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[ontolog-forum] Re: Semantics

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Internet Business Logic <ibl@xxxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 02 May 2005 20:39:50 -0400
Message-id: <4276C856.8070101@xxxxxxxx>
Hi Duane --

Good question  (Is it true that a formal ontology is a circular reference pattern?).

That would seem to be true of an ordinary dictionary or thesaurus, and also of wordnet.  Perhaps the semantic-value-add is in the relations that are established between words, and between sentencesIn wordnet, software can directly use the specialization-generalization relations between words.  But software can not use the relations between wordnet's example sentences without first solving the "AI-complete" problem of full natural language understanding by software.

Turning to ontologies, it looks as though an OWL ontology may be able to exit any circular reference loop by inventing new terminal strings, such as the URI
or new literals such as "madeFromGrape".  Then I guess some semantic-value-add happens if different groups of people start to use the same URI or literal to mean the same thing.

However, I'm uneasy about the lack of relations between English sentences in OWL.  The only place these occur is in comments that machines don't use, yet the sentences are obviously a rich repository of real world meaning.

For more semantic-value-add, one can think of syllogisms.  A syllogism can be viewed as an executable rule that establishes a relation between English sentences -- a relation that the machines can use directly.

Just my 2 cents worth.  I hope other folks will dive into this.

                                                 Cheers,   -- Adrian

Internet Business Logic  --  online at www.reengineeringllc.com

Reengineering LLC,  PO Box 1412,  Bristol,  CT 06011-1412,  USA

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Duane Nickull wrote:

Thank you for this feedback.  I had a thought strike me whilst reading.  Please forgive the naive nature of this question.

Is it true that a formal ontology is a circular reference pattern, albeit a very indirect, complicated and very large one?  Does any definition assume the knowledge of other axioms in a model, that themselves may be dependent upon the definition one is trying to clarify?
This is probably a newbie question answered in Ontology 101.


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