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

To: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Cc: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Pat Hayes <phayes@xxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 8 Jun 2007 16:55:40 -0500
Message-id: <p06230919c28f7fd33b55@[]>
>Those three statements are completely consistent:
>   1. ...there must be a complete and consistent description of the
>      entire universe for all time.
>   2. Instead of striving for a global consistency of everything, it
>      might be better to adopt methods that don't require global
>      consistency.
>   3. The kind of higher level of abstraction I would recommend would
>      be a metalevel ontology that can relate different ontologies
>      and generate new categories to extend an ontology as needed.
>Point #1 is a statement that omniscience is possible for an infinite
>mind, such as God's.  It is a paraphrase of a similar point by Leibniz.
>Point #2 is a recognition that none of us are God.  Therefore, we must
>make do with less ambitious methods that do not require omniscience.
>In a similar vein, Leibniz said that no finite mind (such as the mind
>of any human) can ever fully explore all the aspects of any empirical
>Point #3 is a recommended strategy for making incremental improvements
>to our limited methods.  It won't let us achieve #1 in any finite time,
>but it might help us extend and relate our limited views.    (01)

If I may briefly rain on this parade, I really don't think that the 
task that prompted this discussion needs us to get anywhere close to 
divine omniscience. I suspect it can be done by a relatively 
straightforward piece of OWL.    (02)

It might be good to have some actual pieces of data, perhaps faked 
for an exercise, to cut our teeth on. Can anyone illustrate what is 
supposed to be the difficulty, involving the use of several different 
disaster codes, with a toy example? We will then be able to make a 
more reasonable guess of how, if at all, a single ontology might be 
constructed.    (03)

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