**From:** ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] **On Behalf Of **Rich Cooper

**Sent:** Wednesday, January 07, 2009 5:04 PM

**To:** '[ontolog-forum] '

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

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:

F=ma

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

Sincerely,

Rich Cooper

EnglishLogicKernel.com

Rich AT EnglishLogicKernel DOT
com