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Re: [ontolog-forum] Two

To: "'[ontolog-forum] '" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Chris Partridge" <mail@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 22 Jun 2007 20:23:38 +0100
Message-id: <011301c7b502$d735ae50$0200a8c0@POID7204>
Peter,    (01)

Perhaps I can explain my motivation.    (02)

My work in ontological engineering focuses on ontologies for largish
business operational systems. In these, it is extremely useful to have a
semantically consistent framework across large and varied data sets. I have
found that for this it is useful/essential to have a good(ish) top ontology.
I have found that much of what exists in this top ontology is formal and
metaphysical - and that a rudimentary understanding of metaphysics is
useful/essential in devising and (at the beginning) using the top ontology.    (03)

Pat's original (I think, mischievous) comment about adopting a DIY approach
seems to me a recipe for disaster for this kind of work - hence my response.
I was attempting to point out what I saw as some inconsistencies in his
rationalisation of his position and clarifying it - so that, hopefully, a
useful/essential approach was not dismissed out of hand.    (04)

So my concern was more about blocking a retreat rather than making an
advance. I am guessing that Pat's dog metaphor shows that we (Pat and I)
have reached some kind of conclusion. I am not sure whether this advances
anything much.    (05)

If I may, I'd like to restate Pat's dog story is more boring but less
uncomplimentary terms to make the conclusion clearer.    (06)

It is normal practice for engineers to build their artefacts and theories
selectively taking material from relevant sciences. Given the different
goals and objectives of the engineering and scientific communities, it is
unsurprising that the scientists from whom engineers borrow this material
are often not the best judges of how to use it for engineering ends. Though
they might be good at spotting how their material is being grossly misused
or misunderstood.    (07)

I think I detected in Pat's dog story a grudging acceptance that, for
example, re-using some pertinent bits of metaphysics might by useful in a
top ontology - so long as one realised that the opinions of the
metaphysicians developed internally in philosophical communities should not
be expected to have any special relevance to the application of their work
in ontological engineering.    (08)

Pat, am I at all right here?    (09)

On second thoughts, if Pat does agree then I think this would a small
advance. And Pat's dog story or my re-rendering could be regarded as a
relevant conclusion.    (010)

Chris    (011)

>-----Original Message-----
>From: ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:ontolog-forum-
>bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Peter F Brown
>Sent: 21 June 2007 22:54
>To: [ontolog-forum] ; Pat Hayes
>Subject: Re: [ontolog-forum] Two
>Could someone sum up where this thread is going? Or is it just a
>philosophical stroll in the park (or Platonic cave, I'm not sure
>what...)? Frankly, apart from a partially illuminating Philosophy 101,
>has anything actually been said that advances the cause of ontological
>research and practice? If so, someone care to draw some conclusions?
>-----Original Message-----
>From: ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
>[mailto:ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Alan
>Sent: 21 June 2007 23:22
>To: [ontolog-forum] ; Pat Hayes
>Subject: Re: [ontolog-forum] Two
>On Jun 21, 2007, at 4:51 PM, Pat Hayes wrote:
>> And if you subscribe to for example  public-semweb-lifesci@xxxxxx
>> (or look in the recent archives) you  will see hard-nosed, busy,
>> practical men who are trying to build  systems of direct social and
>> scientific importance, having  interminable debates about whether
>> or not a computational process has  to be distinguished from a
>> physical process because one is a  continuant but the other is an
>> occurrent. All of which is a tragic  waste of time and energy.
>a) I think this subject came up at the beginning of the month or so,
>at worst, a portion of discussion during a period of 3 weeks has been
>tragically wasted. Also, as you point out on occasion, these
>discussions are finite, and so the debates are certainly not
>interminable :)
>b) Being one of those people, I don't happen to think that the
>discussion is a waste of time. There is a lot of (well meaning but)
>sloppy thinking that happens on that list, and the discussions on
>computation processes are, at a minimum, educational. They seem, to
>my experience, the normal sort of discussion a group of people have
>as they move towards a common understanding.
>Hard nosed, busily, practically, yours,
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