[Top] [All Lists]

Re: [ontolog-forum] (OT) German

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Stavros Macrakis" <macrakis@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 14 Jan 2008 13:16:52 -0500
Message-id: <8b356f880801141016q70459317y3d554dbe747a41ab@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
> Excellent example of why it is better, when trying to do ontology, to think 
>about what is
> being decribed, ie what there is, ie do ONTOLOGY, rather than linguistics or 
>conceptual analysis.    (01)

Yes, I understand that that's the goal of ontology.    (02)

However, though you may well be able to cut nature at its joints when
you're talking about squirrels vs. bluebirds, things get harder when
you don't know where the joints are, or where the joints change with
time and place.    (03)

Consider a treaty about the rights of mothers which was written before
in-vitro fertilization made surrogate mothers possible or before
same-sex marriage was legalized in some jurisdictions; it might not
define "mother" unambiguously in those cases (if it does not specify
whether a 'biological' mother is one who gave birth to the child, or
one who is genetically a parent), or may even be logically
inconsistent (if it assumes that a child has exactly one female legal
parent, for example). This sort of situation is bound to arise in a
variety of areas, and I don't think it works to assume that every
possibility will be covered in advance (the axiomatization of all
knowledge and law!), or that the ontology will be revised every time
medicine or law changes.    (04)

I don't claim that automated reasoning can somehow discover the
"correct" result in cases like this, but rather that you might want to
accept that some situations are "like" motherhood.  What do you do
with that?  Well, you might simply want to kick out these cases to
humans (specifically lawyers :-) ) rather than blithely assume your
categorization deals with them correctly.    (05)

> ...To cover all the possibilities you describe evidently requires some care 
>in choosing
> these and some more care in describing their relationships: an adequate 
>ontology for
> 'mother' in all its complexity will be quite intricate.    (06)

It seems unreasonably ambitious to believe that you can describe all
these relationships completely for all time.  At the same time, it
seems that you're throwing out useful information (not capturing a
generalization, I guess the linguists would say) to treat
"foster-mother" as concept 234Z34 and "surrogate mother" as concept
P23RA4 without somehow connecting them to the concept of mother, even
though they have almost zero characteristics in common (being female
and having some sort of legal relationship to a child is about it).    (07)

                -s    (08)

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    (09)

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>