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Re: [ontolog-forum] Looking forward at the past

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Ronald Stamper" <ronald.rstamper@xxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 14 Nov 2008 16:54:09 +0000
Message-id: <58ef1cf50811140854v24048569n79e32e581838371a@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Dear Mike,    (01)

Thanks for your response.    (02)

Before we take the discussion further, I would like to communicate
with you off the Ontolog line to find a concrete case in the area you
have sketched that I can use to illustrate the methods I have tried to
outline.  I am confident that we can apply the ideas about norms and
affordances to the field of financial service.    (03)

Our new methods seem to belong to quite a different paradigm from the
one shared by the regular Ontolog community that I'm sure to be
misunderstood until I can work through a concrete case and have the
benefit of your detailed comments.  Then I may at last reach the
Ontology audience.    (04)

Would you be willing?    (05)

Regards,    (06)

Ronald    (07)

On 11/7/08, Mike Bennett <mbennett@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> Hi Ronald,
>  Apologies for the long delay, I have had this reply lined up for a while
>  but I'm still learning what I don't know so I needed to give it some
>  more thought.
>  Thanks for the frank reply, it certainly helped to put a few things in
>  perspective. When I read James' paper I didn't get anything of the sense
>  of affordances which some later perusal (and the messages in this
>  thread) gave to it. I also understand now why James' thesis is still
>  listed as "unpublished PdD Thesis" which has made it difficult to
>  reference.
>  I first came across his work when I was working on the TWIST technical
>  standard for treasury messages, as some folks at the LSE were involved
>  with that. I had been looking for some means to capture the meanings
>  that were intended to be conveyed in the messages, which were simple XML
>  schema based messages. One of the problems that intrigued me in the
>  financial world was the difference between meaning that was "about"
>  something, such as market data and reference data, versus meaning in the
>  sort of messages used in foreign exchange trading or securities trading,
>  where one party makes a legal commitment to another party. These
>  bilateral messages are conveyed over the wire just like market data
>  messages, but the meaning of something like for example price would be
>  very different in the two instances. Referential meaning I could see
>  could be readily conveyed in any format that could represent a semantic
>  network of terms and relationships. The NORMA work on the other hand
>  looked like something that could deal with meanings in the transactional
>  context. Hence my wanting to find a way to relate NORMA to other bodies
>  of work, and my distress at finding no such references in Backhouse's work.
>  Here is how I see things, please feel free to knock it down.
>  It seems to me that terms "about" stuff and terms defining the
>  affordances at (by?) an individual or organisation, are two separate and
>  perhaps orthogonal things. If we look at human beings as an example, the
>  things we experience and the commitments we make are unique to
>  ourselves, and are modelled in a form in our minds which is not really
>  scrutable by any means. When we use language to communicate about these
>  affordances, we create referential terms, represented in the format
>  defined for that language. So in the financial world we have terms which
>  are a record of some transaction or some legal commitment to pay some
>  future cash flow. This can  be represented in an ontology, if you have
>  terms that represent second-order roles and relationships as well as
>  first order entities. This is very different to how the affordances
>  concept has been described, which as I understand it is more
>  existential, or at any rate more directly related to the individual. So
>  that is closer to the internal representations of facts as they relate
>  to the individual, rather than a publicly shared set of data about those
>  facts.
>  If you add to the ontology the ability to represent perspective, then it
>  may be possible to represent affordances in more detail. This is a real
>  requirement for over the counter securities trading (the ones that all
>  the trouble has been about, not surprisingly since no-one has a good
>  model for their meanings). Unlike traded financial instruments (stocks,
>  debt securities etc.), an over the counter instrument is a contract
>  between two individuals. Reporting on this in the marketplace, valuing
>  these instruments and assessing any risk that they represent is
>  therefore nearly impossible in the absence of meaningful referential terms.
>  Where I think maybe there is some scope for relating the two approaches
>  is with legal norms. As I see it, one of the primary "sensory" inputs to
>  the semantics of an organisation is legal semantics. So it should be
>  possible to ground the meanings of a lot of terms within an
>  organisation, in legal terms. For example a stock is a kind of legal
>  contract, as are those over the counter swaps, though the parties are
>  very different.
>  In the EDM Council model, I have simply defined a contract as a high
>  level kind of "Independent Thing", aling with Law, Jurisdiction etc.
>  Contract has relationships (object properties) to jurisdictions,
>  countries, legal entities and so on. I have also defined a class of
>  second order "Perspectival Thing", which covers for example the
>  viewpoint from which credit and debt are distinguished (since these are
>  otherwise the same thing) as well as the "sides" or legs of a swap
>  instrument. I wonder if these legal norms can be related to the concepts
>  in the affordances thinking? If I understand it right, affordances terms
>  could not be imported into an ontology directly or modelled as they
>  stand, since they are seen from the perspective of the individual. They
>  would have to be described in more neutral terms, in the same way that
>  any internal experience in someone's mind is translated to a public
>  language term. Does that make sense?
>  So perhaps when I get a spare moment I will revisit this and see whether
>  any of the affordance concepts allow for some more detailed grounding of
>  meanings of the global terms in the model.
>  Many thanks for the insights,
>  Mike
>  RK Stamper wrote:    (08)

[see earlier contribution]
>  >    (09)

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