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Re: [ontolog-forum] ISO merged ontology effort "MCO"

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 14 Apr 2009 14:33:04 -0400
Message-id: <49E4D6E0.70703@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Dear Matthew and Ed,    (01)

[MW] Every so often you have to look back and see how far you
have come, rather than worry about how far you have to go.    (02)

I agree.  But it's important to look at the progress on more than
one time scale.  Some people say "Look how many ontology projects
have been started in just the past five years!"    (03)

But I look at Aristotle as a reference point and note how far
physics has advanced since his time.  Then I compare those
ontology projects to Aristotle, Leibniz, and Kant.  On that time
scale, the rate of progress is not impressive.  For some of the
projects, one might even say that it's negative.    (04)

[MW] ... Especially set theory and in particular set membership
and subset/superset.    (05)

I agree that set theory is important.  But I emphasize that the
categories of an ontology are not *sets*, which are defined
by extension.  Instead, the categories are *types*, which are
defined by intension.  For example, the set of human beings
at one point in time is very different from the set at another
time point.  But the type HumanBeing is the same.    (06)

And you can't solve that problem by using a 4D ontology because
you have to be able to talk about future populations under
different economic conditions, etc.  You also have to recognize
that two types, such as Unicorn or PerpetualMotionMachine, can
be very different, even though their extensions are both empty.    (07)

EB>> I, for one, would prefer to see the next 5+ years spent on
 >> in vivo testing of knowledge engineering concepts, and on
 >> the development of a discipline.  Think of it as the medical
 >> experience that will give us some knowledge of the required
 >> properties of your panacea.    (08)

[MW] I agree. It would be a good idea to know what we are doing
before doing it on a large scale.    (09)

I strongly agree.  That was the point of my note on methodology,
which emphasizes the distinctions as more fundamental than the
particular choice of categories.    (010)

John    (011)

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