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Re: [ontolog-forum] Ontology and methodology

To: Pat Hayes <phayes@xxxxxxx>
Cc: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Florian Probst <f.probst@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 21 Mar 2007 11:56:29 +0100
Message-id: <46010F5D.8090807@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Pat Hayes wrote:
>> 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.
> 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.
>> DOLCE and BFO seem to me the most rigorous and philosophically
>> sound attempts to provide structure to domain ontologies that are
>> currently available.
> 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.
>>  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?
> Well, yes. Do you think you can use DOLCE to *define* all other 
> concepts? I would be amazed if you could.
no, of course not. The foundational ontology provides an entry point for 
introducing new (domain level) concepts with which one is able to make a 
certain conceptualization explicit. If the foundational ontology would 
allow to define all concepts exhaustively, then the number of concepts 
and the number of conceptualizations would be fixed, which is obviously 
not a good idea. In contrast, if a domain ontology engineer commits to a 
foundational ontology, some other domain ontology engineer can grasp the 
general lines of conceptualization. The foundational ontology provides 
the "foundation" for making a specialized conceptualization explicit. Of 
course new concepts needs to be added in order to arrive at a domain 
ontology. If concepts are added that carry the same name, yet are 
attached to different foundational ontology concepts differences in the 
conceptualization can easily be tracked.    (01)

>> 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.
> 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.
I suppose that developing a domain ontology serves
1) to make a certain conceptualization (world view) explicit
2) to provide meaning to symbols that are used to denote those entities 
that are instances of the concepts made explicit in the ontology.
I am only sure about the meanings of symbols in my own ontology. How 
should I know what the symbols in your ontology denote, if I have no (!) 
agreed on entry point for understanding your conceptualization? How do 
you make sure that the axioms and/or translation rules you are proposing 
do justice to my ontology?
It seems not appropriate to rely on natural language semantics for 
translating between ontologies, since it is the purpose of the ontology 
to disambiguate the natural language semantics.
Can you translate between two ontologies where all "words" are 
(consistently) encrypted? You can match symbols, but I guess you can not 
assure that the symbols keep their meanings. But isn't the possibility 
to negotiate meaning the central benefit of building ontologies?    (02)

>> 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?
> 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).
> Pat
>    (03)

GI-Days 2007 "Young Researchers Forum": http://www.gi-days.de    (04)

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