Your example of grading papers is one example of many that can be
provided to demonstrate that the retroactive effort to translate
classifications that were developed completely independently may be too
time-consuming to be practical for many purposes. However, it does not
address the more sensible procedure of having each community develop
its classifications, ***each element of which is defined by a common
defining vocabulary***. In that case, even if the classifications were
developed separately, the retroactive alignment could not only be done
efficiently, but if the definitions were from logical specifications
(i.e. in an ontology), it could be done automatically and accurately.
The use of a common defining vocabulary is not merely a theoretical
possibility, it is something done every day by the native speakers of a
language, when they need to describe to each other what terms mean in
their respective community vocabularies - they fall back on the basic
concepts that they have in common, learned in their early years.
I have no doubt that one or some combination of the existing
foundation ontologies (perhaps needing a merger with the concepts
represented by WordNet synsets) will serve as the conceptual analog of
the linguistic defining vocabulary, and give you the common conceptual
inventory that different people can use to create their own logical
definitions in separate contexts, and find them automatically
understandable by others, because they are created as combinations of
the same basic concepts. This particular tactic has not yet been
proven to serve that purpose (because it hasn't been tried specifically
in that way) - but it makes more sense to me than any alternative way
of getting different communities of ontologies to be mutually
If your situation is such that you will never be able to get your
local communities to use the same foundation ontology to define their
local terms, then, yes, Houston, you do have a problem. But to get the
necessary foundation ontology one needn't wait for the ultimate perfect
revelation of the state of the universe, one just needs a large enough
basic concept inventory to create definitions that are good enough for
your present purposes. When new tasks appear to demand additional
basic concepts, those can be added in turn, in a manner that is
consistent with the starting set of concepts. (02)
As to whether different tasks actually require sets of basic concepts
that are logically inconsistent with each other, it may be the case,
but I haven't yet seen any examples. The "inconsistencies" I have seen
thus far (including the endurant/perdurant distinction, discussed by
Pat Hayes) are, when I examine them, not logical inconsistencies, but
merely lack of alignment due to underspecification of the details of
the conceptual categories that are used in different ontologies. When
the ambiguities are resolved, the concepts can be seen to be logically
consistent. The only real logical inconsistencies that I have seen
thus far are due to the assignment of individual real-world instances
to logically inconsistent physical models. If those different models
are treated as different physical theories (rather than as the ultimate
true form of the basic reality), they can be handled smoothly with the
theories classified as such, and in any case different physical models
are resolvable only by experiment, not by theorizing or defining. (03)
For the specific case of providing a conceptual vocabulary to define
events that may be of interest to different groups of emergency
responders, there is no reason at all that those events cannot be
described by a precise and consistent conceptual specification that
will allow the different groups to extract from each event description
those characteristics of particular interest to them and their
responses. Whether you can get those different groups to use the same
conceptual vocabulary is not a technical issue, but a sociological one.
The two issues (technical/sociological) are connected by the attribute
of usability of the conceptual vocabulary. If the basic concept set is
provided with utilities that make it easy to use, the sociological
problems may be minimal. Developing such utilities is itself a
non-trivial, and in my opinion, critical part of the process of solving
the problem of interoperability of separately developed data systems.
But it is a mistake to confuse the sociological and technical issues; a
solution needs to be aware of both. (04)
260 Industrial Way West
Eatontown NJ 07724
> -----Original Message-----
> From: ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
> [mailto:ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of
> Barker, Sean (UK)
> Sent: Saturday, June 09, 2007 4:43 AM
> To: [ontolog-forum]
> Subject: Re: [ontolog-forum] Disaster Management ontology BOF in
> Thanks for the discussion folks. I'm not sure it helps me write the
> ontology I need (for which I will be listening to a dozen different
> end-user from half a dozen countries the next few days, and
> will be off
> line). However it does highlight where I and it seems much of the
> ontology community part company.
> John's statement 2 and 3 is, to my mind, essentially a claim that
> language proposes an objective model of the universe. My view is that
> language is a human construct based on our behaviour, in particular,
> that language makes essentially arbitrary distinctions resulting the
> choices in particular cultures, and therefore it is perfectly
> to have ontologies which are separately consistent, but which are not
> translatable one to another - if consistency allows for
> non-translatability, no further problem.
> For example, I mark a student's paper according to mark schema A and
> give it a grade C (from the set a to E), Caroline marks it
> according to
> scheme B and gives it a grade 2 (in the range 1 to 10). To claim that
> these marks are consistent requires a long regress of comparing
> criteria, the rationale for criteria, the rationale for the
> rationale.... In principle I cannot see that this would be
> computable in
> finite time, and certainly not within the practicalities of actually
> doing it.
> That is, there is no Mind of God, or if there is, it would not be
> expressible as language. (I don't even believe that 2 + 2 =
> 4, 0, 1 or 3
> seem equally valid options :-).
> Sean Barker
> Bristol, UK
> This mail is publicly posted to a distribution list as part
> of a process
> of public discussion, any automatically generated statements to the
> contrary non-withstanding. It is the opinion of the author,
> and does not
> represent an official company view.
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
> > [mailto:ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of
> > John F. Sowa
> > Sent: 08 June 2007 13:57
> > To: [ontolog-forum]
> > Subject: Re: [ontolog-forum] Disaster Management ontology
> BOF in Delft
> > *** WARNING ***
> > This mail has originated outside your organization, either
> > from an external partner or the Global Internet.
> > Keep this in mind if you answer this message.
> > Bill and Wacek,
> > That is like an existence theorem in mathematics, which shows
> > that something exists without showing how to find an explicit
> > representation:
> > BA> You just gave us a recipe for how to make (IMO) a
> single ontology
> > > from Sean's "inconsistent" pieces, via the use of
> > reformulation > of his pieces to make them consistent, or
> > via use of some kind > of paraconsistency.
> > vQ> I sympathize with Bill, and would like to see a counterexample
> > > to what he says.
> > I can state another existence theorem:
> > 1. Any theory that has at least one instance must be consistent.
> > 2. Since the universe exists, any accurate description of any
> > part P of the universe has that part as an instance.
> > that description, dscr(P), must be a consistent theory.
> > 3. If P1 and P2 are two parts of the universe that coexist, then
> > dscr(P1) and dscr(P2) must each be consistent separately, and
> > their conjunction dscr(P1) & dscr(P2) must also be consistent.
> > 4. By induction, we can prove that the conjunction of all
> > descriptions
> > of all parts of the universe that coexist must be consistent.
> > 5. If we use a 4D representation of the universe and consider all
> > space-time chunks as parts, then there must be a complete and
> > consistent description of the entire universe for all time.
> > 6. Let's call that description MoG (for Mind of God).
> > We now have a recipe for discovering the Mind of God (or at
> > least a sizable chunk thereof).
> > BA> That was what I was trying to get to in my original note -
> > > talk of "one single ontology for X can't ..." is usually
> > based > on equally loose understanding of the terms
> > "ontology" and "can't".
> > I just gave a formalizable proof that there is a method for
> > solving the problem. I wish the both of you the best of luck
> > in carrying out the details.
> > John
> > _________________________________________________________________
> > Message Archives: http://ontolog.cim3.net/forum/ontolog-forum/
> > Subscribe/Config:
> > http://ontolog.cim3.net/mailman/listinfo/ontolog-forum/
> > Unsubscribe: mailto:ontolog-forum-leave@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
> > Shared Files: http://ontolog.cim3.net/file/ Community Wiki:
> > http://ontolog.cim3.net/wiki/ To Post:
> > mailto:ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
> This email and any attachments are confidential to the intended
> recipient and may also be privileged. If you are not the intended
> recipient please delete it from your system and notify the sender.
> You should not copy it or use it for any purpose nor disclose or
> distribute its contents to any other person.
> Message Archives: http://ontolog.cim3.net/forum/ontolog-forum/
> Unsubscribe: mailto:ontolog-forum-leave@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
> Shared Files: http://ontolog.cim3.net/file/
> Community Wiki: http://ontolog.cim3.net/wiki/
> To Post: mailto:ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Message Archives: http://ontolog.cim3.net/forum/ontolog-forum/
Shared Files: http://ontolog.cim3.net/file/
Community Wiki: http://ontolog.cim3.net/wiki/
To Post: mailto:ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx (08)