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Re: [ontolog-forum] Ontology Project Organization:

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 12 May 2009 13:09:01 -0400
Message-id: <4A09AD2D.4090400@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Azamat,    (01)

Standards are extremely important when we know exactly what it is
that we should standardize.    (02)

AA> The worldwide communication network for financial transactions
 > become possible just due to developing COMMON STANDARDS and

The methods and procedures of the banking industry have been
under development for about 500 years.  They reached a high
level of sophistication long before computers were invented,
they were readily moved to punch card equipment, and then to
modern computers.    (04)

That is an excellent example of a narrow domain for which the
concepts, relations, procedures, and methodologies were very
well established.  It was an ideal subject for standardization.    (05)

AA> To argue against such an unusually sophisticated subject as
 > standard ontology without some fundamental knowledge of things
 > is just shooting the breeze, which is also sometimes good,
 > while sitting in a seaside fish taverna.    (06)

I was one of the first people in the computer field to use the
word 'ontology' (in my CS book, copyright 1984 and published at
the end of 1983).    (07)

In my 2000 book, I surveyed the range of ontologies from Aristotle
to the present, showed how they were interrelated, and proposed
a framework for integrating and relating ontologies.  Following is
a copy of what I wrote in my previous note to Pat C. and others:    (08)

JFS> Proposed compromise:
>  1. We design a repository of ontologies together with a facility
>     for discovering and representing all generalization and
>     specialization relationships among ontologies.
>  2. As part of that project we include all upper-level ontologies
>     that anyone has ever invented.
>  3. We encourage you and Azamat and any others who have great visions
>     for the future to work on your foundations and to demonstrate
>     their value in relating the narrow ontologies.
>  4. At every stage of development, developers with practical problems
>     can choose whichever contributions are appropriate for their
>     current project(s).  Their results will validate some directions
>     and show that others are less promising.    (09)

Note that I explicitly mentioned you and Pat.  I firmly believe that
your ontologies are just as worthy of inclusion in the hierarchy as
Cyc, SUMO, Dolce, BFO, or many others, including my own.    (010)

But I don't believe that any ontology as currently formulated is ideal.
No general upper-level ontology has demonstrated the ability to support
the goals that Pat and others have claimed for them.    (011)

The best we can do is to organize all of them in a common framework
and let the researchers and developers use them, test them, relate
them, combine them, extend them, refine them, and demonstrate how
and whether they can support the goals we would like to achieve.    (012)

Do you know anything better we could do?    (013)

John    (014)

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