>Ed, et al,
>
>I'd like to add another effect: disciplines borrowing terms from others
>close to them, but inadvertantly changing the meaning in subtle ways. (01)
Yes indeed. (02)
>For example, being a computer scientist, I was shocked to find this on
>the term range":
>
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Range_%28mathematics%29
>
>At first I thought it was just a folksy effect of the wiki, but the more
>reputable Wolfram site said the same thing:
>
> http://mathworld.wolfram.com/Range.html
>
>So OWL and as the rest of computer science are using "range" a
>nonmathematical way:
>
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Range_%28computer_science%29 (03)
No, wait. There is rangemath and rangeCS, let
us agree (although in fact 'range' is used in
both disciplines in both senses). But the
OWL/RDFS sense of 'range' is closer to the first,
mathematical, sense than the second. The RDFS
semantics for rdfs:range, also adopted by OWL, is
that it is a class associated with a function
(property in W3Cspeak) which contains the
mathematical range and which is contained in the
mathematical codomain. We were aware of this
small divergence from standard usage, but to have
called it rdfs:domainContainer or some such just
seemed like a losing proposition at the time. (04)
>Idempotence is another example:
>
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Idempotent
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Idempotence_(computer_science)
> (05)
This isn't a very good example, as these really
are the same concept, almost wordforword the
same definition in fact, but they are applied to
rather different kinds of application area. But I
don't think there would be any risk of a
mathematician seriously misunderstanding what was
meant here. (06)
But here's a more serious one. The notion of
'completeness' of a logic or inference machine is
wellestablished in logic, used in virtually all
textbooks, and has a clear, simple definition. It
means that if X is a logical theorem then a proof
of X exists, so that a complete inference engine
is one which will, in principle, find a proof of
X (if left to run long enough). But the word has
been coopted and given a subtly different
meaning by a subcommunity of description
logicians, who are centrally interested in
decideable logics: for them, it means that an
engine **will terminate for any input and** will
yield a proof of X if X is a logical theorem.
That little **insert** to the standard definition
has the effect of rendering almost any
nondescription logic system "incomplete" in this
new meaning of the word. This new meaning has
been written into the OWL standard (most of which
was composed by description logicians) so that
the official W3C specs are now written embodying
a nonstandard sense of a central logical
concept, one which produces such highly
misleading (because, when understood standardly,
false) statements as that OWLFull has no
complete reasoning engine. (07)
>Of course this is just terminology, everyone agrees on the concepts
>involved. This is where is it critical to have the examples when trying
>to "ontologize" knowledge. Otherwise, huge debates arise aroung what
>are just terminological differences. (08)
Agreed. Another example which came up on the
OWL1.1 discussion recently was the notion of
'disjoint union', which has been given a
nonstandard (and genuinely faulty)
interpretation by formal ontologists, which is
not in line with its established mathematical
usage. Another example is the tendency of many
nonlogicians to confuse 'meta' with
'higherorder', which muddles many debates and
discussions, especially when precise results
using one convention are cited in debates which
use the terminology differently. (09)
Pat (010)
>
>Conrad
>
>
>
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