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Re: [ontolog-forum] Next steps in using ontologies as standards

To: "'[ontolog-forum] '" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Rich Cooper" <rich@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 7 Jan 2009 14:04:04 -0800
Message-id: <20090107220454.A8D79138CE8@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>

I think the most appropriate conclusion is that ontologies can be quite effectively constructed for restricted contexts, though not for all possible cases in general. 


John Sowa wrote:

Just consider one of the simplest equations used in physics:




On the surface, one might think that the force F is being defined

in terms of the mass m times the acceleration a.  But that is an

illusion.  Exactly the same equation could be written


    m=a/F  or  a=m/F


In fact, none of the three terms are primitives.  Each of them could

be characterized by the methods used to measure F, m, or a.  But any

of those methods are just useful techniques with a given technology.


A case could be made that the set of constrained equations is the set of primitives.  If I only care about the Newtonian models, F=ma is the primitive relationship among force, mass and acceleration.  No matter how I differentiate, integrate or bind variables to constants, F=ma is always in force.  Therefore that constraint is a primitive for Newtonian mechanics.  Ignoring Einstein, I can develop a set of constraints based on Newton's work and call those an ontology for restricted cases. 


This approach abdicates a position relating Newtonian mechanics to Einsteinian physics, but it can still be very useful as an ontology for Newtonian applications.  This ontology can only be applied within the context of Newton's laws.  But it is very, very useful in that context. 


The point is that ontologies can be quite effectively constructed for restricted contexts, though not for all cases.  So bounding the context is required if we are to make ontologies useful in widespread applications.






Rich Cooper


Rich AT EnglishLogicKernel DOT com


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