[Top] [All Lists]

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

To: ian@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 20 Jan 2009 09:51:04 -0500
Message-id: <4975E4D8.3000407@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Ian,    (01)

Please do not confuse me with Pat Cassidy.    (02)

 > The initial approach we took is very similar to the one suggested
 > by John below...and it was a miserable failure.    (03)

In that note, I was not suggesting any approach.  What I was trying
to do is to convince Pat that the approach he was proposing was a
dead end.    (04)

 > If you try to work concept-by-concept, it's doomed to failure.
 > You can never be sure that you have full consensus between everyone
 > in the room, because you can't be sure that one person's understanding
 > of a concept is precisely the same as another's (no matter how long
 > you debate it).    (05)

I  agree with that.    (06)

 > We chose Chris Partridge's BORO method, as a few of us had read his
 > book and wanted to give it a try. It has the advantage of ignoring
 > ideas such as "concepts" and "terms". It's ruthlessly extensional -
 > individuals are identified by their physical extent, classes by
 > their members, and relationships by their ends.  Once you've figured
 > out something's extent, you can then apply whatever names you want
 > to it. The process can be achingly slow, but at least it gets results,
 > and the results can't be refuted.    (07)

I think very highly of Chris Partridge and his book, and I believe
that his technique is light-years ahead of any approach that starts
with concepts -- or even worse with RDF and OWL.  One of the best
features of his book is that he emphasizes *logic*.    (08)

 > Another tip is to sort out your ontic categories early on. I'm
 > not sure OWL and RDFS give you a proper foundation for ontology
 > development - there are some very strange things in the W3C spec
 > about how an individual in one ontology can be a class in another
 > (bizarre even in an intensional approach).    (09)

I very strongly agree.  RDFS and OWL are horrible examples of how
*not* to design an ontology language.  The designers started with
two disastrous implementation-based assumptions:    (010)

  1. They wanted to reuse their XML-based parsing tools by forcing
     everything into the world's worst syntax.    (011)

  2. They forced a weird semantics in which the only relations
     are dyadic.  That means that you can't even say 2+2=4
     because the "+" operator is triadic:  it takes two inputs
     and generates one output.    (012)

These two blunders are the source of those bizarre features you
mention above.  You can't entirely ignore RDF and OWL because
they were foisted on a large set of people who didn't know enough
to see that they were dupes in a Ponzi scheme.  But you should
always preserve your sanity by thinking in terms of something
better, and Chris P's book is a good place to start.    (013)

John Sowa    (014)

Message Archives: http://ontolog.cim3.net/forum/ontolog-forum/  
Config Subscr: http://ontolog.cim3.net/mailman/listinfo/ontolog-forum/  
Unsubscribe: mailto:ontolog-forum-leave@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Shared Files: http://ontolog.cim3.net/file/
Community Wiki: http://ontolog.cim3.net/wiki/ 
To join: http://ontolog.cim3.net/cgi-bin/wiki.pl?WikiHomePage#nid1J
To Post: mailto:ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx    (015)

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>