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Re: [ontolog-forum] Ontology and methodology

To: Duane Nickull <dnickull@xxxxxxxxx>
Cc: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Pat Hayes <phayes@xxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 19 Mar 2007 13:47:02 -0500
Message-id: <p0623090cc22488fb15ab@[]>
>Once again, doesn't the entire conversation boil down to the definitions of
>employee and person?    (01)

Well, yes and no. Yes, in a sense, its all about saying exactly what 
one means by 'employee' and 'person'. But no for several reasons.    (02)

1. Its not really a matter of giving *definitions* of these terms 
(its probably impossible to do that) so much as coming to an 
agreement about how best to relate them, and what KIND of thing they 
are. Is a person three-dimensional and fully existing at every moment 
in time? Like a frame in a holographic movie? Or is a person 
something that extends through time from the person's birth to the 
person's death, a 4-dimensional entity? It is very unlikely that a 
normal definition of 'person' would resolve this issue, but it is 
absolutely essential to get it resolved when writing formal content.    (03)

2. Its not 'boiling down': the issues being debated here about roles 
vs properties, 4-d versus 3-d etc. would apply to any number of cases 
like employee/person. That is only a handy example to hang the 
discussion on.    (04)

3. And its not a matter of giving definitions of (say) roles, either 
(though that can be useful for the meta-discussion we are having). 
Suppose someone defines 'role' crisply enough that we can all 
understand what they mean. Still, the question arises of whether or 
not we want to construct our ontology this way; and also of, if we 
do, what kinds of property should be classified as roles. Even when 
the definition is clear, whether or not something is an instance need 
not be.    (05)

Pat    (06)

>    (07)

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