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'''Philosophy on Rails'''
+
'''Philosophy on Rails: An Introduction to Ontology'''
  
Special Topic PHI 579
+
Special Topic PHI 579  
  
'''Registration''':  
+
Fall Semester 2020, Monday 1-3:40pm
:Class#: [http://www.buffalo.edu/class-schedule?switch=showclass&semester=fall&division=GRAD&dept=PHI&regnum=24032 24032] (PHI)
+
  
'''Instructors''': [http://ontology.buffalo.edu/smith/shortcv.htm Barry Smith], [http://davidglimbaugh.com/ David Limbaugh]
+
'''Venue:''' Capen 240
  
'''Prerequisites''': Open to all persons with an undergraduate degree.
+
'''Registration''': Class#: [http://www.buffalo.edu/class-schedule?switch=showclass&semester=fall&division=GRAD&dept=PHI&regnum=24202 24202]
  
'''Office hours''': By appointment via email at [mailto:phismith@buffalo.edu phismith@buffalo.edu] or [mailto:dglimbau@buffalo.edu dglimbau@buffalo.edu]
+
'''Instructor''': [http://ontology.buffalo.edu/smith/shortcv.htm Barry Smith]
 +
 
 +
'''Prerequisites''': Open to all persons with an undergraduate degree and some knowledge of philosophy.
 +
 
 +
'''Office hours''': By appointment via email at [mailto:phismith@buffalo.edu phismith@buffalo.edu]  
  
 
== '''The Course''' ==
 
== '''The Course''' ==
''Course Description'': Philosophy has been crippled by the degree to which different philosophers fail to define their terms in a common framework of definitions that would enable comparison of different theories and arguments. This class will explore a new strategy for resolving this problem resting on the use of a common, standard ontology (BFO, ISO/IEC 21838-2) as a framework for definitions.
+
''Course Description'': Progress in philosophy has been hampered by the fact that philosophers have no shared, controlled vocabulary which they can use as a common starting point when defining their terms. Even mundane terms like ‘world’, ‘fact’, and ‘harm’ have such a variety of meanings that when competing theories use such terms their defenders can often be accused of talking past one another and of engaging in merely verbal disputes. This is in contrast to what is the case in the natural sciences, where consistent terminology – as codified for example in the Periodic Table and the International Standard System of Units – is recognized as indispensable. To put it bluntly, because of the use of standards, the natural sciences are collectively more successful than philosophers at resolving divergent points-of-view in their respective fields. Of course, the idea of developing a shared system of philosophical terms and definitions has been advanced in different forms already, for example by Aristotle in the ''Categories'', by Leibniz in ''De Arte Combinatoria'', by the early Wittgenstein, and by Carnap in his ''Logical Structure of the World''. Similar methods are nowadays being successfully applied, but this is occurring primarily outside philosophy, in areas such as biomedical informatics and industrial engineering.
 +
 
 +
This course will address three goals:
 +
 
 +
:'''First''', it will explore how to create and use a standard philosophical vocabulary. This will include exploiting modern developments in computational ontology, including the world’s first [https://www.iso.org/standard/74572.html international standard ontology].
 +
:'''Second''', it will explore the ways in which building a restricted philosophical vocabulary can help to arbitrate philosophical disputes in areas such as time, mental content, modality, and obligation.
 +
:'''Third''', it will provide an introduction to the methods of contemporary applied ontological that are being used both inside and outside philosophy.  
  
 
''Course Structure'': This is a three credit hour graduate seminar, with a practical exercise forming part of each class. The final session will be structured around youtube videos created by the students in the class. Students will be trained in the basic tools and methods of ontology, and become involved in the attempt to use BFO to capture data about philosophical methods, hypotheses and results.
 
''Course Structure'': This is a three credit hour graduate seminar, with a practical exercise forming part of each class. The final session will be structured around youtube videos created by the students in the class. Students will be trained in the basic tools and methods of ontology, and become involved in the attempt to use BFO to capture data about philosophical methods, hypotheses and results.
  
''Target Audience'': The course is open to all interested students, and will presupposen no knowledge of philosophy or of intelligence analysis.
+
''Target Audience'': The course is open to all interested students with an undergraduate degree and some knowledge of philosophy.
  
'''Schedule:'''
+
''Proposed Topics for Papers''
 +
:[https://ndpr.nd.edu/news/when-words-are-called-for-a-defense-of-ordinary-language-philosophy/ How did Austin's military experience in WWII influence his mode of doing philosophy] (Or: Can philosophy be performed through teamwork?)
 +
:How can the [https://philpapers.org/categories.pl Philpapers category system] be improved?
 +
:How can the [https://philpapers.org/help/categorization.html rules for categorizing papers in Philpapers] be improved?
 +
:Formalizing the [https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/capability-approach/ Amartya Sen/Martha Nussbaum ontology of capabilities]
 +
:In many cases papers would consist in presentations of ontologies or classifications or sets of formal or semi-formal definitions of philosophical relevant terms. Examples of the such classifications might be:
 +
::1. A classification of responses to the Gettier argument
 +
::2. A classification of (a) definitions of disease coupled with (b) proposed counterexamples for each disease-type.
 +
::3. A comprehensive catalogue of definitions of 'harm'
 +
::4. A comprehensive catalogue of definitions of causality
  
 
==August 31: Introduction: Philosophy on Rails==
 
==August 31: Introduction: Philosophy on Rails==
  
==September 7: Labor Day (no class) ==
+
Preamble: [https://buffalo.box.com/v/Problems-w-analytic-Philosophy What's wrong with analytic philosophy?]
  
 +
We will outline the philosophical methodology that produced Basic Formal Ontology (BFO), which was approved by the International Standards Organization in 2019 as standard ISO/IED 21838-2. This methodology includes principles such as:
  
 +
*the referent of every term should be traceable back to some portion of reality that is perceivable or physically identifiable
  
 +
*tracing back means: following paths of dependence (as a velocity, for instance, is dependent on some process of motion)
  
 +
We will collect examples of possible ways of doing philosophy constrained by BFO. For example, what do we do with information, given that there is no coverage of propositions in BFO? What do we do with modality given that BFO has no coverage of so-called possible worlds?
  
==September 14: The Ontology of Philosophy ==
+
We will explore one way in which using BFO and ontologies conformant to BFO can already be of benefit to philosophers, namely in tagging philosophical literature. How would one build out an ontology used to tag philosophical literature, since that literature is full of non-referring terms? How does the categorization strategy used by PhilPapers measure up to the standards of what would be needed by an ontology-grounded tagging system?
:Pierre Grenon and Barry Smith, “[http://www.springerlink.com/content/k414rg8158585g37/ Foundations of an Ontology of Philosophy]”, Synthese, 2011, 182 (2), 185-204.
+
 
::Abstract: We describe an ontology of philosophy that is designed to help navigation through philosophical literature, including literature in the form of encyclopedia articles and textbooks and in both printed and digital forms. The ontology is designed also to serve integration and structuring of data pertaining to the philosophical literature, and in the long term also to support reasoning about the provenance and contents of such literature, by providing a representation of the philosophical domain that is orientated around what philosophical literature is about.  
+
Philosophy on Rails
 +
:[https://buffalo.box.com/v/Philosophy-on-Rails Slides]
 +
:[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w5I8kxqDSeo Video] (28 minutes)
 +
 
 +
Driverless Philosophy
 +
:[https://buffalo.box.com/v/Driverless-Philosophy Slides]
 +
:[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uEyMk-OpImg Video] (73 minutes)
 +
 
 +
Readings
 +
:Amanda Bryant, "[https://philpapers.org/rec/BRYKTC Keep the chickens cooped: the epistemic inadequacy of free range metaphysics]", ''Synthese'' 197 (5): 1867-1887. 2020.
 +
 
 +
Precursors
 +
 
 +
:[https://books.google.com/books?id=858AHFXOt5EC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=snippet&q=smith&f=false Chisholm]
 +
:[https://philpapers.org/archive/MILICA-6.pdf Ingarden]
 +
:Armstrong, D. M. ''[https://www.oxfordscholarship.com/view/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199590612.001.0001/acprof-9780199590612 Sketch for a Systematic Metaphysics]'', Oxford University Press, 2010.
 +
:[https://github.com/BFO-ontology/BFO/raw/master/docs/bfo2-reference/BFO2-Reference.pdf BFO 2.0]
 +
 
 +
==September 7: The Ontology of Philosophy ==
 +
 
 +
Making the Content of Philosophy Accessible Systematically
 +
 
 +
Pierre Grenon and Barry Smith, “[http://www.springerlink.com/content/k414rg8158585g37/ Foundations of an Ontology of Philosophy]”, Synthese, 2011, 182 (2), 185-204.
 +
 
 +
Describes an ontology of philosophy that is designed to help navigation through philosophical literature, including literature in the form of encyclopedia articles and textbooks and in both printed and digital forms. The ontology is designed also to serve integration and structuring of data pertaining to the philosophical literature, and in the long term also to support reasoning about the provenance and contents of such literature, by providing a representation of the philosophical domain that is orientated around what philosophical literature is about.  
 +
:[http://ontology.buffalo.edu/philosophome/pdcphilontology-v1.owl OWL]
 +
:[http://ontology.buffalo.edu/philosophome/philonto/philontologyX013.gif gif]
 +
:[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5HV3M0NvyPM Video]
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Overview
 
:[http://philosophome.org/ The Philosophome]
 
:[http://philosophome.org/ The Philosophome]
 +
 +
 +
Ontology of Philosophy
 +
:[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5HV3M0NvyPM  Video] 40 minutes
 +
:[https://buffalo.box.com/v/Philosophome-2015  Slides]
 +
 +
 +
History of Philosophy
 +
:[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YkYlY2jnRxc Video] 98 minutes
 +
:[https://buffalo.box.com/v/Future-of-History Slides]
 +
:N. Milkov, [https://philpapers.org/rec/MILALH A Logical–Contextual History of Philosophy], ''Southwest Philosophy Review'' 27 (1):21-29 (2011)
 +
 +
 +
Examples of philosophical categorizations
 
:[https://philpapers.org/browse/all List of philpapers.org Categories]
 
:[https://philpapers.org/browse/all List of philpapers.org Categories]
 +
:Dimitris Gakis (2016) "[https://doi.org/10.1080/05568641.2016.1188547 Philosophy as Paradigms: An Account of a Contextual Metaphilosophical Perspective]", ''Philosophical Papers'', 45:1-2, 209-239.
 +
:[https://publiscologne.th-koeln.de/frontdoor/deliver/index/docId/1363/file/MAT_Seidlmayer.pdf Eva Seidlmayer, ''An ontology of digital objects in philosophy'']
 +
 +
:Advancing beyond the [https://philpapers.org/browse/all PhilPapers Table of Categories]
 +
 +
==September 14: An Introduction to Basic Formal Ontology==
 +
 +
The ISO Standardization Process
  
==September 21: An Introduction to Basic Formal Ontology==
+
ISO/IEC 21838
 +
:[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_0masZPGLb0 Video] (20 minutes)
 +
:[https://buffalo.box.com/v/Ontology-Summit-2020 Slides]
  
 +
Basic Formal Ontology
 +
:[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p0buEjR3t8A Video] (70 minutes)
 
:[https://buffalo.box.com/v/ICBO-2019-BFO-Tutorial Slides]
 
:[https://buffalo.box.com/v/ICBO-2019-BFO-Tutorial Slides]
:[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p0buEjR3t8A Video]
 
:Robert Arp, Barry Smith and Andrew Spear, [https://mitpress.mit.edu/index.php?q=books/building-ontologies-basic-formal-ontology Building Ontologies with Basic Formal Ontology], Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, August 2015.
 
  
==September 28: Methods==
+
Robert Arp, Barry Smith and Andrew Spear, [https://mitpress.mit.edu/index.php?q=books/building-ontologies-basic-formal-ontology Building Ontologies with Basic Formal Ontology], Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, August 2015.
  
:All editions of TopBraid (including the free edition) allow editors to establish links using the GUI to dbpedia resources, and to download resources and their annotations from dbpedia as part of their local knowledge base. Despite DBpedia being a hot mess, there is a lot of interesting content therein.  It would be very easy to build an exercise around this for students, who could use it for exploratory purposes, enrichment, testing, pointing out errors, etc…
+
==September 21: Modes of Philosophical Derailment==
  
[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O-KFEMzx0MY Tutorial]
+
:"... philosophical problems arise when language goes on holiday.” Wittgenstein, ''Philosophical Investigations'', §38
  
==October 5: Philosophy of Science ==
+
:"... a wheel that can be turned though nothing else moves with it, is not a part of the mechanism." Wittgenstein,  ''Philosophical Investigations'', §271
 +
 
 +
:Karl Bühler on logical vs. material derailment (''Entgleisung''). See Mulligan [https://www.unige.ch/lettres/philo/files/6614/2644/2862/mulligan_EssenceLanguageWBBB4.pdf here].
 +
 
 +
:Nosology of Continental Philosophy. See Mulligan [https://www.unige.ch/lettres/philo/files/8614/2644/2135/mulligan_PostContinentalPhilosophy1.pdf here].
 +
 
 +
==September 28: Philosophy of Science ==
  
 
:Models and simulations
 
:Models and simulations
 +
 
:[https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0154556 A. Bandrowski, et al., "The Ontology for Biomedical Investigations", ''PLoS ONE'', 2016]
 
:[https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0154556 A. Bandrowski, et al., "The Ontology for Biomedical Investigations", ''PLoS ONE'', 2016]
  
==October 12: Philosophical Logic ==
+
:Quantities as Fiat Universals
 +
:[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xVVUH00cMNY&list=PLyngZgIl3WTj8kH_CMlBPVhaJT45rbPWw&index=17&t=0s Video] (78 minutes)
 +
:[https://buffalo.box.com/v/Quantities-as-fiat-universals Slides]
 +
 
 +
==October 5: Philosophical Logic ==
  
 
:Truth
 
:Truth
:Werner Ceusters and Barry Smith, "[https://philpapers.org/archive/CEUATF.pdf Aboutness: Towards Foundations for the Information Artifact Ontology]", ''Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference on Biomedical Ontology'' (ICBO). CEUR vol. 1515. pp. 1-5 (2015).
 
  
==October 19: Cognitive Science ==
+
==October 12: Cognitive Science ==
  
 
:Mental Functioning Ontology
 
:Mental Functioning Ontology
Line 65: Line 151:
 
:Cognitive Process Ontology
 
:Cognitive Process Ontology
  
==October 26: Metaphysics ==
+
==October 19: Metaphysics ==
  
 
:Barry Smith and Werner Ceusters, "[https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3104413/ Ontological realism: A methodology for coordinated evolution of scientific ontologies]", ''Applied Ontology'', 2010 Nov 15; 5(3-4): 139–188.
 
:Barry Smith and Werner Ceusters, "[https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3104413/ Ontological realism: A methodology for coordinated evolution of scientific ontologies]", ''Applied Ontology'', 2010 Nov 15; 5(3-4): 139–188.
  
==November 2: Philosophy of Language==
+
==October 26: Philosophy of Language==
  
 
From Speech Acts to Document Acts
 
From Speech Acts to Document Acts
Line 75: Line 161:
 
:[https://buffalo.box.com/v/Speech-Acts-to-Document-Acts Slides]
 
:[https://buffalo.box.com/v/Speech-Acts-to-Document-Acts Slides]
  
==November 9: Norms and Values ==
+
==November 2: Social Ontology, Norms and Values ==
  
 
Deontic Entities in Basic Formal Ontology
 
Deontic Entities in Basic Formal Ontology
  
 
:[https://buffalo.box.com/v/Deontic-Entities-in-BFO Slides]
 
:[https://buffalo.box.com/v/Deontic-Entities-in-BFO Slides]
 +
:[https://media.proquest.com/media/hms/PFT/2/uWPyE?_s=S8LMn1XtTa0YRr8hwj%2FF1GOeMPc%3D Social Ontology and Social Normativity]
  
==November 16: Capabilities ==
+
==November 9: Capabilities ==
  
Capabilities
+
:Capabilities
  
 
:[https://buffalo.box.com/v/capabilities-summary-Nov11 Slides]
 
:[https://buffalo.box.com/v/capabilities-summary-Nov11 Slides]
Line 90: Line 177:
 
:[https://philarchive.org/archive/MERMC Eric Merrell, et al., "Mental Capabilities", ICBO, 2019]
 
:[https://philarchive.org/archive/MERMC Eric Merrell, et al., "Mental Capabilities", ICBO, 2019]
  
==November 23: Philosophy of Information ==
+
==November 16: Philosophy of Information ==
  
The Information Ontology
+
:The Information Ontology
  
:[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PBKsupBquok&list=PLyngZgIl3WTi9ez4OjbXDlYtLb-vSxLHc Video]
+
:[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PBKsupBquok&list=PLyngZgIl3WTi9ez4OjbXDlYtLb-vSxLHc Video]\
  
==November 30: Social Ontology ==
+
:Werner Ceusters and Barry Smith, "[https://philpapers.org/archive/CEUATF.pdf Aboutness: Towards Foundations for the Information Artifact Ontology]", ''Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference on Biomedical Ontology'' (ICBO). CEUR vol. 1515. pp. 1-5 (2015).
 +
 
 +
==November 23: Philosophy of Action ==
 +
 
 +
==November 30:
  
==December 7: Student Projects ==
+
==December 7: Student Projects (Remote Session) ==
  
 
1:00  
 
1:00  
Line 114: Line 205:
 
! Assessment Method(s)
 
! Assessment Method(s)
 
|-
 
|-
| The student will acquire a knowledge of the principles and procedures of intelligence analysis, and an insight into the philosophical methods and theories relevant thereto. The student will also acquire a familiarity with current theoretical research in areas relating to intelligence analysis.  
+
| The student will acquire a knowledge of the principles and procedures of ontology, and an insight into the philosophical methods and theories relevant thereto. The student will also acquire a familiarity with research in formal philosophy and analytic metaphysics.  
 
| Lectures and class discussions
 
| Lectures and class discussions
 
| Review of reading matter and associated online content and participation in class discussions
 
| Review of reading matter and associated online content and participation in class discussions
 
|-
 
|-
| The student will acquire experience in practical tasks involved in intelligence analysis
+
| The student will acquire experience in using the methods employed in applied ontology, including use of the [https://protege.stanford.edu/ Protége] ontology editing software tool.
 +
 
 
| Participation in practical experiments
 
| Participation in practical experiments
 
| Review of results  
 
| Review of results  
 
|-
 
|-
| The student will acquire experience in communicating the results of work on intelligence analysis and its philosophical understanding
+
| The student will acquire experience in communicating the results of work using ontologies and in the potential of modern applied ontology as a tool to aid philosophical understanding
 
| Creation of youtube presentation and of associated documentation
 
| Creation of youtube presentation and of associated documentation
 
| Review of results
 
| Review of results
Line 132: Line 224:
 
=='''Important Dates'''==
 
=='''Important Dates'''==
 
{|
 
{|
|  Sep 20 || - about now start to discuss by email the content of your video and essay with Drs Smith and Limbaugh
+
|  Sep 20 || - about now start to discuss by email the content of your video and essay with Dr Smith
 
|-
 
|-
 
|  Sep 28 || - submit a proposed title and abstract
 
|  Sep 28 || - submit a proposed title and abstract
Line 138: Line 230:
 
|  Oct 31 || - submit a table of contents and 300 word summary plus draft of associated ppt slides
 
|  Oct 31 || - submit a table of contents and 300 word summary plus draft of associated ppt slides
 
|-
 
|-
|  Nov 20 || - submit penultimate draft of essay and powerpoint
+
|  Nov 27 || - submit penultimate draft of essay (~3000 words) and associated powerpoint (~10 slides)
 
|-
 
|-
Dec2 || - class presentation
+
Dec7 || - class presentation
 
|-
 
|-
|  Dec 4 || - submit final version of essay and powerpoint and upload final version of video to youtube
+
|  Dec 11 || - submit final version of essay and powerpoint and upload final version of video to youtube
 
|}
 
|}
  
Line 155: Line 247:
 
II: preparation of a youtube video and associated documentation (including powerpoint slides and essay).  
 
II: preparation of a youtube video and associated documentation (including powerpoint slides and essay).  
  
Content and structure of the essay should be discussed with Drs Smith or Limbaugh. Where the essay takes the form of the documentation of a specific ontology developed by the student it should include:
+
Content and structure of the essay should be discussed with Dr Smith. Where the essay takes the form of the documentation of a specific ontology developed by the student it should include:
 
:Statement of scope of the ontology
 
:Statement of scope of the ontology
 
:Summary of existing ontologies in the relevant domain
 
:Summary of existing ontologies in the relevant domain
Line 210: Line 302:
  
 
'''Accessibility resources:''' If you have any disability which requires reasonable accommodations to enable you to participate in this course, please contact the Office of Accessibility Resources in 60 Capen Hall, 645-2608 and also the instructor of this course during the first week of class. The office will provide you with information and review appropriate arrangements for reasonable accommodations, which can be found on the web [http://www.buffalo.edu/studentlife/who-we-are/departments/accessibility.html here].
 
'''Accessibility resources:''' If you have any disability which requires reasonable accommodations to enable you to participate in this course, please contact the Office of Accessibility Resources in 60 Capen Hall, 645-2608 and also the instructor of this course during the first week of class. The office will provide you with information and review appropriate arrangements for reasonable accommodations, which can be found on the web [http://www.buffalo.edu/studentlife/who-we-are/departments/accessibility.html here].
 
== '''Background Reading and Video Materials''' ==
 
 
*[http://ontology.buffalo.edu/smith/ Streaming video presentations and training courses in ontology]
 
 
*[http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1877050913000690 Concept Analysis to Enrich Manufacturing Service Capability Models]
 
 
*[http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0166361514000438 Supply Chain Management Ontology]
 
 
*[http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40436-014-0073-2 Ontology-based interoperability solutions for textile supply chain]
 
 
*[http://ontology.buffalo.edu/smith/articles/ontologies.htm Ontology: An Introduction]
 
 
*[http://ontology.buffalo.edu/smith/articles/Horizontal-integration.pdf Horizontal Integration of Warfighter Intelligence Data]
 
 
*[http://ncorwiki.buffalo.edu/index.php/Ontology_for_Intelligence,_Defense_and_Security Ontology for Intelligence, Defense and Security (2012)]
 
 
*[http://militaryontology.org Military Ontology]
 

Latest revision as of 12:21, 29 July 2020

Philosophy on Rails: An Introduction to Ontology

Special Topic PHI 579

Fall Semester 2020, Monday 1-3:40pm

Venue: Capen 240

Registration: Class#: 24202

Instructor: Barry Smith

Prerequisites: Open to all persons with an undergraduate degree and some knowledge of philosophy.

Office hours: By appointment via email at phismith@buffalo.edu

The Course

Course Description: Progress in philosophy has been hampered by the fact that philosophers have no shared, controlled vocabulary which they can use as a common starting point when defining their terms. Even mundane terms like ‘world’, ‘fact’, and ‘harm’ have such a variety of meanings that when competing theories use such terms their defenders can often be accused of talking past one another and of engaging in merely verbal disputes. This is in contrast to what is the case in the natural sciences, where consistent terminology – as codified for example in the Periodic Table and the International Standard System of Units – is recognized as indispensable. To put it bluntly, because of the use of standards, the natural sciences are collectively more successful than philosophers at resolving divergent points-of-view in their respective fields. Of course, the idea of developing a shared system of philosophical terms and definitions has been advanced in different forms already, for example by Aristotle in the Categories, by Leibniz in De Arte Combinatoria, by the early Wittgenstein, and by Carnap in his Logical Structure of the World. Similar methods are nowadays being successfully applied, but this is occurring primarily outside philosophy, in areas such as biomedical informatics and industrial engineering.

This course will address three goals:

First, it will explore how to create and use a standard philosophical vocabulary. This will include exploiting modern developments in computational ontology, including the world’s first international standard ontology.
Second, it will explore the ways in which building a restricted philosophical vocabulary can help to arbitrate philosophical disputes in areas such as time, mental content, modality, and obligation.
Third, it will provide an introduction to the methods of contemporary applied ontological that are being used both inside and outside philosophy.

Course Structure: This is a three credit hour graduate seminar, with a practical exercise forming part of each class. The final session will be structured around youtube videos created by the students in the class. Students will be trained in the basic tools and methods of ontology, and become involved in the attempt to use BFO to capture data about philosophical methods, hypotheses and results.

Target Audience: The course is open to all interested students with an undergraduate degree and some knowledge of philosophy.

Proposed Topics for Papers

How did Austin's military experience in WWII influence his mode of doing philosophy (Or: Can philosophy be performed through teamwork?)
How can the Philpapers category system be improved?
How can the rules for categorizing papers in Philpapers be improved?
Formalizing the Amartya Sen/Martha Nussbaum ontology of capabilities
In many cases papers would consist in presentations of ontologies or classifications or sets of formal or semi-formal definitions of philosophical relevant terms. Examples of the such classifications might be:
1. A classification of responses to the Gettier argument
2. A classification of (a) definitions of disease coupled with (b) proposed counterexamples for each disease-type.
3. A comprehensive catalogue of definitions of 'harm'
4. A comprehensive catalogue of definitions of causality

August 31: Introduction: Philosophy on Rails

Preamble: What's wrong with analytic philosophy?

We will outline the philosophical methodology that produced Basic Formal Ontology (BFO), which was approved by the International Standards Organization in 2019 as standard ISO/IED 21838-2. This methodology includes principles such as:

  • the referent of every term should be traceable back to some portion of reality that is perceivable or physically identifiable
  • tracing back means: following paths of dependence (as a velocity, for instance, is dependent on some process of motion)

We will collect examples of possible ways of doing philosophy constrained by BFO. For example, what do we do with information, given that there is no coverage of propositions in BFO? What do we do with modality given that BFO has no coverage of so-called possible worlds?

We will explore one way in which using BFO and ontologies conformant to BFO can already be of benefit to philosophers, namely in tagging philosophical literature. How would one build out an ontology used to tag philosophical literature, since that literature is full of non-referring terms? How does the categorization strategy used by PhilPapers measure up to the standards of what would be needed by an ontology-grounded tagging system?

Philosophy on Rails

Slides
Video (28 minutes)

Driverless Philosophy

Slides
Video (73 minutes)

Readings

Amanda Bryant, "Keep the chickens cooped: the epistemic inadequacy of free range metaphysics", Synthese 197 (5): 1867-1887. 2020.

Precursors

Chisholm
Ingarden
Armstrong, D. M. Sketch for a Systematic Metaphysics, Oxford University Press, 2010.
BFO 2.0

September 7: The Ontology of Philosophy

Making the Content of Philosophy Accessible Systematically

Pierre Grenon and Barry Smith, “Foundations of an Ontology of Philosophy”, Synthese, 2011, 182 (2), 185-204.

Describes an ontology of philosophy that is designed to help navigation through philosophical literature, including literature in the form of encyclopedia articles and textbooks and in both printed and digital forms. The ontology is designed also to serve integration and structuring of data pertaining to the philosophical literature, and in the long term also to support reasoning about the provenance and contents of such literature, by providing a representation of the philosophical domain that is orientated around what philosophical literature is about.

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Video


Overview

The Philosophome


Ontology of Philosophy

Video 40 minutes
Slides


History of Philosophy

Video 98 minutes
Slides
N. Milkov, A Logical–Contextual History of Philosophy, Southwest Philosophy Review 27 (1):21-29 (2011)


Examples of philosophical categorizations

List of philpapers.org Categories
Dimitris Gakis (2016) "Philosophy as Paradigms: An Account of a Contextual Metaphilosophical Perspective", Philosophical Papers, 45:1-2, 209-239.
Eva Seidlmayer, An ontology of digital objects in philosophy
Advancing beyond the PhilPapers Table of Categories

September 14: An Introduction to Basic Formal Ontology

The ISO Standardization Process

ISO/IEC 21838

Video (20 minutes)
Slides

Basic Formal Ontology

Video (70 minutes)
Slides

Robert Arp, Barry Smith and Andrew Spear, Building Ontologies with Basic Formal Ontology, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, August 2015.

September 21: Modes of Philosophical Derailment

"... philosophical problems arise when language goes on holiday.” Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations, §38
"... a wheel that can be turned though nothing else moves with it, is not a part of the mechanism." Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations, §271
Karl Bühler on logical vs. material derailment (Entgleisung). See Mulligan here.
Nosology of Continental Philosophy. See Mulligan here.

September 28: Philosophy of Science

Models and simulations
A. Bandrowski, et al., "The Ontology for Biomedical Investigations", PLoS ONE, 2016
Quantities as Fiat Universals
Video (78 minutes)
Slides

October 5: Philosophical Logic

Truth

October 12: Cognitive Science

Mental Functioning Ontology
Emotion Ontology
Cognitive Process Ontology

October 19: Metaphysics

Barry Smith and Werner Ceusters, "Ontological realism: A methodology for coordinated evolution of scientific ontologies", Applied Ontology, 2010 Nov 15; 5(3-4): 139–188.

October 26: Philosophy of Language

From Speech Acts to Document Acts

Slides

November 2: Social Ontology, Norms and Values

Deontic Entities in Basic Formal Ontology

Slides
Social Ontology and Social Normativity

November 9: Capabilities

Capabilities
Slides
Reading
Eric Merrell, et al., "Mental Capabilities", ICBO, 2019

November 16: Philosophy of Information

The Information Ontology
Video\
Werner Ceusters and Barry Smith, "Aboutness: Towards Foundations for the Information Artifact Ontology", Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference on Biomedical Ontology (ICBO). CEUR vol. 1515. pp. 1-5 (2015).

November 23: Philosophy of Action

==November 30:

December 7: Student Projects (Remote Session)

1:00

Reading


Student Learning Outcomes

Program Outcomes/Competencies Instructional Method(s) Assessment Method(s)
The student will acquire a knowledge of the principles and procedures of ontology, and an insight into the philosophical methods and theories relevant thereto. The student will also acquire a familiarity with research in formal philosophy and analytic metaphysics. Lectures and class discussions Review of reading matter and associated online content and participation in class discussions
The student will acquire experience in using the methods employed in applied ontology, including use of the Protége ontology editing software tool. Participation in practical experiments Review of results
The student will acquire experience in communicating the results of work using ontologies and in the potential of modern applied ontology as a tool to aid philosophical understanding Creation of youtube presentation and of associated documentation Review of results

How to Write an Essay

Jordan Peterson's Essay Writing Guide

Important Dates

Sep 20 - about now start to discuss by email the content of your video and essay with Dr Smith
Sep 28 - submit a proposed title and abstract
Oct 31 - submit a table of contents and 300 word summary plus draft of associated ppt slides
Nov 27 - submit penultimate draft of essay (~3000 words) and associated powerpoint (~10 slides)
Dec7 - class presentation
Dec 11 - submit final version of essay and powerpoint and upload final version of video to youtube

Grading

Grading will be based on two factors:

I: understanding and criticism of the material presented in classes 1-13

All students are required to take an active part in class (and where relevant on-line) discussions throughout the semester.

II: preparation of a youtube video and associated documentation (including powerpoint slides and essay).

Content and structure of the essay should be discussed with Dr Smith. Where the essay takes the form of the documentation of a specific ontology developed by the student it should include:

Statement of scope of the ontology
Summary of existing ontologies in the relevant domain
Explanation of how your ontology differs from (or incorporates) these ontologies
Screenshots of parts of the ontology with some examples of important terms and definitions
Summaries of potential applications of the ontology

Grading Policy: Grading follows standard Graduate School policies. Grades will be weighted according to the following breakdown:

Weighting Assignment

40% - class discussions
20% - youtube video presentation
20% - powerpoint slides
20% - essay / ontology content

Final Grades

Percentages refer to sum of assignment grades as listed above

Grade Quality Percentage

A 4.0 90.0% -100.00%
A- 3.67 87.0% - 89.9%
B+ 3.33 84.0% - 86.9%
B 3.00 80.0% - 83.9%
B- 2.67 77.0% - 79.9%
C+ 2.33 74.0% - 76.9%
C 2.00 71.0% - 73.9%
C- 1.67 68.0% - 70.9%
D+ 1.33 65.0% - 67.9%
D 1.00 62.0% - 64.9%
F 0 61.9% or below

An interim grade of Incomplete (I) may be assigned if the student has not completed all requirements for the course. An interim grade of 'I' shall not be assigned to a student who did not attend the course. The default grade accompanying an interim grade of 'I' shall be 'U' and will be displayed on the UB record as 'IU.' The default Unsatisfactory (U) grade shall become the permanent course grade of record if the 'IU' is not changed through formal notice by the instructor upon the student's completion of the course.

Assignment of an interim 'IU' is at the discretion of the instructor. A grade of 'IU' can be assigned only if successful completion of unfulfilled course requirements can result in a final grade better than the default 'U' grade. The student should have a passing average in the requirements already completed. The instructor shall provide the student specification, in writing, of the requirements to be fulfilled.

The university’s Graduate Incomplete Policy can be found here.

Related Policies and Services

Academic integrity is a fundamental university value. Through the honest completion of academic work, students sustain the integrity of the university while facilitating the university's imperative for the transmission of knowledge and culture based upon the generation of new and innovative ideas. See http://grad.buffalo.edu/Academics/Policies-Procedures/Academic-Integrity.html.

Accessibility resources: If you have any disability which requires reasonable accommodations to enable you to participate in this course, please contact the Office of Accessibility Resources in 60 Capen Hall, 645-2608 and also the instructor of this course during the first week of class. The office will provide you with information and review appropriate arrangements for reasonable accommodations, which can be found on the web here.