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RE: [ontolog-forum] Re: Semantics

To: ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
From: Robert.Miller@xxxxxxx
Date: Tue, 3 May 2005 11:08:46 -0400
Message-id: <6EE295F4F386AC48B4FF6EB0CDBABD74090FB0B7@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>

Ron Schuldt writes:

Isn't it also safe to say that any ontology must select a definition for a given word and then use it consistently throughout the ontology - regardless the other possible uses?



Chris Menzel writes:

If I want to keep using "widget" with my meaning, I can rename occurrences of "widget" in O1 systematically (with "O1-widget", say) and the ambiguity disappears.


Chris also says:

But one of the points of building an ontology is to *fix* meaning and thereby to *avoid* confusion.


I suggest that the point of building an ontology is to document meaning and thereby enhance understanding.  That the meaning of words/terms/phrases may differ with context is a given.  An ontology should routinely include context in its architecture, such that it is capable for example of documenting multiple meanings of a 'widget' along with their associated contexts.  Note that I do not suggest that ambiguity will 'disappear'.  Nor do I see that as a practical goal.  Since an ontology that tracks a real world will grow/morph over time, meanings cannot be 'fixed'.  On the other hand, inference machines work pretty well when presented with fuzzy data. 




         Bob Miller


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