[Top] [All Lists]

Re: [ontolog-forum] Is there something I missed?

To: "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Pat Hayes <phayes@xxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 29 Jan 2009 01:49:59 -0600
Message-id: <E0454EC8-BF31-4A5C-8112-4B237BF6F847@xxxxxxx>

On Jan 28, 2009, at 5:15 PM, Sean Barker wrote:    (01)

> Folks
> Having followed this forum for some time, I have a feeling that I  
> may have
> missed something so obvious that no-one has thought to mention it -  
> that is,
> is there a formal definition of an ontology?    (02)

I think we spent about a year discussing this one :-)  For myself, I  
use the word to refer to a body of formalized knowledge in the form of  
sentences (often called 'axioms') written in some widely recognized  
formal notation, preferably one that is standardized in some way and  
used by more than a handful of people or organizations. This usage is  
quite common, I think fairly standard.    (03)

> An ontology cannot be just be a
> bowl of axiom soup,    (04)

Well, no, thats exactly what it is. (Why do you say "just" ?)    (05)

> so how does one tell that a particular collection of
> axioms is an ontology    (06)

I agree that ontologies are usually thought of as being purposeful,  
organized, rational in some way, having a topic or focus, etc., - as  
opposed to merely random collections of formal sentences - but as  
these attributes are very hard to make precise, and as one person's  
rational and focussed may be another person's loose and disorganized,  
there seems to be very little utility in trying to legislate or  
precisely define the boundaries of rationality or organization.  
Technically, for example, the OWL standard asserts that any  
syntactically legal collection of OWL axioms is an OWL ontology.    (07)

> - the question is posed on the analogy that
> mathematicians differentiate between a group, a ring and a field by  
> the
> axioms they include.    (08)

... by the axioms that describe them, more accurately. One might say,  
each kind of structure has a defining ontology, in fact.    (09)

PatH    (010)

> ------------------------------------------------------------    (011)

IHMC                                     (850)434 8903 or (650)494 3973
40 South Alcaniz St.           (850)202 4416   office
Pensacola                            (850)202 4440   fax
FL 32502                              (850)291 0667   mobile
phayesAT-SIGNihmc.us       http://www.ihmc.us/users/phayes    (012)

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    (013)

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