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Re: [ontolog-forum] Ontology and methodology

To: Florian Probst <f.probst@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Cc: "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Pat Hayes <phayes@xxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 20 Mar 2007 17:02:48 -0500
Message-id: <p0623090cc22607fe7987@[]>
>Pat Hayes wrote:
>>>  Inline:
>>>  On 3/20/07 10:58 AM, "Cassidy, Patrick J." <pcassidy@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
>>>>   Pat Hayes raised several issues I think are worth further discussion,
>>>>   but I would like to focus on 2 of them:
>>>>     (1) Hasn't building a common foundation ontology already been tried?
>>>  DN: I believe both SUMO and DOLCE qualify here, yes?
>>  SUMO, but not DOLCE. I would describe DOLCE as a framework rather
>>  than an ontology. But given PatC's further explanation, I concede
>>  that what he is talking about has never been achieved. An 'upper'
>>  ontology isn't the same thing as a basic set of concepts out of which
>>  you can define all others. That is much more ambitious.
>Dear Pat,
>I am curious to learn why you consider DOLCE a framework rather than an
>ontology.    (01)

Well, its only a terminological point, but it 
doesn't seem to me that DOLCE really has very 
much actual ontological content. But I may not be 
doing it justice, please don't take my remark too 
seriously.    (02)

>DOLCE and BFO seem to me the most rigorous and philosophically
>sound attempts to provide structure to domain ontologies that are
>currently available.    (03)

Well, I disagree about the philosophical 
soundness, but let us leave that argument for 
another time. They attempt to provide structure, 
yes, but not (I think) of the kind that PatC was 
urging that we try to create. PatC's vision is 
more like the set of basic words of an 
ontological dictionary; DOLCE is more like an 
overarching metaphysical framework. But as I say, 
its a delicate distinction and Im not entirely 
sure of it, so lets not get into a pointless 
argument about relative status.    (04)

>  What is the purpose of a foundational ontology if
>not to serve as common denominator? Or in your words, as a set of
>concepts out of which you can define all others?    (05)

Well, yes. Do you think you can use DOLCE to 
*define* all other concepts? I would be amazed if 
you could.    (06)

>I think, Patrick C made
>an important point by asking how to relate the many different formalized
>conceptualizations (domain ontologies) if not via a small set of concepts.    (07)

By writing axioms and/or translation rules which 
do the relating, is how. It takes work, and a 
degree of willingness to immerse oneself in alien 
ways of thought, but it can be done.    (08)

>For geographic space, any country has its own geographic coordinate
>system and specialized map projections. The world that these maps
>represent is in all maps the same, yet it might be differently depicted
>(represented). In cartography, coordinate transformation is a long
>solved problem, because it was possible to define a "geodetic datum".
>If  two cartographers commit to such a geodetic datum, they can
>translate the positions represented in one map(projection) into another.
>Why not achieving such a "semantic datum" for ontologies?    (09)

Briefly, because there is no reason to suppose 
that it is possible, and lots of reasons to 
suppose that it is impossible. As I said in an 
earlier email to (I think) Paula, conceptual 
"space" isn't like physical space. We don't even 
know if it has a meaningful topology, let alone a 
metric geometry (which was required for the 
geographers).    (010)

Pat    (011)

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