|To:||"[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>|
|From:||Pat Hayes <phayes@xxxxxxx>|
|Date:||Fri, 25 Jan 2008 10:32:56 -0600|
At 11:43 AM +0000 1/25/08, <matthew.west@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
MW: No. It was you that introduced the word "scientific".
The examples given by Chris to illustrate his intended meaning were all scientific theories. The word 'fruitful' is used in philosophy of science, to refer to scientific theories. Chris seems to have hijacked it to mean something else. Apparently, there is simply a muddle here about what a 'theory' is. If we don't put a stop to this, we will soon be debating what "is" means.
MW: How would you distiguish his use of the word "theory" from the meaning that you would ascribe to it in a computing sense?
He is defining "ontology" in its philosophical sense. I have no idea what he means by 'theory', but 'system of thought' sounds pretty ambitious for an IT concept.
MW: In what way is it different?
We here refer to ontologies as computational artifacts. We engineer them, and invent formalisms to write them in. For us, the ontology itself describes things that exist. For Lowe, the ontology is the things that are described, not their description. Also for Lowe, there is no such thing as a formalization of an ontology (or if there is, it is incidental, a mere tool to clarify some point), whereas for us, an 'unformalized ontology' is merely a preliminary sketch. For Lowe, the notion of 'ontology engineering' would be incoherent, meaningless. Also, if anyone doubts that the two fields are different, let them just try reading some actual philosophical ontology (see for example the article on ontology in the Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy.)
In what sense is the set of things that a system will let you hold information about not its ontology? If it is not its ontology, what is it?
I have no idea what we are talking about. What is a "system"? What is "information"? At this level of generality any coherent meaning evaporates, and we are just tossing word-salad at one another.
MW: Perhaps, but it might also be skill in the knowledge extraction process that enables the "fruitfulness" that Chris refers to.
If so, it would be far more useful for Chris to tell us how this skill is achieved, because that is truly remarkable. I work with people who do this for a living, and Ive never heard any of them claim to be able to get useful KE done without some iteration, except by a rare stroke of very good luck.
MW: After your response to Pat C advising him to favour an ontology of time that did not make a commitment to a continuous or granular view of time, exactly the kind of fruitfuness in design Chris and I are advocating, I am surprised that you would say that.
Thats got nothing to do with 'unforseen'. I know exactly what will break when either of these is put into a core time ontology.
Fruitfulness in design, for me, has a lot to do with not closing off possibilities unnecessarily.
Why did you or Chris not just say THAT, then, rather than introducing this new, wooly, under-defined vague general notion? Already in this forum I have read posts which are taking the understanding of the term in diametrically opposite directions (don't include too much stuff/include everything possible; make it general/don't make it too general, bottom-up/top-down. Im waiting to see if we get middle-out; silly-mid-off can only be around the corner.)
This is not so much a matter of forseeing future requirements, as designing, in a way that allows what is possible.
MW: Yes, I think you are at cross purposes. I suspect that one of the problems here is that you would take what I would call fruitful design as obvious, but it is not so frequently practised. A good test of fruitful design is that it does not make any statements that are not true under all circumstances
Hmm. Might be better called Tautologous Design, from this description :-)
(in any context to bring together two threads). It is precisly this that makes a piece of ontology portable, reusable, and hence fruitful.
MW: I think you are getting too hung up on this unforseen thing. It is not the main point
It was the *defining* point in Chris' presentation.
You know, with the best will in the world, I really DO NOT WANT TO KNOW what you and Chris take 'fruitful' to mean. I know what Keats meant, and thats enough for me. I want us to talk about ontology engineering. If you think some piece of management NewSpeak is of real utility for our goals, please bring the matter down to earth and tell us more concretely what you think we should be doing and/or not doing (like below). But I just don't have time to put myself through another of these BS tortures. Ive been to excruciating courses on Total Quality Management, Ive read more books than I care to remember about how to do better IT engineering by following some new slogan or new Method. (Perhaps its because managers have so little to actually do, that they write all this stuff?)
, reusability, flexibility, and extensibility are the results of fruitfulness, whether or not you can forsee all the consequences that this might bring. The kind of behaviours that lead to this are not placing constraints at a higher level in the ontology than they truly reside
Well, that's a pretty good rule, I agree. Are there any others?
, just because other parts of a larger ontology are not part of the requirements this time - one of John Sowa's hobby horses, and another way of saying what I said above, about making statements that are true in all circumstances.
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