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Re: [ontolog-forum] Disaster Management ontology BOF in Delft

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 08 Jun 2007 01:42:23 -0400
Message-id: <4668EC3F.7060005@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Sean, Bill, Pat C., Pat H., et al.,    (01)

The case when more than one ontology applies to a given event is
more common than not.  Any object or event can be viewed from an
open-ended number of ways, depending on the viewer and the viewer's
level of interest and involvement.    (02)

Furthermore, words such as 'good', 'bad', or 'disaster' can apply
to anything in the universe.  The word 'disaster', for example,
could be applied to a spoiled dinner, a traffic accident, a tornado,
a flood, or an asteroid that destroys a continent.    (03)

For each of those kinds of disasters, the relevant ontology would
have more types and relations that pertain to the thing that was
damaged and the means for addressing it than to any principles
that apply to disasters in general.    (04)

BA> ... then  one of these must be the case:
> 1) The factor ontologies are inconsistent when combined, in which
> case there's not much point in talking about E in the first place
> except in the sense the representation so made could be read by
> humans (for which we already have great natural languages).
> 2) The factor ontologies are not inconsistent when combine, in
> which case could you clear up what you meant by "I don't think
> that "event" can be represented by a single ontology", since
> clearly in this case they can be so used.    (05)

Those are two important points, but they don't exhaust all the
options.  There are many cases where the ontologies happen to have
some features that create inconsistencies, but with some revisions
those inconsistencies could be eliminated by redefining some of
the terms.  There are also many cases where the same thing is
viewed at different levels of granularity or from different
perspectives.  Any inconsistencies caused by such methods
could also be eliminated, in principle.    (06)

However, the job of eliminating every one of the inconsistencies
that could arise could take an enormous amount of effort.  Instead
of striving for a global consistency of everything, it might be
better to adopt methods that don't require global consistency.    (07)

John Sowa    (08)

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