© Roger M Tagg 2008, revised 2010
The diagram in the upper left below shows the main elements (as blue ovals) in FROLIO, expressed as a class hierarchy. Since one of the aims of FROLIO is to reduce language sensitivity, the lower left version shows the same structure with simple icons substituted for element names. The table on the right shows a key for the English language version.
Note that the ovals and the icons all represent classes of things, rather than individual instances.
If we were looking at FROLIO in a language other than English, the lower left diagram would stay the same; only the names of the elements (and their definitions) would be changed. However the definitions in the different languages should be aligned to ensure common understanding.
Critics might well say "well, Roger, all your little clip art icons are still a language". True, but I think they are more neutral and less prone to hi-jacking than our own languages. Maybe some societies don't have multi-container trash bins yet, though!
FROLIO regards everything that we can talk or write about as a “Thing”. Here we distinguish 2 main types of Thing, Physical Things and Abstract Concepts.
The rule for Physical Things is that a human (or sentient animal) must be able to recognize it through one of the primary senses of sight, hearing, smell or touch - or - we must be able to measure its presence with a metering or sensing device that can show what is being automatically sensed through the same four senses. Physical Things can be divided into Bounded Objects (where we can be clear what is part of the object and what is not); Generic Substances (where the same doesn’t apply – e.g. a liquid, gel or gas); and Natural Phenomena (not shown here). Bounded Objects can be Living or Inanimate. Living Objects can be Sentient or Vegetable. Persons (like you and I) are somewhere down the hierarchy of Sentient Living Objects. Such a hierarchy is an example of a relationship structure, which will be discussed later. Click here for more on Physical Objects.
Everything else FROLIO regards as an Abstract Concept, which is described in more detail on a separate page.
The distinction between Physical Things and Abstract Concepts is sometimes rather arbitrary. Abstract Concepts here include not only thoughts and ideas but also Extra Sensory Perception, "gut feel" etc. However FROLIO includes fictional things (e.g. James Bond or Middle Earth) or mythological things (e.g. Hercules or Camelot) under Physical Things, on the basis that they would have been sensed through the five senses if they had been real. However they would need to be flagged as real, historical, mythological or imaginary (ignoring for the moment what happens if some say a physical thing is real and others say it isn’t).
The purpose of FROLIO is not primarily to provide a structure for computerised "Artificial Intelligence" or other forms of computerised reasoning. Most current ontologies seem too simplistic to address more than a very limited range of perspectives. Instead, it aims to help the process of clear thinking and understanding of the limits of our legacy modes of thought and communication. If anything could be deduced, it would be statistical at best.
We ought to guard against creating any theory - or belief system - that tries to force reality into its structure.
|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||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 27
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