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Re: [ontolog-forum] A "common basis"

To: "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Kathryn Blackmond Laskey <klaskey@xxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 02 May 2007 18:35:01 -0400
Message-id: <p06110406c25ec28e63bb@[]>
+1    (01)

At 5:21 PM -0500 5/2/07, Christopher Menzel wrote:
>On May 2, 2007, at 4:08 PM, Adam Pease wrote:
>>  ...
>>  Rather than just imagining some fatal flaw exists, I think it's
>>  incumbent on those who claim a common upper ontology is impossible to
>>  give at least one example, as a logical proof, of such a flaw.
>I agree with that, Adam.  My own expression of skepticism in an 
>earlier post was not rooted in the idea that there is a fatal flaw in 
>the idea of a reasonably comprehensive upper ontology.  To the 
>contrary, I don't see any reason at all why there couldn't be one; 
>indeed it seems clear that there already are several candidates.  I 
>am simply skeptical of two things:  (1) Whether there is any coherent 
>sense in which such an on ontology could ever function as any sort of 
>"medium" for supporting general interoperability (which is what the 
>person from NASA seemed to be advocating) and (2) even if the answer 
>to (1) is "yes", I am skeptical of whether such an approach would 
>have any advantage over a straightforward "federated" approach on 
>which distinct ontologies are integrated in a more piecemeal fashion; 
>I am, that is, skeptical of the extent to which an upper ontology is 
>needed to *support* interoperability.
>That said, having in fact authored a small piece of the SUMO myself, 
>as you well know :-) , I am *not* of the opinion that the 
>construction of these comprehensive upper ontologies is wasted 
>effort.  For several of the existing candidates, SUMO in particular, 
>offer very nice modular axiomatizations of a wide variety of 
>conceptual and empirical domains, from class theory to time to 
>material objects.  Even if a comprehensive upper ontology as a whole 
>might not be particularly useful for interoperability, many of its 
>various pieces could definitely serve as the axiomatic underpinnings 
>of a variety of more specialized ontologies.  So I'm all for 
>continuing their developments.
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