To: |
"[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> |
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From: |
"John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx> |

Date: |
Wed, 17 Sep 2008 14:49:55 -0400 |

Message-id: |
<48D15153.5000906@xxxxxxxxxxx> |

Pat, (01) As an "academic" myself, I certainly do not want to belittle the importance of academic work. But I do *not* consider the academic work to be intellectually superior to good engineering work that is forced to get "down and dirty". There is always a tension between theorists and practitioners, and the best work is usually done by people who have a solid appreciation for both sides. (02) I have a very high regard for formal logic and model theory. But the number of people who study and use those subjects is a tiny fraction of the number who use languages that are logic-like, but much less formal, such as SQL or UML. For a very rough estimate of relative interest, look at the Google hits: (03) MYSQL 257,000,000 SQL 222,000,000 UML 21,500,000 ontology 15,400,000 "semantic web" 11,000,000 "systems analysis" 4,620,000 "business rules" 3,410,000 logic prolog 1,810,000 Tarski 755,000 "model theory" 532,000 "modal logic" 365,000 RDFS schema 346,000 "description logic" 296,000 "predicate calculus" 198,000 OWL & (RDF | RDFS) 162,000 "conceptual graphs" 150,000 "common logic" 105,000 (04) Note: Google hits are often distorted by "heuristics", so these counts are not completely reliable. But by any measure, the top few terms overwhelm any of the academic logics. The term RDFS by itself counts files that have "rdfs" inside XML tags, but are about some other subject. The terms HTML and PHP, for example, each get over 11 billion hits, while 'the' gets 16 billion. (05) There are three major areas in which logic has been successful. Outside those three areas, there is little use of formal logic, except in academic publications (see the Google counts): (06) 1. Set theory, where the subject matter is, by definition, a set of discrete entities and sets of sets of sets of ... (07) 2. Relational databases, for which the SQL language has become the most successful and most widely used logic-based notation every invented. The SemWeb languages of RDF and OWL have insignificant usage compared to SQL. (08) 3. Computer science and applications, where everything expressible is reducible to bits or organized structures of bits. (09) The 19th century goal was to use set theory as the foundation for mathematics and thereby extend logic to all of science. But in practice, working mathematicians *ignore* the foundational work. It may be a required course, but it doesn't help them solve problems. (010) PH> In fact, we all manage extremely well with a single-layered > |

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