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Re: [ontolog-forum] Ontology and methodology

To: "David Decraene" <David@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Cc: "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Pat Hayes <phayes@xxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 19 Mar 2007 10:28:22 -0500
Message-id: <p06230906c2245a8531d5@[]>
>  >FP> Why should employee be a role while chair is not?
>>For very good reasons:  a chair can be recognized by the
>>properties it has in itself without looking at anything else
>>(but one can use things that are not chairs *as* a chair).
>>But you can't tell whether a person is an employee without
>>considering something else.  See the KR book for a discussion
>>of Firstness, Secondness, and Thirdness.
>To add to the discussion:
>It might be hard to recognize a transferase (kind of enzyme) by the 
>properties it has, but maybe not impossible, so we enter the grey 
>zone there, is it a role, or an actual enzyme characterized by the 
>possible role/function it (can) bear?
>Simply said, identifying whether something is a 'natural kind' or a 
>role might be very hard in some cases and completely depends on the 
>level of granularity of your ontology or the background of the 
>modeler.    (01)

+1. Absolutely right. Which illustrates what I believe to be a very 
important lesson for practical ontology. I will state it in 
deliberately trenchant terms.    (02)

If anyone tries to convince you that you must accept a fundamental 
ontological distinction which appears to have a philosophical or 
linguistic motivation, do not acceded to this idea until you have 
tested it out on YOUR domain. There is a very good chance that 
whoever wrote the book explaining why this distinction 
(role/natural-kind, or continuant/occurrent, or whatever) is 
fundamental was basing their thinking on very simple, naive examples, 
and knew absolutely nothing about the topic you are trying to capture 
in your ontology. In a nutshell, philosophers typically know jack 
about anything other than philosophy.    (03)

BTW, one of the motivations behind the design of Common Logic was to 
eliminate as many 'philosophical' distinctions from the logic as 
possible. We got it all down to one single category of names, 
eliminating the individual/property/relation/function distinctions. 
It is as ontologically neutral as we could get it, I think as it is 
possible for a formal language to be.    (04)

Pat Hayes
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phayesAT-SIGNihmc.us       http://www.ihmc.us/users/phayes    (05)

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