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Re: [ontolog-forum] [ontology-summit] PLEASE, PLEASE!!

To: ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Cc: "Uschold, Michael F" <michael.f.uschold@xxxxxxxxxx>
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 06 Mar 2007 19:01:07 -0500
Message-id: <45EE00C3.6000901@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Folks,    (01)

Note:  I redirected this reply to ontolog-forum instead
of ontology-summit, and I copied all the people who
replied to this thread on ontology-summit.    (02)

MFU> After all, 'folklore' does not imply a slur....    (03)

I agree.  Folklore is an important body of literature and
related cultural contributions.  I mean it in a folksy
way when I address the folks on this email list.    (04)

But the word "folk" was used as a slur by behaviorists in
the phrase "folk psychology".  That's an inappropriate term
for the work of some of the world's greatest philosophers
and psychologists from from Aristotle to William James.
My recommendation for that level of description is
"classical psychology".    (05)

For the term "folksonomy", I don't know the motives
of the people who use the word, but I have never seen
anybody use it to describe their own work.  Therefore,
I recommend that we use whatever term the authors apply
to their own productions.    (06)

PD> do you mean to say that being a "map between natural
 > languages and artificial languages" is a defining
 > characteristic of an ontology?
 > In other words, that in the absence of that characteristic
 > some X that is under discussion is not an ontology?    (07)

AT> While ontology without doubt serve as a map between
 > natural languages and artificial languages they also serve
 > as a map between artificial languages.    (08)

By definition, the field of ontology is the study of existence,
and "an ontology" is a characterization of some entities that
have been investigated by that field.  The support of translation
between languages, natural or artificial, would be an important
application (and probably the main goal of people on this list).    (09)

The founder of the subject was Aristotle (although he himself
did not use the word "ontology").  And he developed his original
categories through an analysis of the vocabulary and grammar of
a natural language (Greek).  He also developed the first version
of formal logic -- his method of syllogisms -- in a stylized
or controlled version of Greek.    (010)

Shortly after Aristotle died, the question arose about how
he interpreted his own categories -- whether he intended them
as modes of characterizing things that exist or as ways of
talking about things that exist.  Theophrastus, his successor
as head of the Lyceum, replied that Aristotle intended them
in both senses.    (011)

AT> In summary:
 > (1) Ontology serves as a map between natural languages and
 > artificial languages for information (or knowledge) access.
 > (2) Ontology serves as a map between heterogeneous artificial
 > languages to enable homogeneous decision support based on
 > heterogeneous information infrastructures by enabling
 > semantically aligned exchange of information (or knowledge).    (012)

I agree.  And I believe there is a precedent for that approach
going back at least to Theophrastus, if not to Aristotle himself.    (013)

John    (014)

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