Gosh! Yes, please do. (01)
It's a point I have been trying to boil down to a few sentences for some
time now. (02)
Thanks for the feedback. (03)
Dave McComb wrote:
> That was beautiful.
> PS: May I quote you?
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:ontolog-forum-
>> bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Mike Bennett
>> Sent: Monday, April 27, 2009 7:52 AM
>> To: [ontolog-forum]
>> Subject: Re: [ontolog-forum] Digital Ontology and digital ontology
>> I think you are right. If an ontology is intended to provide a meangful
>> record of concepts for some useful purpose, then the underlying nature
>> of reality is of less relevance than the reality as seen by the
>> system(s) that the ontology applies to.
>> I would also suggest that, while it may be interesting to have an
>> ontology of concepts as humans see them, this is less important than
>> having ontologies of concepts of relevance to business or other
>> application domains that computers are involved with. I think we need
>> learn to walk before we can fly. As I see it, there is a glaring hole
>> many systems application developments, whereby we need a technology
>> neutral, business-reviewable model of the terms that systems, data
>> models and message models are developed against. In the messaging
>> standards world, and in a distressing number of systems developments,
>> the design is managed from the logical or even the physical design
>> level, resulting in brittle applications and insufficient business
>> oversight. For instance you will not find a good business model of a
>> credit default swap, but you will find data models of these lurking in
>> some technical design, which may or may not accurately reflect the
>> business knowledge of what one is. We rely instead on some highly paid
>> technical genius to understand and model these. This is very poor from
>> technical quality assurance point of view.
>> So ontologies have huge potential to plug the gap in technical
>> development and quality assurance. This means developing a good
>> technology development methodology, based on the Zachman Framework, in
>> which the "Semantic model" section is fulfilled by an ontology.
>> To do this, the ontology does not need to define the physics underlying
>> the different concepts except where it is a physics ontology. Nor in my
>> humble opinion, does it need to account for all the concepts that
>> to the sensory inputs of a human brain. Rather, we need to look at the
>> sensory inputs of a business - legal, accounting, reputation and so on,
>> and model the terms that have meaning relative to those.
>> There are plenty of advanced and interesting things that can be done
>> with ontology beyond this, but I would suggest that ontologies which
>> deliver business meaning are more immediately relevant than all those
>> cool things. We have the opportunity to plug a very serious gap which
>> pretty easy to plug.
>> John F. Sowa wrote:
>>> Paola, Azamat, Christopher, and Mike,
>>> PDM> But some passages in the lecture seem to create the impression
>>> > that physical world results from a certain kind of computation...
>>> I agree. And that's a metaphor that is helpful to a certain extent,
>>> but it also has some connotations that may be more distracting than
>>> Peirce's semiotics is even more general than computation, since
>>> every kind of computation processes signs. But the idea of signs
>>> also has connotations that can be distracting. For such reasons,
>>> I think it's important to use multiple ways (or paradigms) for
>>> describing the same phenomena in order to emphasize what is
>>> common beneath all the terminology and metaphors.
>>> AA> But there are noted physicists, who could see the things i
>>> mentioned... S. Weinberg [24 October 2002, "Is the Universe
>>> a Computer?" The New York Review of Books].
>>> Thanks for the reference. I found the full article on the web:
>>> I agree that the claim that the universe can be adequately modeled
>>> as a cellular automaton is dubious, but I'd like to quote another
>>> point from Weinberg's review:
>>> SW> The central theme of the book is easily stated. It is that many
>>> > simple rules can lead to complex behavior. The example that is
>>> > used repeatedly to illustrate this theme is a favorite toy of
>>> > complexity theorists known as the cellular automaton...
>>> I believe that central theme is important. But I'd also like to
>>> add that the traditional continuous mathematics used in physics
>>> also leads to enormous complexity. Newton's simple equation F=ma
>>> leads to and explains very complex kinds of systems. The carbon
>>> atom combined with a dozen or so other kinds of atoms leads to
>>> the enormous complexity of organic molecules, DNA, and life.
>>> I think that Weinberg makes many important observations, but I
>>> strongly disagree with his concluding sentence:
>>> SW> In the study of anything outside human affairs, including the
>>> > study of complexity, it is only simplicity that can be
>>> The only things that people can observe and act upon are extremely
>>> complex systems. It took thousands of years of civilization to
>>> discover those simple equations of theoretical physics (or those
>>> simple cellular automata). But people still see, feel, and think
>>> about those complex things and events.
>>> AA> The prolix volume mentioned was just a good instigation to view
>>> > the similarities and differences of two types of ontology.
>>> It's important to recognize those differences, but the issues
>>> discussed by Wolfram and Weinberg are very far from the central
>>> focus of the ontologies discussed in this forum.
>>> All the ontologies we have been considering focus on complex things
>>> and events that people see and talk about. They deliberately ignore
>>> issues in the foundations of physics and the universe, either from
>>> a digital or an analog point of view.
>>> CS> I think [Wolfram] does in fact claim that the real world has
>>> > a certain underlying simplicity.
>>> I agree, but he also talks about the complexity that arises from
>>> that simplicity. For the kinds of ontologies we have been
>>> the central focus is complex things and events. Any simulations or
>>> foundations in either quantum mechanics or cellular automata are
>>> very far removed from the focus of those ontologies.
>>> CS> But his work is about how apparently real-enough complexity
>>> > can be produced by simple automata. And on NKS p469 he does say
>>> > this:
>>> > "But it does mean that if one once discovers a rule that
>>> > reproduces sufficiently many features of the universe, then
>>> > it becomes extremely likely that this rule is indeed the final
>>> > and correct one for the whole universe."
>>> I agree that any such rule would be very interesting. But it would
>>> have almost no effect on the ontologies such as Cyc, SUMO, BFO,
>>> Dolce, or any of the others we have been discussing.
>>> MB> I thought that the idea that the complexity of the real world
>>> > can arise from very simple patterns had been well explored by
>>> > Holland and others in the "complexity" world. Surely that's no
>>> > longer a contentious point...
>>> I agree. But the kind of simplicity that Wolfram and Weinberg
>>> are searching will have little or no effect on the ontologies
>>> discussed in this forum. Even if they discovered the magic rule
>>> that governs the entire universe, the application of that rule
>>> would involve an immense amount of computation before it could
>>> explain anything that we see every day.
>>> But there are some very important lessons we can learn from those
>>> 1. No ontology that has been proposed in this forum adequately
>>> addresses the fundamental principles (whether digital or
>>> analog) that govern the universe.
>>> 2. The central focus of our common ontologies has been the kinds
>>> of things and events we experience every day. Those things
>>> are immensely more complex than the simple foundations of
>>> theoretical physics (whatever they may be).
>>> 3. The categories in our ontologies are at best useful descriptions
>>> and approximations of commonsense phenomena. They are not and
>>> cannot be considered the ultimate foundations of everything.
>>> 4. No currently available ontology has proved to be adequate for
>>> describing everything that people talk about and write programs
>>> to process, but they have been useful for many purposes.
>>> 5. Therefore, our standards for ontology should support and relate
>>> an open-ended variety of specialized ontologies for different
>>> purposes. No single one of them can or should be considered
>>> the foundation for everything that we talk about or need to
>>> process on our computer systems.
>>> John Sowa
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>> Mike Bennett
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