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Re: [ontolog-forum] Axiomatic ontology

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Wacek Kusnierczyk <Waclaw.Marcin.Kusnierczyk@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 22 Feb 2008 22:53:10 +0100
Message-id: <47BF4446.3030207@xxxxxxxxxxx>
See some silly comments below (I keep a longer snippet first since the 
thread has not been active for a while).    (01)

Ed Barkmeyer wrote:
> John F. Sowa wrote:
>> There is a very big difference between searching the WWW
>> for an arbitrary triple and searching for an exact match.
> Indeed. That is why I wrote quoted strings for some of the search 
> results and tuples for the others.
>> If you check Google for a quoted string, you get:
>>    "A tulip is a flower"    12 hits
>>    "A flower is a plant"    44 hits
>>    "A flower is a skunk"     0 hits
>>    "Flower is a skunk"      11 hits
> John is employing some filter on the Google results.  When I ask for 
> matches on "flower is a skunk", it reported 1100 hits, not 11.  For 
> "tulip is a flower" it reported 6070 hits, not 12, and for "a tulip is a 
> flower" 3600 hits.
>> That is not bad at all.
> Nor is it good for anything.  Is it clear that "a tulip is a flower" 
> means "every tulip is a flower"?  I seem to recall that 19th century 
> logicians spent a great deal of time arguing about this.  A search on 
> "tulips are flowers" gets only 724 hits, while "flowers are tulips" gets 
> 2700!  Note also that one gets only 1 hit on "every tulip is a flower", 
> and that is from a logic text.  "All tulips are flowers" gets 8 hits, 
> but "all flowers are tulips" gets 6!  Out of context, the Web is 
> seriously misinformed (to say nothing of in-context misinformation 
> promulgated by the ignorant).
> I admit that "flower is a skunk" was a ringer.  I chose it precisely to 
> demonstrate that the symbol "flower" has more than one well-understood 
> meaning, and taking any bald statement about "flower" out of context 
> makes it very difficult to determine which of two almost totally 
> unrelated meanings was intended.  I should think that these concepts 
> could, however, be easily separated by examining the use of "flower" 
> with other concepts related to flowers (of the plant kind).
> But there are much more difficult cases. "A flower is a plant" and "A 
> flower is a part of a plant" demand importantly different definitions of 
> the term "flower".  But they will appear so commonly with most of the 
> related terms that any naive algorithm for extracting the distinction 
> from an arbitrary Web-based text corpus will become very confused.
> Avril asserted that one can get an ontology this way.  If "ontology" is 
> weakened to mean "a statistical association of a body of terms", then 
> what she says is true.  We can conclude "flower" is somehow related to 
> "plant", and "tulip" and "stem" and "leaf" often occur in the same 
> contexts.  But we can never get the distinction between "flower" the 
> verb that applies to plants, "flower" the botanical part, and "flower" 
> the synonym for "flowering plant" from a simple association mechanism. 
> And the vagaries of natural language usage, and the inaccuracies in 
> phraseology on the Web, together with the proximity in meaning of these 
> terms, are such that one cannot reliably refine that set of associations 
> to a formal ontology suitable for automated reasoning.
Earlier in this thread, googling was opposed to cycling.  But how is Cyc 
better?  The flower example reminds me of Doug Lenat's editorial to the 
first issue of Applied Ontology.  There, among other similar things, he 
says, "in some contexts Poinsettias are flowers, and in some contexts 
they are not".  So I jump in to Cyc, to see whether it is just that the 
editorial is written in a hurry, or rather it is a business card of 
Cyc.  There, I learn that:    (02)

flower (aka floweryplant, the class/collection/whatever in Cyc's jargon, 
called in Cyc 'flower') is a specialization of magnoliophyte, an example 
of plants by gross form from biology topic, as well as instance of type 
of life stage;    (03)

flower (aka flower-botanicalpart) is a collection of reproductive organs 
and may or may not look like conventional 'flowers' (original quoting);    (04)

rose (aka roseflower) is a specialization of flower 
(flower-botanicalpart), but also of pleasant odor;    (05)

pleasant odor, " an odor which humans find it pleasant to smell", is an 
example (an instance?) of odor, rather than a specialization thereof;  etc.    (06)

Following the last curiosity, I learn that:    (07)

individual is an example of first-order collection;    (08)

first-order collection is a specialization of fixed-order collection, 
and an example of second-order collection;    (09)

second-order collection is a specialization of fixed-order collection, 
and an example of third-order collection and of type of collection type;    (010)

third-order collection is a specialization of fixed-order collection and 
of type of collection type, and an example of fourth-order collection;    (011)

fourth-order collection is a specialization of fixed-order collection 
and of type of collection type, and (guess what) an example of 
fixed-order collection, of type of collection, and of type of collection 
type;    (012)

no fifth-order collections are explicitly acknowledged (why, are they 
not interesting?);     (013)

furthermore, type of collection type is an example of variable-order 
collection, and it has such specializations as (guess what) fourth-order 
collection --- which is thus an example of *both* variable-order 
collection and fixed-order collection (oops);     (014)

variable-order collection is "a type of collection 
<http://www.cycfoundation.org/concepts/CollectionType> and the 
collection of all and only those Collections 
<http://www.cycfoundation.org/concepts/Collections> some of whose 
instances (or instances of instances, or instances of instances of 
instances, etc.) are of different orders", while fixed-order collection 
is "a type of collection 
<http://www.cycfoundation.org/concepts/CollectionType> and the 
collection of all and only those Collections 
<http://www.cycfoundation.org/concepts/Collections> whose own instances 
are all of the same fixed order")    (015)

...    (016)

Interestingly, John Sowa who is an example of intelligent agent is also 
a store of information and thus also an expression ("[an individual] -- 
tangible or otherwise -- that [is] typically conceptualized by human 
beings for purposes of common-sense reasoning as expressions of some 
feature or feeling").    (017)

and so on, and so on...    (018)

Forgive me the question, is it common sense, or uncommon nonsense?    (019)

Sure, I used opencyc, which is subject to all sorts of perverse activity 
of otherwise intelligent human agents, but opencyc is reloaded daily, 
and it seems right to assume that nonsense which persists is inherent.  
I haven't had enough motivation to go beyond opencyc.    (020)

vQ    (021)

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