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Re: [ontolog-forum] Foundation Ontology

To: "'[ontolog-forum] '" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Patrick Cassidy" <pat@xxxxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 25 Aug 2008 13:07:35 -0400
Message-id: <058801c906d5$1236c5f0$36a451d0$@com>
To answer Christopher's question:    (01)

> . . . I have to ask in what way this "FO" is seen as different
> from the "SUO" that the SUO list has spent so much time on.  I
> have already declared my philosophical (and obviously
> sociological) sympathy with Pat Cassidy's quest, but though that
> does imply my general support for Pat's project, such a position
> does not answer the FO/SUO question.
>    (02)

(1) The Foundation Ontology (FOONT) as I imagine it in its most useful
implementation will focus on the basic concept representations that can
serve as a "conceptual defining vocabulary" by being adequate to specify the
meanings of any specialized concepts by using combination of the basic
elements (types, relations, functions, rules).  As an initial step,
representations of all of the words in the Longman linguistic defining
vocabulary should be created.  Whether more are needed or some of those are
not needed will be determined by experience with usage in creating meaning
specifications for concepts of interest in varied applications.  The SUO
goal was not specifically focused on using the foundation ontology in that
fashion.  Focusing on the Conceptual Defining Vocabulary provides a limit on
the number of elements that have to be agreed to, and in that way helps
foster agreement by leaving less basic concept representations to
development of extensions, after or in parallel to development of the FOONT.    (03)

In Sum, the FOONT would be a kind of SUO, *but* would be (a) more specific
as to its minimal content, (b) more specific as to how it would function to
enable interoperability; and (c) have to be developed by an organized
project involving a large number of different groups.    (04)

(2) Not a direct part of the FOONT, but I believe necessary to test it for
adequacy will be development of a language-interpretation program (call it
perhaps the "Foundation Ontology Linguistic Interpreter" [FOLI]) that can
take linguistic definitions created using the linguistic defining
vocabulary, and automatically translate those into logical specifications
that are referenced to the existing FOONT.  This will make it easier to
create extensions for practical applications.  Part of the same utility
should be the ability of the FOLI to identify the pre-existing concept
representation(s) in the FOONT that are closest in meaning to some
linguistically defined concept, so that a user can quickly decide whether
the concept in mind already exists in the FOONT, or something close to it.    (05)

Since a FOONT with the ability to specify meanings of any concept will be as
complex as a human language, learning how to use it properly will take as
much effort as learning a new human language - worse because there will be
so few examples of its use.  To make this practical, I believe that a
"bilingual dictionary" is essential, and the FOLI would serve in that
capacity.    (06)

Though the FOLI would not be directly a part of the FOONT, I doubt that the
FOONT could become widely used without the FOLI.  And I think that the
absence of such a utility for the existing foundation ontologies is one
factor inhibiting their wider use.    (07)

(3) Since, I believe, widespread use of a FOONT will require a very good
linguistic interface, the development of the FOONT beyond the first stage of
agreement on the most basic concept representations should be informed by
the suitability of the FOONT to represent linguistic concepts.  Therefore I
think that development of the FOLI would have to start right after the first
stage of agreement among multiple potential users has been demonstrated.      (08)

In the first case I would focus on having an English FOLI - each FOLI would
be language-specific, though later ones could probably be more easily
developed after the first.    (09)

Pat    (010)

Patrick Cassidy
cell: 908-565-4053
cassidy@xxxxxxxxx    (011)

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