things can be identical.

It is obvious if there are two things, something must make them different, else they would not be two things. Since it is an entity's qualities that determine what an entity is, if entities are different (which they must be) they must have at least one quality which is different.

Therefore, since, "anything that exists must have some qualities (corollary 1.) and "anything that exists must be different in some way from everything else that exists" (corollary 2.) and it is a thing's qualities that determine what it is; this corollary may be restated as:

Every existent has some quality or combination of qualities which is different from some quality or combination of qualities of all other existents.

While there is probably nothing we can directly perceive that is identical in every way to any other entity, there is no logical reason why there could not be two things that are identical in terms of there qualities, nevertheless they can be different if their extrinsic qualities (behavior or relationships) are different.

For example, though we cannot directly perceive individual molecules of water, we know if they have the same energy levels they are assumed to be identical. If they are identical, the second corollary says they cannot exist, so they must be different in some way, and that difference cannot be any of the intrinsic qualities. The quality that differentiates things that are otherwise identical must be an extrinsic quality. In the case of water molecules, the quality that differentiates them is the relative quality, position. Two water molecules may be identical in every way, but if they are really two, they cannot be in the same place (position) at the same time.

Corollary 3: The Necessity of Relationship Anything that exists must have some relationship to everything else that exists. Nothing can exist that does not have some relationship to everything else that exists.

This corollary is actually the converse of the previous. It really says that everything that exists must share some quality or qualities with other things that exist. Nothing can be totally unique or isolated.

This is the least obvious of the three corollaries and is easiest to grasp from the relationship aspect. If there could be something that shared no qualities whatever with anything else that exists, it could not possibly have any relationship to anything else that exists. It could not have any spatial relationships, because it would then have spatial qualities; it could have no physical relationship, because it would then have physical qualities; and it could not have perceptual relationships (ones that can be perceived), because it would then have perceptual qualities. If a thing has any relationship with any other existent, whatever the relationship is, there is some common quality or characteristic which that relationship shares or is a variation of.

This corollary contradicts all of those mystical and pseudo-scientific notions of other worlds and other existences, for example. There is only existence and whatever exists is part of that existence and has some relationship to everything else that exists.

About Ontology

This is only an introduction to the most fundamental principles of ontology. without the three corollaries of the axiom of identity no further progress in the field of ontology is possible, but these concepts are only a foundation. Ontology is a very broad subject with many questions it must answer. Some of those questions are:

What is life?
What is Consciousness?
What is the human mind?
What is the nature of conscious perception?
What is the relationship between determinsm and volition?
What is the nature of cause?
What is the relationship between the analog and the descrete?
What is substance?

There are other supposed issues of ontology:

Universals and particulars.
Substance and accident.
Abstract and concrete objects.
Essence and existence.
Monism vs dualism.
Idealism vs empiricism (materialism).

The first four are epistemological questions which epistemology answers. They have no meaning in ontology. The last two are particular ontological views, not questions of ontology itself, nevertheless they will be addressed.

Ontology is actually a branch of metaphysics. My next article will discuss what metaphysics actually is, both as a foundation for this ontology and to help sweep away the mass of nonsense and superstition infecting that branch of philosophy.

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bahman
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Re: Ontology Introduction

Post by bahman » Mon Jul 01, 2019 11:47 am

That was a long reading and I didn't have time to read it carefully so I cannot comment on it now. I can, however, answer your questions. I am open to discuss the answers if you wish.
RCSaunders wrote:
Thu Jun 27, 2019 8:13 pm
What is life?
Life is nothing but minds embedded in material.
RCSaunders wrote:
Thu Jun 27, 2019 8:13 pm
What is Consciousness?
An ability of mind.
RCSaunders wrote:
Thu Jun 27, 2019 8:13 pm
What is the human mind?
Mind, in general, is the essence of any being with the abilities to experience and cause.
RCSaunders wrote:
Thu Jun 27, 2019 8:13 pm
What is the nature of conscious perception?
Conscious perception is an instrument that allows the mind to experience physical.
RCSaunders wrote:
Thu Jun 27, 2019 8:13 pm
What is the relationship between determinism and volition?
Nothing.
RCSaunders wrote:
Thu Jun 27, 2019 8:13 pm
What is the nature of the cause?
An ability of mind.
RCSaunders wrote:
Thu Jun 27, 2019 8:13 pm
What is the relationship between the analog and the descrete?
What do you mean with analog and discrete?
RCSaunders wrote:
Thu Jun 27, 2019 8:13 pm
What is substance?
What is caused by mind.

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RCSaunders
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Re: Ontology Introduction

Post by RCSaunders » Mon Jul 01, 2019 2:48 pm

bahman wrote:
Mon Jul 01, 2019 11:47 am
What do you mean with analog and discrete?
I'll wait 'til you have read the article, which happens to contradict every point you made, to address anything you have to comment on then. I will explain what this question means.

There are two ways of viewing reality. The analog view regards all existence and events as continuous and and connected. The discrete view regards all existence comprised of distinct existents and events consisting of discrete distinct steps. The question pertains to both physical existence and consciousness.

If existence is analog, how are their distinct individual entities, consciousnesses, and minds? If existence is discrete, how is everything connected, how does it interact?

If you look the concepts up you will find they have been reduced to explaining the difference in, "digital," (discrete) and analog signals in electronics, communication, and processors.

Skepdick
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Re: Ontology Introduction

Post by Skepdick » Mon Jul 01, 2019 3:12 pm

RCSaunders wrote:
Mon Jul 01, 2019 2:48 pm
There are two ways of viewing reality. The analog view regards all existence and events as continuous and and connected. The discrete view regards all existence comprised of distinct existents and events consisting of discrete distinct steps.

If you look the concepts up you will find they have been reduced to explaining the difference in, "digital," (discrete) and analog signals in electronics, communication, and processors.
Clearly you haven't looked closely enough. The digital/discrete conceptions are two sides of the same coin in the paradigm of Physical information.

Nyquist–Shannon sampling theorem
If a function x ( t ) contains no frequencies higher than B hertz, it is completely determined by giving its ordinates at a series of points spaced 1 / ( 2 B ) seconds apart.

In English: Even if the Universe is analogue, it may appear discrete if you don't sample it fast enough.

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bahman
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Re: Ontology Introduction

Post by bahman » Mon Jul 01, 2019 4:17 pm

RCSaunders wrote:
Mon Jul 01, 2019 2:48 pm
bahman wrote:
Mon Jul 01, 2019 11:47 am
What do you mean with analog and discrete?
I'll wait 'til you have read the article, which happens to contradict every point you made, to address anything you have to comment on then. I will explain what this question means.

There are two ways of viewing reality. The analog view regards all existence and events as continuous and connected. The discrete view regards all existence comprised of distinct existents and events consisting of discrete distinct steps. The question pertains to both physical existence and consciousness.

If existence is analog, how are their distinct individual entities, consciousnesses, and minds? If existence is discrete, how is everything connected, how does it interact?

If you look at the concepts up you will find they have been reduced to explaining the difference in, "digital," (discrete) and analog signals in electronics, communication, and processors.
I see. The reality in its core is discrete but our experiences look continuous. I am however puzzled with this, how a discrete reality can lead to continuous experience?

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Re: Ontology Introduction

Post by I Like Sushu » Mon Jul 01, 2019 7:41 pm

RC -
Ontology is the branch of metaphysics which deals specifically with the nature of material existence.
Nope. SPECIFICALLY it deals with ‘being’ and what ‘being’ means. Materialism and physicalism deal with what is ‘material’ and what is ‘physical’. This probably explains why I don’t understand your position in another post due to this use of terminology?

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Re: Ontology Introduction

Post by RCSaunders » Tue Jul 02, 2019 1:43 am

Skepdick wrote:
Mon Jul 01, 2019 3:12 pm
Clearly you haven't looked closely enough. The digital/discrete conceptions are two sides of the same coin in the paradigm of Physical information.

Nyquist–Shannon sampling theorem
If a function x ( t ) contains no frequencies higher than B hertz, it is completely determined by giving its ordinates at a series of points spaced 1 / ( 2 B ) seconds apart.
Existence is not information. I was trying to provide a very brief explanation of the ontological question.

Shannon's information theory has been terribly abused. It has nothing to do with knowledge or actual information. It only pertains to the fidelity of transmitted or stored analog or digital signals and states. Whether there is any information encoded in those signals or states is irrelevent. They could be gibberish and the principles of information theory still apply. So long as the same gibberish is received as trasmitted or retrieved from memory as stored the "information" is considered perfect, even though there is no information stored or transmitted.

I know a little about information theory. I have been involved with telephony for most of my life and wrote error detection and correction software in the 80s. Perhaps you haven't looked closely enough.
Skepdick wrote:
Mon Jul 01, 2019 3:12 pm
In English: Even if the Universe is analogue, it may appear discrete if you don't sample it fast enough.
If there were true confusion about the universe [there isn't], it would be the other way around. Many things seem to be analogue which we know are discrete, such a movies and television. The motion seems continuous (analog) but we know the image actually consists of many separate (discrete) images (movies) or (discrete) points of light that do not move at all (television and most digital devices).

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Re: Ontology Introduction

Post by Skepdick » Tue Jul 02, 2019 1:20 pm

RCSaunders wrote:
Tue Jul 02, 2019 1:43 am
Existence is not information. I was trying to provide a very brief explanation of the ontological question.
I say it is. As do very many physicists. Prove us wrong.
RCSaunders wrote:
Tue Jul 02, 2019 1:43 am
Shannon's information theory has been terribly abused.
Has it? Everything either exists or doesn't. That answers one yes/no question, which makes for one bit of information.
RCSaunders wrote:
Tue Jul 02, 2019 1:43 am
It only pertains to the fidelity of transmitted or stored analog or digital signals and states.
Only? ONLY!?! That's exactly what statistical mechanics pertains to. Micro and macro states.

Which is why there is a correspondence between Shannon information and statistical mechanics.

So it seems to me it's a perfectly useful model for understanding reality by asking this simple question: How much information is necessary to describe it? Which is the same question as: How complex is it to describe?

Because that IS what you are busy doing, right? That IS what Philosophy has been doing since. Ever. Attempting to describe reality USING language.

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Re: Ontology Introduction

Post by RCSaunders » Tue Jul 02, 2019 8:09 pm

Skepdick wrote:
Tue Jul 02, 2019 1:20 pm
RCSaunders wrote:
Tue Jul 02, 2019 1:43 am
Existence is not information. I was trying to provide a very brief explanation of the ontological question.
I say it is. As do very many physicists. Prove us wrong.
As I've said before, all sorts of self-proclaimed scientists claim all sorts of absurd things. It wouldn't matter if every scientist in the world claimed the world is actually a clam, it would still not be true.

I have proved it. Whenever someone says in the coarse of a discussion, "prove it," I know what it really means is, "prove it to me," when no proof will be accepted, because it is not the truth that is sought, but to win an argument. You win! OK?

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Re: Ontology Introduction

Post by Skepdick » Tue Jul 02, 2019 10:51 pm

RCSaunders wrote:
Tue Jul 02, 2019 8:09 pm
As I've said before, all sorts of self-proclaimed scientists claim all sorts of absurd things. It wouldn't matter if every scientist in the world claimed the world is actually a clam, it would still not be true.
The same can be said about philosophers. That's pretty much the problem, isn't it? Establishing an objective criterion for "truth".

Nobody has managed so far.

RCSaunders wrote:
Tue Jul 02, 2019 8:09 pm
I have proved it. Whenever someone says in the coarse of a discussion, "prove it," I know what it really means is, "prove it to me," when no proof will be accepted, because it is not the truth that is sought, but to win an argument. You win! OK?
You keep confusing proof with justification... context error. Proving things about reality is a meaningless notion.
The notion of "proof" is only valid in a deductive context. Reality is not a deductive system.

I don't really know how to get you to comprehend this concept. The methods you are using to arrive at "truth" were dismissed as ineffective over 300 years ago...

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Re: Ontology Introduction

Post by RCSaunders » Wed Jul 03, 2019 1:42 am

Skepdick wrote:
Tue Jul 02, 2019 10:51 pm
The notion of "proof" is only valid in a deductive context. Reality is not a deductive system.

I don't really know how to get you to comprehend this concept. The methods you are using to arrive at "truth" were dismissed as ineffective over 300 years ago...
It is because you do not understand that the purpose of logic and, "proof," is not to convince others, but to ensure one's own reasoning is correct. Since you have no idea what method I used to prove what I know you are in no position to judge it, not that I care if you do. The reason I have not explained my method to you is, as I said, because you are not interested in the truth, only in winning arguments. No one needs your agreement or approval to know what they know.

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Re: Ontology Introduction

Post by Skepdick » Wed Jul 03, 2019 8:00 am

RCSaunders wrote:
Wed Jul 03, 2019 1:42 am
It is because you do not understand that the purpose of logic
Yeah... lets go with that and ignore that I am the one with a software/systems background.
RCSaunders wrote:
Wed Jul 03, 2019 1:42 am
and, "proof," is not to convince others, but to ensure one's own reasoning is correct.
Since you have no idea what method I used to prove what I know you are in no position to judge it, not that I care if you do.
I don't think you have any idea what method you are using either. Anything that a logician or a mathematician might call "proof" is a computer program.

All that a "proof" guarantees is internal consistency given your axioms and rules of inference.
A "proof" DOES NOT guarantee correspondence with reality, fitness for purpose or utility of any sort.

Theory without empirically testable consequences is just narrative.
I have only proved it correct, not tried it. --Donalt Knuth
RCSaunders wrote:
Wed Jul 03, 2019 1:42 am
The reason I have not explained my method to you is, as I said, because you are not interested in the truth, only in winning arguments.
And I told you that I am not interested in arguing, let alone winning arguments.

If you care about "truth" - you would pay attention (and if you were mature enough - maybe even acknowledge) the contingencies in your belief-system.
Because all belief-systems are contingent. Mine included.
RCSaunders wrote:
Wed Jul 03, 2019 1:42 am
No one needs your agreement or approval to know what they know.
Well, clearly you need somebody's agreement or approval if you defending what you know as "correct" by appealing to logic and proof.
It is rather strange to seek validation (of your world-view) at this age.

Logic is like LEGO. You can construct anything you want with LEGO. Upside-down house with 7 kitchens and no bathrooms? Sure. A car with wheels on the roof and no engine? Sure!
To say that that what you have constructed is "correct" or "incorrect" is a misnomer. You have constructed it - it's there! It's consistent with the axioms (building blocks) of LEGO because it's made out of them!

To assert the "correctness" of what you have constructed first you need to tell us something about your criteria for "correctness". And most importantly - you need to tell us how you determined that it wasn't incorrect. Falsification.

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Re: Ontology Introduction

Post by RCSaunders » Wed Jul 03, 2019 8:38 pm

Skepdick wrote:
Wed Jul 03, 2019 8:00 am
Anything that a logician or a mathematician might call "proof" is a computer program.
...

To assert the "correctness" of what you have constructed first you need to tell us something about your criteria for "correctness". And most importantly - you need to tell us how you determined that it wasn't incorrect. Falsification.
Who the hell is, "us." Whoever, "us," is, I don't need to tell them anything.

If I think the kitty is in the closet, I prove or disprove it by looking in the closet. I suppose you would consult some computer program.

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Re: Ontology Introduction

Post by Skepdick » Wed Jul 03, 2019 9:00 pm

RCSaunders wrote:
Wed Jul 03, 2019 8:38 pm
If I think the kitty is in the closet, I prove or disprove it by looking in the closet. I suppose you would consult some computer program.
Ohhhhhhh...

That is the verificationist perspective! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Verificationism
That is the empirical aspect of science. Your mode of reasoning produced a TESTABLE hypothesis.

That's hardly interesting, then is it? The more important question is WHY you think that kitty is in the closet.

What leads you to the testable conclusion?
If you literally just saw kitty go into the closet, and you also know that there is only one way in or out then you don't really have to go look - do you?

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Re: Ontology Introduction

Post by RCSaunders » Thu Jul 04, 2019 1:05 am

Skepdick wrote:
Wed Jul 03, 2019 9:00 pm
If you literally just saw kitty go into the closet, and you also know that there is only one way in or out then you don't really have to go look - do you?
You can reason when you want to. The question was about proof, however.

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