I am glad to see that Matthew has grasped the point about intended meanings:
> MW: But no amount of logic can capture *all* the meaning of a term.
> There is
> still the model theory and the intended interpretation that is beyond
> MW: I will happily agree that capturing more of the meaning in the
> logic is
> better than capturing less, since it increases the amount that can be
> automated. It is just never possible to capture all of it.
With the exception of the ontology elements that can be specified by
necessary and sufficient conditions, there will almost always be things that
*could* be said about the entities represented by an ontology that are not
in fact specified logically. Those things can be stated or implied by
documentation that makes clear to programmers the intended meaning of
ontology elements, even though those facts are not expressed logically. If
there were no computational overhead to be concerned about, and infinite
time in which to create the ontology, all those facts would be included.
But in practice many potential relations are left out, solely for the
pragmatic reason that what is in the ontology is enough for the current
applications that use it. The documentation can try to make the intended
meaning clear (especially by referenced to included and excluded examples)
so that, when new applications do need additional information to be
specified logically, the ontologists will know where it belongs within the
existing framework. For example, whether to create a new subtype or
supertype depending on whether one wants to specialize or generalize a type
already in the ontology. Documentation can also help reduce residual
ambiguity of elements that are not specified by necessary and sufficient
conditions, and in that way reduce the chances that a programmer will misuse
the element (e.g. not mix up an "Employee Identification Number" and a
"Social Security Number" unless they are identical in some enterprise).
Given the continued increase in knowledge, I would imagine it to be
noncontroversial that it is impossible to formalize all possible knowledge.
The task of the FO is to formalize just enough of it to serve the practical
needs of accurate semantic interoperability, by serving as a means to
translate among other ontologies. (02)
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