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Re: [ontolog-forum] Interoperability - its natural basis

To: "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Christopher Menzel <cmenzel@xxxxxxxx>
Date: Sun, 15 Mar 2009 13:38:49 -0500
Message-id: <D62B1D59-C0D2-473C-ABB0-B46B236C4802@xxxxxxxx>
On Mar 15, 2009, at 10:44 AM, Ronald Stamper wrote:
> I could not agree more strongly with you.
>> JFS:  Different parts of an ontology may be relevant for people with
>> different levels of expertise (example: physician, specialist,
>> nurse, administrator, patient, and IT department).  But the
>> part that any person is exposed to must be compatible with the
>> terminology that person knows (either from specialized training
>> or general background knowledge).
> In our MEASUR methods we use only the words of the users.  All  
> invented vaguely word-like strings one finds in OWL, for example,  
> are not permitted.    (01)

For some purposes, that might be quite appropriate.  However,  
something like the "vaguely word-like strings one finds in OWL" are  
indispensable if you are interested in (a) sharing your ontologies in  
a standardized fashion on the Web or (b) being able to take advantage  
of powerful computer-based tools to manage and reason upon ontologies  
generally.  Are you not interested in these things?    (02)

> 'Listening in' to the ontolog discussions I sense a widespread   
> belief that logic and formal methods will solve the problems of  
> ontology development.    (03)

I doubt there is a single person who participates in this forum who  
thinks that.  What many here do believe is that logic and formal  
methods are *necessary* to the solution of the problems of ontology  
development.  No one believes they are sufficient in and of themselves.    (04)

> I am all for formal precision once we are sure we have fully grasped  
> what we need to be formal and precise about.    (05)

Well, sure, if all that means is that we have to clearly circumscribe  
the intended domain of an ontology.  But a major point of introducing  
formal methods, once we are clear about the domain, is to make  
concepts out of ordinary discourse that are initially vague and  
ambiguous clear and precise.    (06)

> I thought that the age of logicism had closed by mid-20th century.    (07)

Logicism, a creation of the German mathematician Gottlob Frege in the  
late 1800s, was an attempt to "ground" all of mathematics on logical  
principles alone.  Bertrand Russell torpedoed Frege's attempt around  
the turn of the 19th century by showing that it was possible to deduce  
his famous paradox in Frege's system.  Russell's own attempt to  
resurrect logicism in Principia Mathematica (1910-1913, with co-author  
A. N. Whitehead) also largely ended in failure, a fact widely  
acknowledged by the mid-1920s.  "Logicism" is also sometimes used to  
refer to the logic-based approach to AI and knowledge engineering,  
which didn't even exist until the mid-20th century.  And this movement  
is of course still very robust.    (08)

> The generic-specific hierarchies that play such an important role in  
> OWL 'ontologies'
> play only a minor role in our schemas because the are forms of  
> cognitive norms without
> ontological importance.  We use them to make some schemas rather  
> more succinct.    (09)

Why the ironic quotes around 'ontologies'?  Do you have any arguments  
(beyond the mere observation that they simply have no role to play in  
your own approach) to suggest that OWL ontologies, even those that are  
only type hierarchies, don't deserve the label?  (And if you  
understood OWL, you'd know that OWL ontologies can be, and often are,  
far more complex than mere type hierarchies.)    (010)

> I have placed two papers on a very amateurish website:  www.rstamper.co.uk    (011)

This URL is broken.    (012)

Chris Menzel    (013)

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