To the Ancient Greeks the human mind is lepton – and is identified with finest of all things – being much like a spider’s gossamer web; whereby the mind can penetrate all things – and in the subtlest and most penetrating of ways, in minute detail and with a great degree of precision and mental ‘magnification’.
Obviously the Greeks placed great reverence on mental processes; and related subjects became a natural preoccupation for the major thinkers in the various domains of philosophy, metaphysics and epistemology ever since. However much debate remains on cognitive topics, and varieties of opinion exist on how the mind functions, and for example, on the degree of realism (if any) of its mental objects and numerous reflections upon nature. There are contradictory systems of thought that attempt to explain perception, thinking processes and the nature of the real etc. For example, we have multiple theories which attempt to explain the origins/existence/possibility of meaning/truth; from realism, idealism, nominalism, conceptualism etc.
A basic dichotomy is whether or not ‘Meanings are in the Head or Not’ – as stated by philosopher Hilary Putnam (he thought he had proved that they were not). Doubtless thinking is a kind of mirror held up to the world – and it does appear that we can and do create useful (or sufficiently truthful) mental models of reality. Witness the great triumphs of science, physics, chemistry and biology etc. These successes are perhaps based on what Emmanuel Kant called the three aspects of quantitive reality: named as Unity, Plurality, Totality; plus also the three qualitative aspects – named as Reality, Negation, Limitation.
Others have focussed on Relation as the key aspect that thinking reflects/extracts from nature – which can be separated out into Inherence (being), Causality (force, activity, passivity), Community (presence, resistance).
Yet other thinkers have focussed on Time, and introduced Modality (origin, extension, change) – combined with Possibility, Existence, Necessity.
We do not have space/effort to adequately explore aspects of these individual theories; and (in any case) we do not expect to find any single conception – or theory – which can explain all aspects of human cognition perfectly. Our approach shall be an all-inclusive. top-level and kaleidoscopic one, therefore, and also to embrace/ allow theoretical contradiction wherever possible.
Perhaps one might think that it would be an easier task to focus on objective knowledge – its acquisition, organization and access. However once again we are hit by expert disagreements and multiple contradictory theories. For example we have 3 basic approaches as follows:
• Ontology (defines the kinds of things that exist in the
application domain); and
• Computation or relationship modeling (supports applications that distinguish knowledge representations from pure philosophy).
If we push Logic aside for a minute; assuming it to be a basic requirement for all coherent thinking – then we can begin with Ontology – whereby we identify that the two sources of ontological categories are observation and reasoning. Observation provides knowledge of the world, and Reasoning makes sense of observation by generating a framework of abstractions (facts) called metaphysics/science or engineering/history etc.
Ergo Ontology is represented in terms of logical statements. But right away we are hit by another problem – as noted by Willard Van Orman Quine: ‘To be is to be the value of a quantified variable’. But this statement says nothing about what actually exists – and in fact existence would seem to be very difficult (if impossible) to represent in this manner – or to squash into lots of predicates (variables) and true/false statements (Ref. language as a net analogy).
Many cognition experts such as Prof. Peter Gardenfors, have noted that traditional predicate Logic has difficulty dealing with aspects of Being that relate to totality – such as comparison of real objects, similarity, metaphor, analogy and problems related to real world existence within a totality of processes – many of which may not be easily represented/ captured in such models (for example complex telos or casual direction). Here in this essay, we shall call this knowledge-system data capture problem: The Logical Boundary ‘Fuzziness’ Targeting Problem; and suggest some approaches which may help tackle and provide solutions to the same.
Perhaps a nice standard way to begin our analysis of human thinking is with the aforementioned ideas of Gardenfors. Concepts are: A) Cognitive Acts and also: B) Knowledge Units – depending upon whether we wish to consider a particular example as an object of contemplation or record/recall. In any case, they deal with Objects, Attributes and Relationships – hence Concepts are theories which the subject creates and uses to reconstruct and to represent objects, segments, and events of the surrounding world.
A Concept is constituted by its extension, comprising all objects which belong to the concept, and its intention, including all attributes (properties, meanings) which apply to all objects of the extension. Gardenfor’s claims that these spatial metaphors are applicable to all concept types – and wholly ephemeral, metaphysical and/or virtual ones are included.
Intellectually, concepts can only live in relationships with many other concepts where the subconcept – superconcept relation plays a prominent role (Ref. class- like inheritance), and we can state that Concepts exist in a hierarchical network of multitudes of further concepts. Concepts are not only categories but subjective theories, and they contain implicit and explicit assumptions about objects and events. We can also note that Concepts are sub-structured internally by a network of subconcepts and externally in multi-relationship to other concepts.
The philosopher Wittgenstein noted that conceptual thinking is situation and domain dependent. Furthermore, we shall state that Concepts are defined by a certain set of layers of meaning as follows: Context – Syntax – Semantics – Pragmatics. And whilst concepts are not part of a formal logic, they may form a basis for logical thinking – or situational thinking, and in making practical explanations/predictions. Peter Gardenfors says that Concepts exist within Domains-of-Interest, and we shall adopt his approach here. Others such as Prof. Douglas Hofstadter focus on the fact that Concepts are analogous patterns of thought / metaphorical representations. We also note that Concepts can and do evolve and they normally interact with concepts within a broader context. The same concept can be used differently (or have wholly different meaning(s)) in different communities – which is a fundamental assumption of this paper.
A useful perspective is also provided by The Unified Concept Theory – which uses the term Frame for a combination of a Context, a Symbolic Space (limits meaning usage) and a Geometrical Space (or spaces – limits structural usage) – and a relation between them for a given context. Overall, it is our position that concepts are the fundamental units that allow processing of the main forms of human thought (that is the primary functions).
These 3 main cognitive processes are:
• The representation and processing of Ideas (ref. Concepts,Things, Principles)
• Conclusions (ref.Concepts,Things,Principles)
We also wish to include here goals and motivations – which are meeting of minds as fixed points in conceptual space(s).
A short summary seems useful at this point…
Despite an interesting foray into conceptualization; we are still left wondering what is a thought? Is there a fundamental atomic structure or building block for all types thinking? How can we model / represent thinking?
Many German philosophers have attempted to provide an answer – and have identified as the source – or ground – of all human thinking a triadic approach of: Thesis, Antithesis, Synthesis. For example, Charles Sanders Peirce identified all thinking procedures as taking the form of a specific triad of: Firstness, Secondness, Thirdness.
First is the conception of Being or a Thing existing independent of anything else. Second is the conception of being relative to, the conception of reaction with, something else. Third is the conception of mediation, whereby a first and a second are brought into relation.
Sometimes we also have a 4th conception identified which is the coherent / synthetic whole (sometimes inherent in Thirdness).
Going back to our idea that the mind reflects patterns present in the world – with the Concept Triad we now have a nice 3 part explanation of how we form mental patterns – high and low order ones – and on a variety of scales and metaphysical groundings. For example, we often think about Things existing in space and time; and in relation to multiple real-world structures/events. Our discussion provides a corollary with real world physics; because according to Buckminster Fuller, everything in the real world is related by chords and arcs – atomic units, and we have two basic approaches within such a model to explore physical explanations – being Conceptual and Morphological analysis. Things exist in situ – which is to say in an environment of other real things; so there are no causally isolated islands, cut off from all other realities. Things are, in every case, embedded in wider circumstances of determinate acts. To know a thing is to know, above all, its causal dependencies, which is to say, the ways in which its changes depend upon the changes in other real things (atomic structures).
But what about appearances and perceived states of things; why do people so often disagree or find differing judgements and viewpoints? Perhaps it is because appearances are not just states of things – but rational entities – in-and-of-themselves!
Each observer / thinker has a different degree of education, skill, knowledge, viewpoint and understanding etc. and differences of opinion sometimes are unavoidable. Ergo what differentiates one presentation from another is the viewers’ context!
It will be a key goal of our UKM to reduce the same disagreement to an absolute minimum through contextual linkage and hence improved knowledge/ truth. But of course this may only increase dissenter – or diversity of opinion/viewpoint! Nevertheless, what may be possible on the UKM is structured/ formalized methods of deciding a matter – based on more complete knowledge / informative data sets.
We can call on the great Karl Popper to help us to organize our proposed UKM. Popper compartmentalized reality into 3 worlds; firstly
• Products of the Human Mind
Accordingly our UKM, whilst ostensibly belonging to world 3; will need to represent, within itself, all the the other worlds. Plus in all 3 worlds, so-called Sense + Nous will both play a key role, only here (sometimes) for objects of the imagination as in fictional objects. Whereby the notion of sense may sometimes take on a strange role in World 2 – focussed on fictional objects viewed by the imagination! Regardless, in any thinking process we have Synthesis and Separation. And in a complex Thing – we normally have multiple overlapping conceptions – and these concern multiple happenings, or may be at; different scales, places, times, shapes, relationships etc; internally and externally – hence we have different Aspects or Facets which must be explained for anything in particular.
In relation to the process of clarification of the aspects of a Thing, we note that words (in general) have 2 functions – Conviction and Differentiation.
And it is normal to have grades of clarity and grades of certainty/truth on many aspects of anything in particular. Accordingly, we are led to ask, how can we improve our level of clarity/certainty for anything in particular? In partial answer, Buckminster Fuller suggested that like a scientist, the logical thinker would employ principles to aid thinking processes.
A Principle is a statement of generalized relationship. – Buckminster Fuller
Everything is relationship (that we know of) – and knowledge is acquired by forming a general concept from a number of acts of perception.
So all knowledge is acquired through:
• Collection • Division
Use of principles avoids obtaining multiple identical views of the same thing (i.e. mistaking a universal relation as a particular) – and mistaking one thing for another (incorrect or very slow perception/classification). A principle is established as a set of relations between entities – and for Fuller principles of the universe are at right angles to each other – so they do not interfere – by design.
Principles are Concepts that apply universally.
The problem becomes one of identifying principles and finding instantiations of them in the world (or one of the so-called ‘Six Worlds’ – see below); and hopefully there will be far fewer principles (universals) than particular relations – facilitating rapid conceptualization of real world situations.
In a related manner, Aristotle introduced 3 main methods with which to study reality, as follows:
A) Firstly as imported from Plato, the identification and separation of Universals from Particulars – whereby for Aristotle – individuals are undefinable – and only definitionofspeciesandgenusarepossible;secondly
- B) Separation of reality into 10 Modes of Being = Substance, Quantity, Quality, Relation, Place, Time, Position, State,Acting, Being Acted Upon; and finally:
- C) A full and logical explanation of Cause and Effect – whereby he split existence into the potential and the actual – which are for him wholly relative terms.We note that for Plato and Aristotle we normally have an actual telos to explain Things (purely directive processes) – hence final and ultimate causes. For both thinkers, a Thing may be potential / actual; and a Thing is defined by Induction / Definition; and a Thing is always a Compound – consisting of a substratum (Matter) + Form (Eidos). Accordingly from Plurality / Continuity we identify 4 Causes as follows: – A) Material, 2) Efficient (agent), 3) Formal (form or pattern departs from normal understanding), and 4) Final or end in view.
What seems clear from Aristotle is that the
Universe operates under a set or series of Teleological force(s) – [end-purpose(s) or goal(s)]; and everything comes to be as a result of the 4 causes – henceforth everything either is an origin or has an origin – because only the unlimited has no origin. How then do we recognize a Thing that may not yet have occurred?
According to Aristotle..
There are 4 ways to recognize a thing by:
• Proprium (Attribute) • Genus
A Substance for Aristotle has: • Essence
• Substratum or Subject.
Hence for Aristotle, Being is: • Actual
• Accidental • Essential
For Aristotle also, perishing is changing from one mode of being to another via the Elements of Thought, and we can describe all change using Terms (words), Propositions (combinations of terms), and Inferences (combined propositions). We can relate such an approach to modern Physics, and to the Substance and Attribute approach – whereby we have Elements plus Strata; and accordingly Bodies may be limited – internally or externally – and all things have both unity and difference – inherent in their nature.
As in the modern theories of Physics, Chemistry and Biology; for Aristotle everything changes – only at faster or slower rates (sometimes very slow); and there is no permanence to the world of particulars.
But for the Ancient Greeks the Universe does have a degree of permanence – encapsulated within the so-called Unity of Being. We can identify this with the Greek words for Arche – and Apeiron – a permanent ground of being – the one substance behind everything. Whereby the Arche surrounds all things, includes all things, and is the directive force behind all; which is Apeiron (unlimited) – a name for the unnamed bundles of substance of everything. Aristotle separated his analysis of Being into 2 kinds: Primary Substance or individuals, named as that which cannot be predicated of a subject, nor is present in any subject – for example individual man. He also introduced the notion of a Secondary substance – Form – for example the Genus of Man the animal. Overall within the Greek approach, we can identify 2 kinds of knowledge – A) knowledge of fixed Forms (Universals) and B) knowledge of the temporary real world instantiated as Things/Particulars.
Our discussion of thinking has been necessarily brief, but wide-ranging, Yet many questions remain – and we do not seem to be close to generating an adequate theory of human cognition. Ergo, and unfortunately, within our short discussion of human thinking processes, much remains unclear.
For example, how do we humans distinguish between the universal aspects of sentences and the – particular references (which are real space objects / processes that are truly existent and time-bound)?
Concepts are (normally) referents – in relation to physical objects – for example. But how does a referent capture Being – surely there will always be aspects that escape such a representation/process.
Being is infinite; but concepts are not.
Another problem relates to representation language(s). Texts can have verbal, numerical and geometrical levels – but how is it possible link the same?
We have 3 basic approaches to concepts as follows:
• Phenomenological • Social
But how is it possible to reconcile these – or to overlay concepts one from region another. Indeed is this even possible? Perhaps it is useful at this stage in our discussion to look at the Forms or Ideas (universals) that Plato so eloquently wrote about.
5.1 Universals / Particulars
The World (Universe) is a seething mass of things / relations – or patterns. These patterns when existent in space/time are commonly referred to as Particulars. Some of these patterns / particulars are rapidly changing in space and time; and some are more slowing changing in space and time; whilst other patterns change so slowly that they appear to be completely static – but all are particulars. All of these patterns exist in the real world (ostensibly) – and operate according to the laws of the Universe – or Forms as named by Plato – which (normally) appear to be so fixed as to be eternal – or existing permanently. The Forms do not exist in space time and are named as Universals; and represent the underlying tendency of the world to bring things / relations (real world Particulars) into Being in terms of wholly predictable / repeatable and identical patterns.
The Forms are in some unknown way wholly fixed – in that they always are identical to themselves when instantiated – and magical or new / changed Forms are never allowed. In summary, the Laws of the Universe (which are often expressed mathematically) – can be / (according) to Plato expressed in terms of Ideas or Forms – which are internally self-consistent, singular ‘patterning’ tendencies for real world things, events and processes.
The human mind attempts to identify structure in the seething mass of things / relations – and to locate useful patterns so as to be able to understand, shape and and hence to predict future events and happenings. All happenings occur according to the rules of nature (Physics) which exist in terms of Universal Forms – and these Forms come about – we know not how. There are arguments about the Forms separate existence (Plato) or immanence (Aristotle) for example.
But nobody can deny that Forms – or physical / mathematical laws – seem to be behind everything that comes to be – or is allowed to exist in physical terms.
Put simply, the ways in which things do exist is wholly fixed and no room for variation is allowed in terms of the atomic particulars – which go to make up everything else (the sub-atomic particles such as Quarks etc) which are always and ever ruled by certain fixed forms of becoming. Ergo the universe is comprised – or comes to be – wholly according to the dictates of certain fixed universals (Forms).
An important point is that most of the Ancient Greeks seem to agree that all things change ((Heraclitus) – or at least that real-world things or particulars do – and accordingly that knowledge is only possible for things that do not change (a constantly changing thing without any fixed rule of change would be wholly chaotic).
Ergo, it seems obvious that the world must be operating according to certain fixed laws (or universals) if anything can be identified as a thing in any way whatsoever. Knowledge, to be possible, has to be of things that in some sense do not change (universals). Therefore if the world is not pure chance – we must study the universals that are behind all the apparent changes. All is fixed in Form – whether humans are able to recognize a Particular in such terms or not. Particulars do not ever stand alone! Forms are in things as much as they are anything remote.
But the human mind is limited in both powers of perception or recognition and comprehension (and especially in a real time sense). Ergo rather than examining all of the particulars for any particular space / time region (and accordingly extracting the Forms on each and every occasion) – humans have attempted to identify and record the underlying laws or rules (the universal Forms) that lie behind the apparent confusing complexity of the real world.
All of the patterns (things, relations) that exist in any space time region happen according to these laws and nothing can happen otherwise. The laws are fixed but refer to both the relatively permanent things / relations (planets revolving around sun) – and also the rapidly changing things / relations (waves breaking on a beach). The mind can grasp the Forms operating by means of analogy or direct recognition – and by recognizing previously identified Forms which have their pattern or structure already recognized and understood – ipso-facto.
This process of Form recognition enables rapid perception and understanding – and as a result can be conceptualized in another way altogether – as a description / explanation of how we humans are able to think in any efficient way whatsoever.
Regardless of the fact that the universal aspects seem to be (in another sense) mind-bound Forms – we must also admit that for knowledge of anything to be possible – we must seek and find a certain degree of stability in natural objects of contemplation. In terms of a knowledge system – the underlying logical atoms or thinking components – must be themselves highly stable in form, structure and meaning.
We must conclude that – from the perspective of
logical discussion – that the contrary Forms (ie relative
big/small quality) do have a real imminence – no
matter whether you are follower of Plato or Aristotle
etc (e.g.Things (which are infinitely divisible) only apparently have
character: one, many—contrary characters depending on perspectives.). However the Forms are normally ‘mixed’
for any real world situation or granulated, atomized and combined. And the Forms may be imperfectly represented in a Particular – for example a circle form mixed with a square Form to give a rounded square.
Yet the human mind may only recognize a small number of the Forms present – and certain aspects will always remain un-perceived or unrecognized / perceptively or be cognitively missed altogether. The fact that the Forms tend to cohere together (come in groupings and genus/species arrangements) – further speeds up recognition and comprehension of real world Particulars. One could also recognize a situation whereby a real world Particular corresponded with an unknown Form that humans had not previously identified; and also situations whereby a Form is not recomposed in a specific assembly of Particulars. Both of these situations would give rise to a certain fuzziness in terms of understanding of any thing / relation – whereby black or unperceived areas in the view of reality are evident. Undeniably, words and sentences are universals – in and of themselves – and a sentence itself is fixed as a referent. But the referred to may be universal or particular.
Names are ossification / compression / coding of reality – they have lost all the life of the particular. We must perceive and represent reality wholly in terms of universals / analogies.
Is this why Plato concentrates on nouns as opposed to verbs? Knowledge can only be of universals that do not change. Another question arises. How do we distinguish between universal aspects of sentences and the particular references (time-bound)? What about at the level of things / particulars. Whenever we make a statement or note fact; how do we represent a particular using only universals – do we not lose truth/ knowledge. How do we recognize / split apart direct versus indirect knowledge. More on these questions later on – but unfortunately we may not have the answers – only questions!
In summary – the many issues surrounding universal and particulars bring up central questions in relation to both the nature and structure of the real; and the validity of human thinking and its relation to the real. Whilst we cannot answer such difficult metaphysical questions in this short essay, we do recognize that rigid procedures are required to address or at least to cope with attendant problems.
5.2 Knowledge Itself
Associated with each act of consciousness is a horizon of possible further experiences of the same object. According to phenomenologist Prof. Edmund Husserl the object is a complex of noemata – or perceptual events. The stream of consciousness is so rich and complicated that it must be parsed into acts, parts and moments, in a variety of different ways – and this is the task of phenomenology. We note that this technique is similar to the methods of ontology which relates to object categories such as property, relation, manifold, part, whole, state, existence etc.
We had previously mentioned the problems of grades-of-clearness / grades-of-obscurity in relation to conceptualization of reality – and here it is useful to note that the original meaning of Form or Idea / Eidos (Plato) is ‘visible form’. Henceforth speaking of clarity, in relation to ideas or conceptions, seems to be at the very least a useful metaphor.
Are all concepts visual? Or are all concepts strictly related-to/encapsulated-as visual ideas?
Concepts are quite naturally organized, in both an internal (structural) and external (usage) sense. Consider a redwood forest. Should we think of cells, trees, branches, or leaves as individuals or all of them? Are trees defined by trunks or by connected root systems? Are the individuals thought of as having a history, or should we think of instantaneous states of things as the basic units? And so on and so on. Are these alternative ways to carve up the world – or real boundaries between systems? And what about the levels of analysis – how do we move between levels, and represent interconnections and relations etc.
Our proposed UKM will need to store facts, datums, stories, opinions, histories etc; and in the form of text, logic, mathematics, images, movies etc. But who will enter all this information? Answer – everybody will, just as happened with the Web. Only in this case we wish to preserve and stabilize links – that is make them immortal, and vitally we must not lose the links / sources or the objects linked to.
Put simply the UKM will be a truth machine representing and reflecting to human kind everything known. Truth may be said to be a judgement, calculation or reduction of reality. In a sense truth carries no information itself – it gives no information on shape or the multi-dimensional aspects of knowledge; but rather truth is a net drawn across reality. Truth may be said to be a category – but not a container – for meaning; because truth is typically a binary yes/no value assigned to anything in particular.
Accordingly our UKM must also somehow hold the actual shape of things (including metaphysical things) – or map content itself seen apart from logical judgements – being information related to relations, being, existence, pattern etc. In other words provide a one-to-one image of reality.
What does it mean to hold content as well as truth? Perhaps only that we must compose and combine multi-dimensional views of things – to see concepts and hierarchies of concepts; and in terms of Syllogistic, Hypothetical and Disjunctive truths.
But vitally we must seek to store relations or thirdness. Human knowledge has internal and external aspects. Some of the ideas in our minds relate to – or point to – external reality and attempt to produce an accurate image of – or to mirror objects in – the real world. Ergo, visual, geometrical and shape/process/situational/ perspectival knowledge is essential in addition to the logical atoms of true/false predicate logic.
As stated earlier, cognitative scientists such as Gardenfors, say that we form images of our internal mental relations and study their combinations and structures – partially visually or geometrically – and some of these spatially determined relations may be wholly imaginary or unrelated to external reality!
Human judgements – at the core – come down to questions of Difference; Identity; and Unification – where we attempt to perceive the boundaries and relationships between structures – and then to perceive unified objects. Many of these same concepts may emerge from early childhood learning and be spatial in nature – at least analogically. Once again we are talking of patterns – and of how one area of the universe/ mind is connected-to and/or influences other areas.
We may ask to what extent can one thing influence, act upon or even ‘know’ / remember another thing. Once again, we ask, are not all things spatially grounded – as in Physics? What is the alternative to spatiality – indeed can there even be an alternative? Perhaps it is true that the physical is the source of all. But how then do humans get a handle on causality – when most of the causes lie beyond our space/time horizon(s) – grounded in a multitude of countless causative events going far back in time for example?
The trouble is that reality is complex; mind- bogglingly so – and it is very difficult – if not often impossible – to perceive all the relevant relationships, processes and the cascading effects of all the events that are ongoing/have-occurred; or potentially will be occurring at any future point in space/time.
Accordingly, we ask: How is knowledge obtained on the UKM, where, when and how is it saved and recalled for later use. How do we combine our datums? What are the limits of the known? How do we make distinctions between the general and the specific/particular? What are the limits of language? How do we recognize a system / object / class – and the inside of one thing from its outside. What about time, change, modes and processes – how are these to be represented.
Knowledge evolves, but should the system remember this evolution in full? Who specifies the boundaries of knowledge – spatial/ temporal (projected/real/imagined)? Perhaps we can begin by stating that every enquiry is a kind seeking – which is guided by who is doing the seeking, when and where, what is his knowledge level in relation to the issue, and what are the tools that he has available to him. Normally we have Entities (Things/Concepts/ Principles) that exist in space/time and within a particular Domain or Plane-of-Being. There may be a discovery aspect to this process – and you normally look for quantifiable objective things existing in specific environments or on particular topologies or planes of the real and/or imaginary. We must make a distinction between opinions, variants and facts – and real or unreal – but normally within a particular logical region – or known world- plane of existence upholding a domain of being.
It is my belief that we should not attempt to build one great mash-up of everything and anything – whereby each item of knowledge can be placed in context with anything else whatsoever. No, this is not sensible, practical; and neither, it is my belief, will such a system be actually useful. That is what the Web is – a heap of largely unconnected, flat and hidden plus lumpy units of data – where linkage, partition, aggregation etc; plus the usage, history and complex lineage of ideas cannot even be represented.
Rather we seek to find those proper and rightful contexts for each and every item. For each a place and everything in its proper place; and desired is a centralized organization of all knowledge – such that items are universally classified, but may be globally linked and visible/accessible to all.
5.3 Planes of Being (B-MACHINE)
Our discussion has highlighted the existence of multiple BEINGS (Things/Concepts/Principles), Domains-of-Being; plus Universals and Particulars etc. And all existing within different life-spans/ metaphysical-worlds etc; within a huge variety of usage contexts. The universe is also identified as Teleion – a complete whole; or in other words a cosmos. Being itself may also be said to be continuous and indivisible; and we can identify a fundamental Unity of Being – whereby despite the apparent possibility of Identity and Segregation – certain universal features can be recognized that cannot be separated out from the particulars.
According to Plato we have 3 different kinds of Being as follows:
1) Being itself,
2) Non-Being itself and
3) A 3rd state wallowing between being and on-being – which is labelled as A) opinion; B) knowledge and C) Ignorance.
One could nominate these varieties of Being – as a Separation/Opposition of Being versus Seeming. Whilst Being itself consists ofCombination and Separation. Another way to state these facts is to say that..
The science of Being relates to the:
• Particular and General; • FormandMatter;and
• Mover and Moved;
And to each region there corresponds a regional ontology with a series of self-limiting regional sciences. Earlier we referred to this as what Gardenfors calls regions – or Concept Spaces. But how do we relate seeming spatial metaphors for the nature of Being; to the more logical and word- based systems? (a central problem for any UKM)
For example, Gottlob Frege identifies the primacy of the sentence and complete thoughts over their components; and he seems to relegate Being or existence (and intuitive Firstness) to a second place assumption.
But how do we bring geometry/spatial/relational concepts into accord with logic and language?
Perhaps we can turn to the East for a little help in this regard. Firstly, we have the 3 Gunas of Indian thought, respectively: 1) Idea, 2) its Spoken Form and 3) Created Form – or Yantra. There are also 3 fundamental layers of Indian thought – 1) Sattva (beingness), 2) Rajas (activity), 3) Tamas (darkness).
Within a related Indian view ideas may represent:
• Qualities • Relations • Activities
This approach closely maps to our previous discussion of Western concepts. For Eastern thinkers also the world is a graduated structure; permeated by concepts such as Unity and Duality, the One and the Many, Change and the Static, Self and Universe, Real and Imaginary (perceived real).
As in the West – thinking often equals memory, ideas plus knowledge of actual Things. We also see permeating everything concepts similar to the Dhamma; which in Hinduism signifies behaviors that are considered to be in accord with rta, the fundamental order that makes life and universe possible. Accordingly, Dhamma includes duties, rights, laws, conduct, virtues and the ‘right way of living’; which is tied also to the 4 senses – 1. texts, 2. quality (Guna), 3. case (hetu), 4. unsubstantial and soilless.
The Eastern Khandhas body or psychological states instantiate another idea; which means ‘heaps, aggregates, collections and groupings’ – and so for ‘thirdness’ type relations as discussed above.
Here we have the five aggregates concept – that asserts 5 elements constitute and completely explain a living being’s mental and physical existence. The 5 aggregates are as follows:
Rupa (matter or body),
Vendanta (sensations or feelings),
Sanna (individual conceptual knowledge),
Sankhara (synthetic mental states and compound concepts etc),
The Khandhas provide an explanation of what is a ‘being’ itself – or the individual / particular Thing – which compliments the Buddhist doctrine of Anatta which asserts that all Things and Beings are without self.
Henceforth we have a ‘Meaning is in the Head’ philosophy in this aspect of Indian thought. Another interesting concept is Sattva – meaning Centripetal tendency or force; and Tamas – meaning Centrifugal tendency or force. One theory states that opposition between Sattva and Tamas is the source of all activity or Rajas (revolving tendency). We see a corollary here in the work of Buckminster Fuller – and his concept that everything relates to an in and out for things; as being both a destination and natural human tendency to map things thusly. The centripetal action is known as existence, which is a coming together or concentration of energy! In cosmology also the 3 qualities are envisaged as 1) Centripetal attraction (adana), 2) Centrifugal force (ukranti) and 3) Their equilibrium.
Overall, within both Eastern and Western approaches – we note that the possible universe of discourse between Concepts/Things is very large; and likewise the possible routes to the desired referent are large.
Some preliminary ones are:
• Spatial Relations
• Temporal Relations • Similarity
A Universal Knowledge Machine
• Causation – physical
• Causation – psychological or mental • Being the object of a mental state,
• Common complex relations
• Legal relations or belonging too
We notice 6 canons of relation in most systems as follows:
• Singularity • Expansion • Definition • Actuality
• Compatibility • Individuality
Within each similar universe – we assume that every referent has a fixed place in the whole order of reference! Some cognition experts name this as a Sign-Chain. We have a set of Concepts – or contracted symbols – shortcuts – linked to a structure of knowledge and dense networks of conceptual class relationships! But I would suggest that each set of concepts belongs to a specificREGION-OF-BEING – or Regions-of-Being. The question of how to organize all of these aspects on the UKM seems to be an essential challenge.
No one has created an interface that allows me to go through the different layers of abstraction from ideas to physical objects in all their layers of magnification (and combination / abstraction). Universals to particulars, wholes, parts, and relations few and many, scales big and small etc. – Kim Veltman
Compounding problems of organization – is the underlying problem of representing both universal and particulars; and also Being as a Potential and Being as an Actual (internal + external aspects).
Every sensible object is potentially a granulated compound of all these Planes of Being – at least on different occasions and at different times in a never- ending history – or Gordian Knot – of existence!
But I would like to suggest that the concept of Planes or Levels of Being or Existence can help us solve some of these problems.
What do I mean by the term Level-of-Reality or Plane-of-Existence? Only a similar idea to that expounded by Peter Gardenfors – when he talks of natural Domains on which specific sets of Concepts natural cohere, interact and exist within a bounded region of space/time causality and/or within an interrelated set of logical relations – such that when a concept has been assigned to a particular Plane-of- Being – then it must stay within certain prescribed limits in terms of behavior, relation and existence.
A Plane-of-Existence has certain laws of Concept assembly and Behavior which all contained Concepts must obey. The Plane may be Universal and/or Particular, and specify/allow hierarchical and/or parallel interconnection (universal) and/or real-world interaction (particular) between contained concepts. An identical concept may be re-used within multiple Regions (Planes or Levels) – in the form of inheritance or instantiation (UKM representation concepts) – but only if the region(s) in question so allows such existence and behaviors.
Ergo, on the UKM we can have multiple Levels of Reality – on Local / Global scales and with Hierarchical / Parallel ordered arrangements (mixed). Influenceable Things/Concepts (ref. including here events and processes) can then interrelate according to specific sets of logical rules and natural laws/principles.
Remember that for Aristotle there could be no progress that was not progress towards something – and he promulgated an emergent view of nature.
Aristotle’s 4 causes once again:
• Matter: a change or movement’s material “cause”, is the aspect of the change or movement which is determined by the material that composes the moving or changing things.
• Form: a change or movement’s formal “cause”, is a change or movement caused by the arrangement, shape or appearance of the thing changing or moving.
• Agent: a change or movement’s efficient or moving “cause”, consists of things apart from the thing being changed or moved, which interact so as to be an agency of the change or movement.
• End or purpose: a change or movement’s final “cause”, is that for the sake of which a thing is what it is. For a seed, it might be an adult plant. For a sailboat, it might be sailing. For a ball at the top of a ramp, it might be coming to rest at the bottom.
Accordingly, everything (each Thing) has its own Telos; to realize within itself, and by itself, the Form which it is intended to embody. Nature is essentially ever in progress towards a series of goals or end-states – and most are planned or happening according to the influence of universal laws. Within our Planes-of-Being conception we find that such Telos can be strictly instantiated; because this approach makes the same possible to embody as a specific teleological order (or rules of existence and relation). For example, we can identify Physics- based and Mathematical Planes-of-Being, with reusable concepts that retain behaviors from one level, but have metrics that may be re-used within an Engineering and /or Living Being plane etc.
The advantages of such an approach include focus on natural sets of relations, and delineated, ordered hierarchical / parallel conceptions that retain breadth and depth of relation in terms of inheritance of universal factors. Plus the approach lends itself to the building or re-use/building of ‘living’ regions of conceptual particularity – such as a model of an artificial blood circulatory system built upon multiple underlying biological systems (for example). Ergo, regions-of-being are not always mere imaginary patterns or useful ways to deal-with/represent reality – but on many occasions reflect an aspect of actuality faithfully – and in the form of boundaries that delimit existential happenings.
Overall, we note that every branch of knowledge simply involves – A) Causes and B) Principles! But all are marked off by a particular Genus / Plane of Being – and we should concern ourselves with that when building the UKM. All natural object likewise have an internal faculty of change – according to pre- existing pattern or form – but vitally within an internal – or inherited genus/species type logical arrangement – plus conceptual domain(s) or a series of possible conceptual domains! Popper spoke of three different kinds of reality; and we can usefully state that our UKM (the method of representation) must be able to represent a vast diversity of different kinds of entities emanating from each of the 3 worlds (i.e. the object(s) of contemplation).
Not all entities will match true and real-world existent objects/processes – and many may be magical/ phantasmagorical and/or mental/imaginary in form.
Yet we must seek ways to organize all kinds of entities in useful ways – noting that in general things saved into the system will be related to the real world in one way or another. For example, Ranganathan usefully classified the world in terms of five elements: Personality, Matter, Energy, Space, Time (or PMEST). Kim Veltman has referred to these PMEST items as the Facets of anything in particular.
Meaning is an activity taken up towards objects and energetically projected onto them like a particle or real world object. There are many structured and formal ways of so doing.
According to J.M.Perrault knowledge may be grouped into 3 relational aspects:
• Subsumptive – Relations perceived as Entities or things that are arranged into groupings of one type or another
• Determinative – Relations as Activities
• Ordinal Relations measured as Dimensions
Dahlberg introduced 4 kinds of Categorical Relations (EPAD):
• Properties • Activities
In terms of our proposed universal knowledge machine – we can perhaps focus on representing any item in terms of the 4 entities – and by means of the standard approach of Thought, Symbol and Referent – whereby each of the 4 category relations may be an real world referent (or concept) in one of the 3 worlds of Popper. However our approach is to build multiple, complex and self-explanatory: Regions or Planes-of-Being within which groups of Concepts/Things can reside.
And finally we can identify that the Levels, Planes or Regions-of-Being (aka the so-called Being or B- Machine), within which the connects reside; accordingly sorted onto a vast number of related spaces. Henceforth we can identify some fundamental Planes in which all the others are to sit; and we could (for example) go with the typical Vedantic conception of:
• Quanta • World • Body
• Being (ultimate reality)
In any case on the UKM, the atomic nature of knowledge, plus the fact that the B-Machine is purely metaphysical in conception (i.e. it has no physical representation/parts) – does facilitate re-use of concepts and also foster the development of multiple structures on knowledge – or infinite view(s) (not necessary complimentary ones). This is the flexibility of atomism – nothing is imposed – but only suggested.
Let us now fix our terminology in order to represent Things (summary pattern(s) consisting of one or objects, processes etc), which represent (or refer to) particular instantiations of either a Real World, Imaginary, or Logical Object/Process (a relatively stable or fixed pattern of something).
We can say that a Thing may have any one of 4 types of definition according to Dahlberg. A Concept (or Thing) is a Group or Pattern of (Object(s) and Processes(s)) related according to a ‘bundle’ – or set of Subsumptive, Determinative and Ordinal Relations – namely the SDO Relations; and each one’s Existence is defined in terms of Abstraction, Partition, Oppositional and Functional pieces (APOF partitions).
A particular Entity will contain both internal and external – Relational (SDO) and Existential (APOF) properties; and these may be essential (permanent) or temporary / contingent properties.
Henceforth a Concept is a Pattern of (Internal + External) Relations (4 Categorical) defined by the 4 Existence Definitions; [Abstraction, Partition, Opposition and Functional]. Concepts may be Abstract or Instantiated (A Thing) – that is Universal or Particular. We can usefully state that a Concept may exist on a Level-of- Being (LOB); whereby the LOB defines the Boundary and Rules of Existence (ROE) for the same; and accordingly sets the logical principles/properties of Existence and Relation that may exist within the specific pattern.
Cutting through this analysis are the PMEST facets which seem to bring in the notion of Ends or Causes for any particular Thing and how it may exist in any way whatsoever.
There are really 4 views on Being as follows:
A) Kant’s view that Being is not a real predicate (that which is predicted or said of the object – the second term of a proposition). Ergo a concept and instantiated Thing cannot exist in a real-world level of Being; and
B) Aristotle’s view that for a particular region of Being it shall define or construct: 1) Whatness; 2) Essence and 3) Existence; plus
C) Modern view of Being, which is that Being relates either to the Being of Nature or the Being of Mind; and
D) The Being of copula or ‘is’. According to Gehler there are 3 kinds of Being: 1) Inner World; 2) Apparent World and 3) Real World.
Here we shall focus on Being as in the 3 worlds of Popper (ref Veltman’s Six Worlds also). Accordingly, we shall assume that it is not only real world or physical objects that may make up a LOB; but also that mental and metaphysical objects and there relations (real or imaginary) may comprise one also.
Furthermore it is not only sense data and the significance of objects or concepts (Things) that go on to form a system of relations – but also we include Living and/or Inanimate systems and their combinations; plus World 3 objects such as Media and their contained knowledge units.
For any Concept (or Thing) that lives in a specific LOB – we define a serious of elements that has meaningful relations with the rest (internal to a particular LOB). The LOB may be said to make up a logically related and articulated whole. In all likelihood within one LOB, there will be Anchoring Relations that bring Integration, and Synthesis type Relations that bring Existence factors into being.
Put simply, for a LOB; the contained or potentially existent operating Concepts – bring Things into existence or into relation within the LOB such that one Thing may affect or determine space/time/logical/structural/existential outcomes for other Things within the same LOB. Alternatively one Thing may be a perceived ‘Unit-of-Value’ for another within a LOB. Within all of this the LOB has inner and outer relations with other LOB’s and/ or there specific contained Things. We can have windows within a LOB – and LOBs; which can be arranged into classes of Abstraction or abstract relations, or be instantiated and exhibit a containment relation of one type of another. We can propose that everything known by humanity – exists on nested plains of Being – at least from the perspective of knowledge organization in the modern sense.
Example LOBs may be theatrical or practical, living or inanimate; abstract or instantiated, and real or imaginary. For example, we can have Physical LOBs (Physics, Chemistry, Mechanics, and Engineering ones) or Metaphysical (Geometry, Arithmetic, Languages, and Subject Disciples). Whole subject areas will comprise multiple nested LOBs – obviously in turn comprising many thousands – or even millions – of contained mini or sub-LOBs.
So we can say that a LOB represent a coherent whole – or a mini-universe in which an item and its instantiations may exist. Some Concepts and Things may exist on 2 or more LOBs identically; but normally a Concept with any degree of complexity is limited in terms of the number of LOBs it will and can reside upon. LOBs can be arranged in various ways – for example we may have the following LOBs – Living Being, Mammal, Human, Circulatory and Muscular Systems etc.
At each level different concepts become possible or impossible. For canonical type systems (for example) from the Mammal concept down we have blood corpuscles playing an important (but slightly different) role. The key aspect of a LOB is that it defines the limits of behavior – plus existence and relation – for contained Things. Behaviors normally include causal relations with other Things on the same LOB.
A LOB defines a bundle of particular ‘modes’ of knowledge / Being – whereby we can have abstract LOBs mixed in various ways with instantiated LOBs. For example we might talk about a particular instance of an LOB as a specific bridge across a river; whereby the Bridge LOB contained not only LOBs at the micro scale of physical structure – but also engineering design LOBs and Weather Related Pattern LOBs – and all representing related principles working together to deliver the ‘Bridginess’ behavior for passing vehicles and humans. Some experts such as Kant speak about the conditions of knowledge – the first A) one being a need for a-priori concepts – which are created and existing prior to analysis; establishing fundamental rules for knowledge organization – and the second B) is a type of rule – or the experimentation with tests to establish fixed rules of a particular theory.
Now within our scheme we can think of a LOB as a holding ground for both conditions – and for any specific mode of knowing – including particular and/or universal objects and processes.
Put simply, we have a spatial and temporal synthesis for an LOB; or if it contains subjective and metaphysical factors – then these accordingly obey relevant logical principles of arrangement and change.
In Buddhist philosophy, 5 Categories of Being are recognized, including:
• RightKnowledge • Suchness
Whereby appearances are discriminated by the sense organs, then reified by naming, so that words are taken for things and symbols are used as the measure of reality. Similar entities are required on a LOB to represent objects and there symbols plus referents. Put simply, a LOB unites Concepts and Things (instantiated Concepts) by proximity in space-time or else by class/purpose.
A concept may be united with another concept simply by ‘exploring’ it using perception/ language/media/memory etc; or by logical analysis – syntax or semantically – or simply from a story etc. Accordingly we have 3 substrates, space, time and thought or mind.
Being has 2 modalities – Essence and Existence. Knowledge has 3 forms – 1) Matter (objects/ processes); 2) Form (Mind) and 3) Cosmos (pure form). Within such a world-view, context changes the meaning(s) of thoughts – in terms of organization, structure and direction or end.
Ergo, we have:
• Logical Truth (proposition, object, subject, predicate) – or relations amongst Things or Facts; and
• Ontological Relations (property, relation, manifold, part, whole, state, existence).
With respect to a Thing – we can have 3 classes of stimuli (and these are the sense factors) –
Different magnifications/minifications and arguments and directions of comparison or difference then become possible as a result of the B-Machine.
5.4 Connections and Links (Connection – C-MACHINE)
A capacity for Layers, Spans and Regions of knowledge – vertical hierarchies – and parallel planes of information – can get us only so far. We need information to be atomically and manually connectable in a myriad of different useful, practical and meaningful ways. Common practical difficulties with living human concepts include vagueness, ambiguity, flexibility, context dependance, and evolution and the problem of how similarity comes about. Many of these problems can be solved or helped by instantiating appropriate relations – through topically organized omni-linked connections of various kinds – including logical, geometric and network connections. In terms of ontological questions – there are two divergent approaches to semantics – or the science of meaning – as follows: 1) Realism – Frege and Plato; and 2) Conceptualism – where meaning is in head. However as stated, we reject both approaches (as a binary / dualistic falsehood) and postulate connectionism as a solution – combined with the appropriate computation of pattern in the form of connection, shape and order.
In our view the design of a UKM is a choice – between the overly narrow perspectives offered by the Web, caused by ‘overly lumpy’ and impoverished and largely disconnected knowledge units; versus a full-blown atomic network in which any object may be connected to any other (within reason) – plus any overlaid forward and backward omni-links can be created in any ways indicated by the underlying meaning patterns – rendering complex and meaningful ordering for every single data atom.
Buckminster Fuller made a salient point in relation to the approaches of specialization versus generalization; that strongly relates to the disconnectionism that is the result of monolithic (un-atomic) systems.
Specialization has bread feelings of isolation, futility, and confusion in individuals. It has also resulted in the individual’s leaving responsibility got thinking and social action to others. Specialization breeds biases that ultimately aggregate as international and ideological discord, which in true, leads to war… General systems science discloses the existence of minimum sets of variable factors that uniquely govern each and every system. Lack of knowledge concerning all the factors and the failure to include them in our integral imposes false conclusions. Let us not make the error of inadequacy in examining our most comprehensive inventory of experience and thoughts regarding the evoluting affairs of humanity… There is an inherently minimum of essential concepts and current information, cognizance of which lead to our operating our planet Earth to the lasting satisfaction and health of all humanity. – Buckminster Fuller
A key idea in any knowledge system must be the Principle of Unity – the formation of a hierarchy of topological places in which it is the whole system that becomes the anchor, ground and often source of new knowledge. Synergy means behavior of whole systems unpredicted by the behavior of their parts taken separately. Synergy brings behaviors of integral, aggregate, whole systems, unpredicted by behaviors of any of the components or subassemblies of their components taken separately from the whole. An example might be when searching for the idea of God – one might like to see aggregates of all the ways in which the term has been used across everything known, written or even alluded to.
But this is precisely what you cannot do with the Web or Wikipedia. I would suggest that humanity has been deprived of comprehensive understanding – by specialists and narrow isolated viewpoints – as a result.
Buckminster Fuller speaks of partially overlapping experiences of partially overlapping events and processes – and as a result it is not possible to contemplate / study deeply unless you have overlaid parallel links stored separately from the content that may be topologically organized in any way desirable (ref. Nelson).
We also obtain similar conclusions when we consider the nature of a sign. A sign context has 1) general constitutive characters and 2) a uniting relation. All signs exist in a context – at least when used – and a context is a set of activities (things or events) related in a certain way. The uniting relation might include proximity in space and time etc. But if we are not able to (potentially) see all of the different contexts in which a sign is used (aka the object referred to) – then how can we say that we fully understand that same sign or its pointed to object(s). I would suggest that we do not.
An example might be when I am doing some housework – that is re-painting a wall – and my wife asks me if I need the hammer – and I say that I do not think so because I am not knocking in nails. So we don’t get the hammer out. But half way through the job – I suddenly realize that I do – in fact – need the hammer to dislodge some old metalwork in the wall. You can see from this example that we do not always know what the meanings of signs/concepts/ objects are in advance of usage. This is because they are fundamentally contextual/situational in terms of meaning – and thus meaning changes with use – and cannot always be foreseen in advance.
Contexts may have any number of members – and may be very complicated in structural relation! Concepts are also concept addressable – and this means that a partial activation of a concept may lead to its retrieval. Concepts obviously have components – and when a component of a concept is active, it may act as cue for the concept. The internal components of a concept also interact with each other. It may be an all or nothing relation. However concept membership is not always an all or nothing issue; an item may be a central or less central member of a concept (ref. targeting fuzziness problem).
Taxonomies of concepts typically contain a basic level of relation or standard sub-components etc.
But the organization of concepts also evolves and we may have changing internal and external properties for concepts (according to context of use). Concepts may exist in a variety of domains – for example within Conceptual Spaces, Thinking Spaces, Social Spaces, or more fundamental ones such as an Action Domain, Mathematical Domain, Engineering Domain, Shape Domain, Emotional Domain, Ego Domain etc. Planes-of-Being or domains may be overlaid and arranged and/or sorted in spacial ways – whereby in Physics for example shape space, plus temperature, color, weight, time space(s), and force space(s) etc; are the typical ones – and these are sorted into groups.
The domains are separate – but they are integral; and all domains are endowed with metrics – linear quality dimensions – and also other types of metrics possibly. Newtonian mechanics has 8 dimensions or domains – space, time, mass, force (for example). One concept typically happens across lots of domains; and it may happen differently upon each instantiation, usage or thinking reference. Remember a Concept refers to both a cognitive act and also a unit of knowledge. Regions of being for concepts will vary in terms of formality – for example mathematics would be one of the most formal, and playing a game with a 5 year old child – be one of the least formal.
Let us now take a step back, and in order to see what we have learned. In our ‘outer perception’ we have a sphere of knowledge and sphere of perception of the real (primordial experience of ourselves and the outer objects of perception). Real perceived objects (particulars) may be apparently constantly shifting in form and/or relation – where boundaries are constantly moving in a continuous fashion, but generalizations and universals are fixed and separated by by ‘jumpable’ or bridgeable ‘gaps’.
Note one example is continuous (direct perception) and another one is atomic or granular (identity/universals/classes).
Kant explained the understanding of forms of thinking – or the goal of logic – as the ‘theory of the three main essential functions of thinking – concepts, judgements and conclusions’. Application of these (and other) types of thinking procedures are what we are trying to improve with the UKM. We note that objects can be related to each other as wholes or parts, but they can also be related to one another as coordinated parts of a whole. The parts can be either independent or dependent with one another – for example within a simple object shape – properties may be dependent upon on one another or not. In another sense we can think of dependent or independent perception of the parts. Parts may be separable or inseparable.
Consistency and inconsistency may be the result of analysis. Understanding a word, concept or object comprehensively – may mean: knowing how it is used; being able to apply it.
Context representation and accessibility would include a mechanism for grouping, a mechanism for arranging according to contents of a package, and a mechanism for classifying the permissible operations on the information within the package. Remember that context of a term may be defined is as: 1) The basic meaning as a section of the linguistic text or discourse that surrounds some word or phrase of interest; and 2) The derived meaning as a nonlinguistic situation, environment, domain, setting, background, or milieu that includes some entity, subject, or topic of interest. Ergo context is all about situations, usage contexts and intentions – and for all parties / objects involved.
We can formally distinguish the various intuitive criteria for separating context:
• By syntax (grouping of signs),
• By Semantics (refers to something in terms of
meaning – what), and
• By Pragmatics (reasoning why the thing has been singled out or placed in a specific situation – relates to purpose / usage / why).
As stated, Context may be applied to a package of text, or alternatively to the information in the package, and still other Contexts to the thing the information is about – or to the possible uses of the information or thing!
And in our terms context is not just about linkage – but involves all the different kinds of relations that are possible – and it may for example involve Unified Concept Theory (Joseph Goguen) who uses the term FRAME for a combination of:
• Usage Context,
• A Symbolic Space,
• A Geometrical Space (or multiple spaces) and relation between them for a given context.
Context provides a degree of clarity in terms of the certain and the uncertain, the known and the unknown, and even the given and the (partially) missing. In a word – adequate specification and application of context fills in the gaps – and leads to improved understanding and enlightened decision making.
Remember how Aristotle had:
5 ways of speaking about anything –
- Differentia or that which distinguishes one species from another within a genus;
- Propria – a property os an attribute which is common to all member of a class,
- Accidentia – an attribute which may or may not belong to a subject.
All 5 dimensions can be involved in establishing context – or connection / relation between concepts.
Aristotle also defined 2 different kinds of ontologies..
• Hylomorphism – a doctrine that physical objects consist of matter and form.
Once again contextualization is essential for both types; because the process of producing new definitions – or exploring old ones – proceeds by extending existing definitions – and is known as differentiation or Derivation. The reverse process, by which just a part of an existing definition is used itself as a new definition is called Abstraction. Both processes require an adequate grounding of context – otherwise the wrong difference may be identified or by using the wrong commonality / source and/or destination concept for differentiation and/or abstraction. So context is essential in the realm of universals also.
Well thats about all I want to say in terms of connections and relations; apart from noting that whilst on the web you can connect any lump (web- page, document, image) to any other lump; but in a properly established local ontology, concepts can be connected wherever and whenever doing so makes logical sense in terms of both logical, particular or universal hierarchy and/or location on a Plane or Region of Being. On the Web/Wikipedia; universally established contexts are impossible to create; and links take you who knows where – which Nelson calls blind jump-links into the deep – or who-knows-where! We get no linkage hints on destination properties/classes/attributes here.
A fundamental question arises. How can we humans vastly improve our knowledge repositories?
Knowledge grows by a combined and continuous – procedure of abstraction, analysis and synthesis of recognized Concepts/Things/Events. And in order to optimize such processes all three areas must be integrated together and hence be re-usable/re- composable in every which way imaginable. Only a centrally organized micro-thought/datum based UKM can foster the necessary fine-tuned/grained and multi- level cohesion/integration and linkage that is required.–
5.5 An Atomic Network
As a partial solution to some of the issues discussed above, we have developed the idea of an atomic network. An atomic network is the polar opposite of a centralized or cloud network. It effectively provides a ‘save’ and ‘load’ function for the Internet, and provides for an indestructible public data type that cannot be controlled/owned and lives forever. Let us examine how such a theoretical network might work.
Let us assume that network members are scattered across the Internet, that is they are located on different IP (Internet Protocol) addresses and some may be behind Network Address Translation devices (NATs). Furthermore, each network member has a special client program on his personal computer or mobile device. Next we provide the following system actions; save and load, based on a unique data unit identifier. When the user chooses an atom (data unit), and saves it to the network, it is automatically given a unique identifier, an owner identifier and a member-specific key and/or password if it is private. Now what the client program does next (upon save) is interesting (and unique), it “atomises” the data unit to the network. The item is split into many thousands of tiny pieces (atoms) which are then disseminated across the network as a whole. There are many, many copies of each piece (data atom) which are saved on many remote computers hard drives, for later retrieval at an unspecified time. Data atoms are encrypted according to the key for the data unit as whole. Next when the owner (or key / password holder) chooses to load (or retrieve) the data unit from the network, then the owner’s client knows how to request from the network all of the constituent atoms, re-assemble them and so to reproduce the data unit. Note that network members agree to reserving part of their computer disc for other people’s data “atoms”.
As an aide, a related idea is to enable construction and use of Generic Focussed Pointers [GFS] (somewhat related to Nelson’s Flinks); which provide direct and generic links into a specific region (i.e. paragraph) within (for example) a pdf document, or a link to a specific and fully delineated region inside a web-page, image or movie. Each FS would ideally be immortal (just like – for example – the ‘atomized’ data suggested here).
Going back to the atomic network idea; you now have a robust way of backing-up and sharing items using the link identifiers for the data unit. When another network member’s client requests such a link, a “torrent” of constituent data “atoms” is sent to that client (from all across the network), until such time as the data unit has been fully reconstructed. Every network member’s computer is now a data- atom server! And a sufficient “stock” of identical copies of each data atom (perhaps 100’s) is automatically maintained according to continuous network maintenance tasks.
One now asks the question, what has been achieved with such an atom network? Firstly data is effectively immortal and indestructible, and relies on the unbreakable redundancy provided by massive distribution and replication of hundreds of identical atoms across many separate network locations. And the robustness of the network increases with number of network members (computers to store atoms upon). Other key advantages include no longer having central servers; and this is environmentally friendly and brings security advantages. Additionally data save/loading speeds are much faster (i.e. no central server upload times and torrent-like data atom transfers).
We also note that the UKM will be a continually developing (i.e expanding) system; and ways must be found to organize / classify / produce: Emergent Knowledge. 
5.5 UKM – Construction and Growth
Let us recap. We established that Concepts are densely stitched together through relationships of similarity and context. And also that Concepts exist in a multi-dimensional space – somewhat like separate points in space/time; however around each point there is halo that accounts for the vague, blurry, and flexible quality of the concept.
We stated that all our concepts from the grandest to the humblest, have the same quality of being partially hidden from view but partially unpack-able on request, and the unpacking process is repeatable, several steps up/down. Concepts modify each other – for example the concept of a hub and airplane – and context/relation is how.
Fourth International Conference in Multimedia, Information and Visualization for Information Systems And Metrics Seville, Spain 26-28th January 2017 (Expanded and Evolving Paper)
A Universal Knowledge Machine
According to Douglas Hofstadter:
Each concept in our mind owes its existence to a long succession of analogies made unconsciously over many years, initially giving birth to the concept and continuing to enrich it over the course of our lifetime. Furthermore, at every moment of our lives, our concepts are selectively triggered by analogies that our brain makes without letup, in an effort to make sense of the new and unknown on terms of the old and known.
How the human mind combines and uses concepts is at present largely unknown. But we do have some idea of how this might happen by a process of Conceptual Integration – sometimes called blending or mental binding. According to this view we develop a network of mental spaces or domains – including contributing spaces and thus forming a blended cognitive space. Metaphors are used to structure preserving mappings (partial homomorphisms) between conceptual domains. It is interesting to ponder how we are able to separate truth from fiction within such a framework.
We do so in terms of the concept of Belief; where we have 5 separate cases as follows:
- Being sure and being right on evidence that is not conclusive
- Being sure and being right on evidence that is conclusive
Accordingly it appears that when we are seeking truth by comparing and contrasting several conceptual domains – we can do so by a process of existence and negation within a type of geometrical space that represents true/false polarities across multiple dimensions that are effectively at right angles to each other in the combined conceptual space.
The famous Philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein said that we humans don’t start from certain words, but from certain occasions or activities.
When I think in language, there aren’t any ‘meanings’ going through my mind in addition to the verbal expressions: the language is itself the vehicle of thought. Many words… then don’t have a strict meaning. But this is not a defect. To think it is would be like saying that the light of day of my reading lamp is no real light at all because it has no sharp boundary. – Frege compares a concept to an area and says that an area with vague boundaries cannot be called an area at all. This presumably means that we cannot do anything with it.-But is it senseless to say: ‘Stand roughly there’? If a pattern of life is the basis for the use of a word then the word must contain some amount of indefiniteness. The pattern of life, after all, is not one of exact regularity. – Ludwig Wittgenstein
Different linguistic levels tend to interact and merge; including: morpho-lexical, syntactic, semantic (or contextual), and cognitive (or epistemic). And all levels are nested! The former 3 levels belong to the ‘linguistic surface levels of communication’.
A question arises. How can we provide universal thinking methods/aids – that helps us humans to create, view and use these different linguistic levels appropriately and usefully?
Evidently, as suggested in this paper, we can use relational and geometrical constructs to hep us to organize, structure and visualize our conceptual structures and so to manage attendant objects within properly defined Planes-of-Being/Existence.
Overall, it appears that Ted Nelson’s concepts of Hypertext and Transclusions, plus Emanuel Goldberg’s Omni-Links and Micro-Thoughts; can be usefully blended with the concept of a (physical) Atomic Network plus a multitude of (metaphysical) Knowledge-based Organizational methods – such a Kim Veltman’s SUMS. Ergo, a new UKM technology emerges, that supports the recording and viewing of full content/context(s) by an author, sender, or commentator – plus sharing and re- mixing of content and context by everyone else.