© Roger M Tagg 2008, 2010
Welcome to FROLIO – a new attempt to merge philosophy and the "semantic web". This website is in process of continuous development.
|Class (or Category)|
A Class or Category is the concept of a type of things - or concepts - that are similar in some way. Individuals belonging to a Class are often referred to as Instances. This implies that there are rules (or a "template")that say whether an instance belongs - or doesn't belong - to the class. “Elephant” is a class, but one particular individual elephant is a physical thing that belongs to the Class “Elephant”. The icon suggests a particular Class or Category of trash (in this case not bottles and not paper) that has to go in the green section of the waste bin.
Classes can have sub-classes and super-classes, e.g. “office stationery”, “paper clips” and “red paper clips”; or “animals”, “mammals”, “placental mammals”, “pachyderms”, “elephants”, “African elephants”.
A Class is not the same as a Collection, although there is some closeness in meaning, in that things - or concepts - can belong to both Classes and Collections, and some Classes could be defined simply by the rule that their instances belong to a certain Collection. Collections are generally more dynamic - members come and go, more often than they change their Class/Category. A Collection could also include a “rag bag” of things from many different Classes. The contents of a suitcase of an airline passenger is a good example
A Structure is the concept of a number of things or concepts, whether of the same or different type, being treated as a larger, more complex unit. Examples include a molecule (of atoms), a computer (of lots of electronic and other parts), an animal (of connected organs and pieces of anatomy), the planet earth, or the universe. A Collection is a form of Structure. The icon suggests a house being made up of elements such as walls, roofs, beams, windows, doors etc.
As with Classes, Structures can have sub-structures and super-structures, e.g. “roof”, “house”, “suburb” or “village”, “city”; “automobile part”, “assembly”, “vehicle”, “fleet”; or “particle physics”, “physics”, “natural science”. But such structures are not restricted to single hierarchies.
Structures can be categorized into many different Classes. In some cases, all we have is a Collection without any order, arrangement or interconnection between members. If we do have an order, it may be purely logical (typically if the members are concepts) or it may be physical (e.g. a pile of papers). Arrangement may be in one, two or three dimensions - four if time is included. Interconnection introduces the complexity of how the members are connected, e.g. components in a computer, bones in an animal body.
Structure may also be simply dependent on how we view a collection of things or concepts, and this may depend on knowing Attributes of the Things or Concepts (e.g. their identifying names so that we can treat them in alphabetic order).
A Context is a division of our areas of interest and knowledge. Examples are music, politics, religion, finances, a project, a hobby, sport. Contexts strongly affect the meaning of words in languages; the word “field” in English could mean an area of agricultural land; unfancied racehorses; numbers that support addition, subtraction, multiplication and division; a sports venue; etc etc. The icon suggests “The Arts” as one rather broad concept. Others could be “Personal Finance”, “Religion”, or “Politics”.
Contexts can be wider or narrower, so again can form hierarchies (simple or complex). I maintain a simple but multi-level structure for my internet “bookmarks” or “Favorites” as Microsoft calls them.
Contexts overlap with Structures, as a hierarchy such as “particle physics”, “physics”, “natural science” can be thought of as either a Structure of Abstract Concepts or a hierarchy of Contexts.
An Attribute is a type of thing that we can say about some other Thing (Physical or Abstract). Examples are height, weight, colour, emotional impact, sensibility, comprehensibility. Even “name” counts as an attribute. The icon here suggests an engineer reading temperature, pressure etc in some element of a physical system.
Attributes are “dimensions” of measurement, description or feeling that we can have or make about a Thing. Some dimensions form neat “scales” (e.g. time, length, temperature, pressure, colour) – but others do not. “Space” and “Time” are regarded as broad categories of Attributes, and in all cases are relative to some or other reference points.
Attributes are divided in FROLIO into Reportable Assessments (those we can put into words or measurements) and Sensations (those not easily expressed). Of course Sensations may themselves have attributes, for example an intensity, or other attributes. A pain may be acute or mild, constant or intermittent, regularly recurring or random.
As with Structures, some of what we can say is “in the eye of the beholder”, in that it can represents one person's (or sentient animal's) interpretation, or at least his/her acceptance of an underlying theory or naming system.
A Scenario is a perceived state of affairs, whether past, present or future; real, mythical or fictional. The icon suggests Shakespeare's Hamlet addressing Yorick's skull.
The simplest examples of scenarios are Events, but in general Scenarios can form complex structures. They are typically based on many different events coming together in space and time. A scenario could include a chain of events.
Scenarios can belong to classes, e.g. an individual or company going bankrupt, a country descending into civil war, an actor declaiming Hamlet's “Alas poor Yorick” speech, a legal system. However such classes are often “fuzzy” or based on one human's assessment of their similarity or qualification to belong to the class.
An Idea is a thought, wish, insight or dream that forms in a human mind. Examples are a Theory (like FROLIO, Newton, Einstein, Darwin); a Belief (like “pigs can't fly”, or 6-day creationism); a Vision; a Dream (natural, daydream or nightmare); an Assumption, Abstraction or Deduction; a Policy or set of Rules; a Specialisation of human effort (“Roles”, “Skills”). The icon suggests a nerd's brainwave.
Religions form a complex Structure of Beliefs, Mythological and Historical Scenarios, Rules and Constraints, Hierarchies of Human Roles, Sensations etc. Most Theories are complex Ideas too, although within narrower Contexts.
The range of Classes of Ideas is very wide - as Terence said “Quot homines, tot sententiae” - there are as many different ideas as there are people. It can be thought of as the current “Everything Else” basket for FROLIO - so may eventually need to be analysed further.
An Action is a past, present, proposed (or imaginary) change to a Scenario, by a human, sentient animal or natural process. The icon suggests a worker operating with a set of cog wheels. However some Actions are the result of natural processes.
Actions of similar patterns can form Classes (sometimes referred to as “Activities” or “Tasks”). However detecting patterns of Action may involve a human learning process.
Structures of Actions can be termed “Processes”. Like simple Actions, these may be “learned” and/or become enshrined in “procedures”. These structures may involve dependency on output of earlier Actions, or of human skills or suitable tools or machinery.
A Literal Value is a set of symbols, signs or sounds that represent points in the scales of the Attribute dimensions. The icon suggests numbers, written characters (alphabetic, or in any script) and graphics (the green leaf under the Japanese writing).
Sometimes, Literal Values are numbers (although this often implies a measurement scale). Other times, they are names, symbols or pictures. Names (and more generally, text strings) are collections of Symbols in a certain arrangement. Multimedia Clips are a more complex collection, mixing different types of symbol.
Once Literal Values are recorded on paper, electronic media or spoken by voice however, they are then being carried by a Physical Thing.
Finally, a Relationship in FROLIO is a proposition that certain Things or Concepts come together, impact each other and evolve in some manner. This proposition can refer to the past, present or future – or as a general rule. In FROLIO we do not talk about “Facts” - we only recognise consensus about past relationships.
Relationships can form class structures, and this is a key part of the FROLIO approach. Some of the major classes of Relationship are Classification (is-a), Composition (is-part-of), Comparison (is-like, is-unlike), Deduction (follows-from), Representation (represents), Utility (is-used-for), Transformation (is-new-form-of), Will (is-desired-by).
These link you, the reader, to more details about FROLIO. The core of this website is a set of pages about relationships - links to these are on the first table below. The index in the bottom row points to a set of "diatribes" or opinionated essays, about things the author feels particularly strongly about!
|FROLIO home page||A simpler introduction to FROLIO||The elements of FROLIO||The major relationship categories|
|How FROLIO helps fight Bullshit||Index to related essays and diatribes||Author's rationale for doing all this||A reading list|
|Abstract concepts (this one)||Activities||What we can say about things and concepts||What we mean by Context|
|Why simple hierarchies aren't enough||Different types of Ideas||Things, concepts, objects and classes||Scenarios and "states of affairs"|
|Different sorts of Structures|
Some of these links may be under construction – or re-construction.
This version updated on 29th January 2010
If you have constructive suggestions or comments, please contact the author firstname.lastname@example.org .