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Re: [ontolog-forum] [Obo-relations] Heterarchy & Hierarchy, oh my my

To: "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Bill Andersen <andersen@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sun, 4 May 2008 12:08:58 -0400
Message-id: <A3759004-CC5F-42B6-92DB-979434147E75@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>

On May 4, 2008, at 09:57 , Ryan Kohl wrote:    (01)

> Christopher Menzel wrote:
>> I have to say, I find the the "spatiotemporal existence" condition in
>> a definition of "universal" utterly baffling.  Why build such a  
>> strong
>> philosophical prejudice into the entire framework from the git-go?
>> Barry and Pierre, are you *that* certain of your insight into
>> reality's Ultimate Nature?
> It doesn't have to be a matter of certainty as much as clarity.  If I
> had to choose, I'd prefer a well-defined ontology I had problems  
> with to
> a barely-defined ontology that I could interpret to taste.  Of  
> course, I
> agree that in the crowded upper ontology marketplace, such a  
> definition
> of 'universal' would need a stellar ad campaign.    (02)

Agreed.  Nice point, Ryan.  Everyone ought to agree on a principle of  
least commitment.  To distinguish, say, between universal and  
particular, has paid dividends in actual applications I've worked on  
where these were conflated.  I can point to data.  But put a stronger  
condition on universal-hood, such that they be spatiotemporally  
located, should at least require theoretical clarity, as Ryan points  
out, and should come with some examples with real data where the  
distinction does some good. I would be very surprised if such examples  
exist.    (03)

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