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Re: [ontolog-forum] [ontology-summit] UN/CEFACT Core Components and Onto

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Cc: dmconnelly@xxxxxxxx, mrowell@xxxxxxxx
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 07 Apr 2009 09:41:02 -0400
Message-id: <49DB57EE.3060700@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Anders,    (01)

What you are describing is typical of the overwhelming majority
of practical applications:    (02)

AWT> In comparison with other ontological technologies one can
 > observe that it has significantly less formalism (if any at all),
 > less rigor, less expressiveness, less researched foundation,
 > fewer critical reviews, etc.  In comparison with technologies
 > such as UML2, OWL, DL, CL, KIF, IKL etc. one can easily see CCTS
 > limitations and in some cases awkwardness. It *looks* like them
 > but the rigor is not there.    (03)

For most applications, a *terminology* of words and phrases used
in the domain is extremely important.  Adding more axioms to
make the definitions more precise can be counterproductive.
The reason is (or should be) obvious:    (04)

  1. Most people who enter data or read the reports are not lawyers
     or logicians.    (05)

  2. Using logic or legalese with all the qualifications spelled out
     in excruciating detail makes the definitions unintelligible to
     most of the people who use the terms.    (06)

  3. If most common occurrences fall within the precise definitions,
     the data entered by the users will be correct most of the time.    (07)

  4. But for items that fall close to one or another extreme case
     specified by the formal definition, the probability that the
     data item is correctly entered is extremely unlikely.    (08)

  5. Any computer program that depends critically on the precise
     definitions as specified in #2 is guaranteed to blow up in
     unpredictable ways at unpredictable moments.    (09)

Nothing in any proposed ontology has overruled the old GIGO
principle:  Garbage In -- Garbage Out.  And if you have a
long-term database or knowledge base, it stays there forever.    (010)

John Sowa    (011)

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