[Top] [All Lists]

Re: [ontolog-forum] Data Models v. Ontologies (again)

To: edbark@xxxxxxxx, "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 22 May 2008 09:30:27 -0400
Message-id: <48357573.7060200@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Arturo, Ed, Ravi, and Neil,    (01)

I'll start with Arturo's note first because it's probably
the most relevant for what practical knowledge engineers do:    (02)

AS> I just wanted to share the humble results of an exercise
 > in "convergence" which took place in the context of the
 > last two OOPSLA workshops on domain-specific modeling
 > http://www.dsmforum.org/events/DSM07/    (03)

My only suggestion is to drop the word 'humble', since it is
probably much more relevant to this forum than most of the
notes that are posted here.    (04)

EB> I am going to put on my Pat Hayes mask and say that
 > philosophical ontology is NOT what we are talking about here.
 > We are talking about knowledge engineering, and in that field,
 > "ontology" is a term for a model of knowledge.    (05)

I would agree that the philosophers use a terminology and a
level of abstraction that is often hard to relate to practical
applications, but many of their issues are reflected in the
discussions we frequently have, including whether we should
have a 3D or 4D treatment of objects and processes, whether
the hierarchy should support single or multiple inheritance,
how purpose and intention should be used in modeling business
objects and processes, and many, many others.    (06)

Anybody who takes a reasoned position for or against any of
those options is doing philosophy.  Conversely, I dedicated
my book on knowledge engineering "To the spirits of the great
knowledge engineers, Aristotle, Leibniz, Kant, Peirce, and
Whitehead.  They made very explicit analyses and proposals
on many of the issues we have been debating in this forum.    (07)

Aristotle, for example, did the following:    (08)

  1. Proposed the world's first top-level ontology, whose
     categories are still being used today in all the
     large ontologies, such as Cyc, SUMO, etc.    (09)

  2. Developed his system of syllogisms as the world's first
     version of formal logic.    (010)

  3. Applied syllogisms to the task of reasoning with and about
     a hierarchy of categories.  Porphyry, a philosopher from
     the 3rd c. AD, was the first to draw the categories in
     a tree.    (011)

Aristotle's system, by the way, is the core of every version
of Description Logic used today.  In fact, the majority of DL
users don't use anything beyond the core that Aristotle defined.
They just use a more unreadable notation.    (012)

EB> Knowledge engineering is an engineering field.  Thinking of
 > it as fundamentally either philosophical or scientific in nature
 > makes it more difficult for the would-be practitioner to do it well.    (013)

I agree with the first sentence.  But the second sentence is
misleading.  Maxwell wrote the equations for electromagnetism,
but a great deal of the theory of how to use those equations
was developed by electrical engineers who were trying to solve
problems within the constraints of budgets and deadlines.    (014)

EB> I don't know what an ontologist is, but... I do know what
 > knowledge engineers do.    (015)

I agree.  That's why I called Aristotle, Leibniz, Kant, Peirce,
and Whitehead knowledge engineers.  (Peirce, by the way, called
himself a "chemical engineer", among other things.)    (016)

RS> omphaloskepsis !- Language / Origin?    (017)

Greek. Omphalos is navel, and Delphi was called the omphalos
of the world.  Guides there are happy to point out the stone
that Zeus hid behind when his father Kronos was trying to swallow
him.  It gave Kronos indigestion, and Hesiod reports that Kronos
vomited up the other children he swallowed in reverse order.
That's the first published reference to a push-down stack.    (018)

NC> 1.  Ontologists model for Knowledge Capture/Representation
 > 2.  Data Engineers model for Knowledge Application
 > 3.  Ontology/Knowledge Engineers model for Automated Reasoning
 > (a specific class of Knowledge Application)    (019)

Any such classification oversimplifies too much.  I agree with
your final point "Life is Great!"  But I would add that it's
also too confusing for simple generalizations to be accurate.    (020)

John Sowa    (021)

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    (022)

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