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Re: [ontolog-forum] RDF & RDFS (was... Is there something I missed?)

To: "'[ontolog-forum] '" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Matthew West <dr.matthew.west@xxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 6 Feb 2009 07:28:44 -0000
Message-id: <498be6c2.0c1e640a.7ccb.ffffe7d2@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>

Dear Pat,


PS - I'm not sure about where this idea of a mental model of an ontology
came from. I never mentioned it, and I certainly don't have an ontology in
my head. Of course the ontology has to be represented in some way - CL,
RDFS, OWL, UML, EXPRESS, arse-barcodes, who cares ?


What is this thing that is in common between al these different file formats? Where is it, if not in your head?  This is rather like the old chestnut of saying what exactly a program is, if you can write the 'same' program in several wildly different programming languages. For example, quicksort can be implemented in just about any programming language, and its still quicksort. In CS we have the useful distinction between algorithm and program, maybe we need a similar terminological distinction for ontologies. Any suggestions?


[MW] Ok. So is the quicksort program in your head the same as the quicksort program in my head (I even remember writing one once in Basic)? Talking about what is in someone’s head just doesn’t cut it I’m afraid. It is at best a loose way of talking. Where you have several things that have something in common, what you do have is an abstraction, and my extensional analysis would make that a class. So if I have 5 copies of the same content, there is a class that represents the pattern that is common to those 5 files. And if I have the “same” ontology that is represented in different languages, then there is  a class that represents that sameness.




Matthew West                           

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