Issue 531: Observable Entity

ID: 
531
Starting Date: 
2021-03-07
Working Group: 
3
Status: 
Open
Background: 

Posted by Martin on 7/03/2021

Dear All,

In the course of elaborating the epistemology of measurement, issue 388,

I propose the following:
 

For CRMsci:

Change S15 Observable Entity to superclass of E4 Period, S10 Material Substantial.

Change S21 Measurement to superclass of E16 Measurement.

Change O24 measured (was measured by) to superproperty of P39 measured (was measured by)

Declare O24  measured (was measured by) and O12 has dimension (is dimension of) as top properties of CRMsci.

Declare O12 to be identical with P43 for S10 Material Substantial (and subclasses)

Further,

Consider the epistemology of distance measurement, or more generally, comparative measurements, such as distance of two physical features, elevation difference of mountain peaks, two events in space and time.

Posted by Martin on 1/6/2021

 

Dear All,

In the course of elaborating the epistemology of measurement, issue 388,

I propose the following:
 

For CRMsci:

  • Change S15 Observable Entity to superclass of E4 Period, S10 Material Substantial.
  • Change S21 Measurement to superclass of E16 Measurement.
  • Change O24 measured (was measured by) to superproperty of P39 measured (was measured by)
  • Declare O24 measured (was measured by) and O12 has dimension (is dimension of) as top properties of CRMsci.
  • Declare O12 to be identical with P43 for S10 Material Substantial (and subclasses)
  • O12 has dimension (is dimension of) ≡ P43 has dimension (is dimension of), for S10 Material Substantial (and subclasses) (Issue 537).
  • O9 observed property type (property type was observed by) : subproperty of P177 assigned property of type (is type of property assigned)

 

Observable Entity definition (see issue 293):

The Problem of defining an Observable Entity was to justify a class consisting of Material and Conceptual Objects and something representing signals in space-time, by identifying what the common nature behind those actually is that allows for observing them, which we failed to understand for years. It further caused problems trying to put all top classes into CRMbase and to keep CRMsci under them. Observation obviously is fundamental, but also a basic element of argumentation. Therefore, draft definitions where moved between CRMsci, CRMbase and CRMInf without coming to a conclusion. In particular, the concept of measuring immaterial objects via unnamed representatives further obscured the nature of an observable. This has been resolved now in version 7.1.1.

 

More solidly, I now believe

  • we have to regard all things and environments capable of sending signals or mechanically or chemically interacting with a measurement device, sensor, senses or probe.
  • These should be material substantials, but observation occurs in spacetime and is temporary itself and about temporary phenomena, relatively persistent properties being just a special, case, not well-distiguished from temporary ones.
  • Therefore we have to include material processes that interact with measurement devices or leave sensory impressions in a person, not to talk about processes materially affecting a human being. It appears that E5 Event is the nearest class for that, even though E5 Event includes mental processes, which may slightly overstretch the idea of observability, except for self-observation.
  • I am hesitant to consider E4 Period, once the observation of a Period as a whole is rather bound to series of indicative events, but may be the distinction is not practical in all cases. To be discussed.

 

About the Immediacy of Observation (see issue 388)

In all philosophy of science, at least since Kant, there is the clear distinction between the physical interaction in the sensory organ or instrument, the mediating instrument such as a microscope or telescope, and the physical process at the source we intend to observe.

More current philosophical theories, such as by James Ladyman and others, reject the former distinction that observables are only things that can be recognized by human unaided senses, and regard adequate devices as equivalent. In the CRM, we defend the latter position. Ladyman stresses that the assessment of the reality of an observation by instrument is more reliable when its design (and the experience with it) is not made and restricted to recognize the claimed observation only, such as yardsticks, microscopes, Voltmeters, Oscilloscopes etc.

Nevertheless, we have to consider the spatial distance between the source and the sensor, the temporal delay between sensing and reading (observing) the sensor itself, the evaluation of the sensory data following the hypothesis of the instruments operation and the interpretation of the process causing the signal or reaction.

Consider looking at a distant galaxy versus at a bird through a telescope. Consider seeing a lightning versus a supernova through a telescope. Consider reception and evaluation of a seismic signal, isolating an event and identifying it with other signals of the network. Consider traces partly molten ceramics in an archaeological excavation (indicating a temperature) versus ceramics cones made for temperature measuring by their partial melting.

Obviously, there are good reasons to include in an instance of observation or measurement the whole reasoning chain until the cause of the signal, e.g., a rare bird flying by, and in other cases to split the activity into source, signal, signal reception, signal recognition and overall interpretation. The reasons may depend on the immediacy of observation and the confidence in the method to detect the observed kind of cause for the signal. Our models should be able to represent both views in a monotonic way. For instance, observing a chemical reaction can be regarded as part of observing/measuring a concentration of a pollutant.

The following is an example of for including in the meaning of a particular kind of measurement the standard evaluation procedure to a result that, in the narrower sense, is not of observable kind, i.e., position measurement. From this, I propose to create a more general class of measurement and observation, which includes spatiotemporal relations between objects and events, and counting.

 

Following a suggestion by MD, the CRM editorial board decided to narrow the scope of this issue as stated below

  • Change S15 Observable Entity to superclass of E4 Period, S10 Material Substantial.
  • Consider the epistemology of distance measurement, or more generally, comparative measurements, such as distance of two physical features, elevation difference of mountain peaks, two events in space and time.

The grounds for this decision are: 

The relation btw S21 Measurement and E16 Measurement and all the changes that stem from it [*] will be explored in issue 537.

 

[*]

  1. P39 measured (was measured by) isA O24 measured (was measured by),
  2. O12 has dimension (is dimension of) Ξ P43 has dimension (is dimension of) [for S10 Material Substantial and its subclasses],
  3. O12 has dimension (is dimension of) AND O24 measured (was measured by) are declared top properties in CRMsci.  

 

There is a strong relevance with issue 388 (position measurement)

 

June, 3rd 2021

Current Proposal: 

Post by Martin on June 7, 2021: 

Dear All,

Attached my attempt to redefine Observable Entity so that we can measure distances between things!

Here the summary:
I reconsider Observation, Observable Entity and Situation in the light of the question, how to define Position Measurement. This leads to measuring distances as a “primitive”. Since this must be an observation, the fundamental problem that appears is that observations may pertain to constellations of multiple things.

Therefore:

  • The properties O9, O16 are problematic and too restrictive. Situation as a proposition set holding at a particular time is more adequate, may be a straight-forward generalization.
  • O9 observed property type (property type was observed by): S9 Property Type
  • O16 observed value (value was observed by): E1 CRM Entity

We should introduce:

Oxxx observed situation (was observed by): Sxxx Observable Situation

An “Observable Situation” would be a proposition set relating Observable Entities, with a validity time-span that must be within the time-span of the observation. To be elaborated. Examples: People talking to each other, vehicles approaching each other, a vehicle moving in direction x with speed y etc.

E13 can manage only one property at a time. Therefore, S4 Observation is not a subclass of E13 Attribute Assignment.

 We may need to consider an S4 Observation consisting of multiple Attribute Assignments. We can regard each propositions in the observed Sxxx Observable Situation to be result of an E13 Attribute Assignment. This can then gracefully collapse to a one-property observation.

This works, if restricting cardinality is a specialization ???

Then, an Observable Entity has a Dimension. In case of distances however, two observable entities share one Dimension. If we can formulate Dimension as a kind of Observable Situation (adding time and restricting cardinality), we can manage the generalizations.

Best,

Martin