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Re: [ontolog-forum] Two ontologies that are inconsistent but both needed

To: "Smith, Barry" <phismith@xxxxxxxxxxx>, "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx, Kathryn Blackmond Laskey <klaskey@xxxxxxx>, "Conklin, Don" <don.conklin@xxxxxxxx>
From: Kathryn Blackmond Laskey <klaskey@xxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 13 Jun 2007 12:00:18 -0400
Message-id: <p06110405c295c26f2c3c@[]>
At 9:39 AM -0600 6/13/07, Smith, Barry wrote:
>[BS] I hope that we all agree that in major, critical, domains, such 
>as medicine or nuclear power generation a good strategy for creating 
>useful models is to seek to find out what the underlying reality is 
>like.    (01)

Of course.    (02)

In a couple of decades of building models of phenomena, many of them 
in major, critical domains, I have come to the conclusion that the 
underlying reality of the world we live in is such that the best, 
most useful models of many phenomena are probabilistic.    (03)

When I say this, I get nods from many engineers who have been in the 
trenches building models. They want to know about technologies for 
building interoperable models.    (04)

But ontologists tell me it is a category error to put probability in 
the ontology, because probability is epistemic and not ontological.    (05)

IMO, is an example of counterproductive pedantry.    (06)

Barry, you caricature Tom Gruber by saying he wants to build 
ontologies of concepts while you're building ontologies of the world. 
That ain't so. Anyone who builds an ontology is specifying a 
conceptualization.  A good ontologist specifies conceptualizations 
that are as true to the structure of the world. But an ontology IS a 
specification of a conceptualization.  It is NOT a specification of 
the reality.  Only God can specify reality.  We can describe reality 
and act in it, but we can't specify it.  We describe reality by 
specifying our conceptualizations of it, arguing over them, refining 
them, and hammering out consensus agreements on them.    (07)

If we bite the bullet and admit that ontologies specify 
conceptualizations [of a domain], then it's easy to argue that 
conceptualizations should be allowed to have probabilities when we 
don't have enough information for a complete specification.  This 
argument makes sense even if we don't think the probabilities 
themselves are ontological.    (08)

Kathy    (09)

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