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

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Ali Hashemi <ali.hashemi+ontolog@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 21 Jan 2009 14:30:19 -0500
Message-id: <5ab1dc970901211130sc789850pebeb4c8c07cc337c@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>

I'm not sure where you've read that Pat C suggests that there necessarily be a one-to-one mapping between english words and axiomatized concepts.

Why might there not be multiple axiomatized senses of those longman words with the connections between them explicated?

My understanding of Pat's points is that these primitives are derived from theories that have axioms.

Anyhow, I have three questions for the community:

1) Would people agree that there is a large body of FOL theories that are reused and common to many others? (Not necessarily in the upper ontology sense of concepts being reused, but rather that there are model theoretic structures being reused).

2) (Why) Is it not a worthwhile endeavor to collect and collate these theories?

3) If you don't think this approach is feasible / reasonable, do you have any alternatives to offer?


Seemingly, irrelevance (/ being ignored) is worse than disagreement! :P

On Wed, Jan 21, 2009 at 1:48 PM, John F. Sowa <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

Your multiline expansion of my two line simplification of your
proposal does nothing to address the issues involved:

PC>  I have not suggested creating a terminology by using words
 > as representatives of primitive concepts, and at no time have I
 > *ever* confused words or other terms with the concepts that
 > they label, nor with the logical representations of the concepts
 > that they label.  I have suggested creating a common foundation
 > **ontology** that *includes* logical representations of the concepts
 > that are also represented by the Longman defining vocabulary.

Several points:

 1. If you have a one-to-one mapping of the Longman words to your
    concepts, you have solved nothing by changing the term 'word'
    to the term 'concept'.

 2. The Longman definitions are hopelessly vague and frequently false.

 3. That vagueness is not a problem for human readers because they
    use their background knowledge to compensate for the vagueness.
    But that solution is not possible for a computer system.

 4. If you replace the Longman definitions with unambiguous formal
    statements, you will get one precise definition of each term
    and thereby lose the option of the multiple microsenses that
    a human reader can use to supplement the vagueness.

In short, you'll take a dictionary that is useful for humans and
replace it with a selection of underspecified concepts that are
of no value for a computer system.

PC> As Pat Hayes pointed out, all of his time theories can be
 > "expressed by" (Pat Hayes's phrase) axioms containing only
 > three classes, time point, time interval, and duration.

Yes, indeed.  But his axioms (or anybody else's) relate those terms
without assuming any prior definitions.  For example, the axiom F=ma
relates force, mass, and acceleration without requiring any prior
definition of any of those three terms.

But as Pat H said, and I strongly agreed, many of the theories
that use those terms (Newtonian, relativistic, quantum mechanical,
etc.) relate them by means of different axioms that are inconsistent
with one another.  The kinds of primitives you have suggested and
the vague definitions that accompany them are of *ZERO* value for
helping a professional in any field write axioms.

PC> ... I have said that a very large number of complex concepts
 > (such as, but not restricted > to, concepts defined by necessary
 > and sufficient conditions) or theories can be represented as
 > combinations of the primitive concepts.

As I've said before, if you want to find commonalities among theories,
go look at actual theories.  The commonalities will lie in the axioms
of those theories, not in definitions of so-called primitives.

PC> What we don't know now, but can discover by the consortium process,
 > is just how large a group of logically consistent ontology elements
 > can be agreed on, whether they are considered "basic" or not.

The idea of a consortium for writing definitions was tried by the
Japanese EDR project.  They spent billions of yen on that project,
they produced a dictionary of 410,000 concepts mapped to English and
Japanese, CSLI has a copy of it, and nobody has found any commercial
use for it:


As that web page says, "Japan Electronic Dictionary Research Institute,
Ltd. disincorporated on March 31, 2002 and completed its liquidation
in autumn, 2002."  It might be useful for research, but they charge
money for it, and WordNet is free.

(•`'·.¸(`'·.¸(•)¸.·'´)¸.·'´•) .,.,

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