Well I've just had a read of Pat's slides as per the link John posted,
and I find I agree with a lot of what he is suggesting. (01)
If you further simplify the problem to basic business vocabulary rather
than human / dictionary vocabulary, then two good things happen which
may make this tractable at some level: (02)
1. The kinds of concept you need to account for are considerably fewer
2. There are already standards for concepts that are useful to a
business or to some industrial or engineering application. The standards
may not be framed in semantics terms, but by definition they pretty much
define the concepts that real applications really need. (03)
That doesn't make any of this trivial, but it might make something
useful possible. I don't see it as a universal ontology, but a framework
for relating ontologies. There is a lot I still haven't figured out
about that and I suspect I'm not alone, but think this is a useful
direction to think along. (04)
For those industry standards that are not already defined in ontology
terms (most of them), starting out with a useful framework might well
make it easier for them to develop their existing terms in a semantics
model, as well as make it easier to relate the outcome to other
semantics models. But only to the extent that it doesn't constrain what
needs to be in the semantics model for that standard. The framework
needs to be capable of responding to reality. (05)
If I keep going on about standards it's because I believe any concept in
any serious ontology should have some well attested industrial
provenance and not simply be made up or asserted by some ontology expert. (06)
Matthew West wrote:
> Dear Ian,
> Well some good practical examples, but you are a bit off target.
>> I think it *is* possible to have a small set of primitives (I've heard
>> called "ontic categories"), provided everyone using them has the same
>> ground-rules (I've heard Chris Partridge call these "metaphysical
>> Without an agreement on those metaphysical choices, there cannot be an
>> agreed set of primitives that are realistically usable. Here are some
>> (purely fictitious) examples:
> [MW] I don't think these are really what PatC is talking about. But you are
> right, any ontology needs to make some choices at least, and no single
> ontology can choose all the options - because they are generally mutually
> exclusive. However, this is not the point.
> What (I think) Pat is proposing is to produce one ontology into which others
> could be translated/mapped. Those other ontologies need not be changed at
> all, so a 3D and a 4D ontology could each be mapped to the "universal"
> ontology without having to give up their own commitments.
> So this leaves two problems for Pat:
> 1. Producing a "universal" ontology that is capable of expressing whatever
> any other ontology does or may express.
> 2. Persuading everyone else to use this "universal" ontology as an
> intermediary to map to all the others.
> Neither of which are exactly trivial.
> Matthew West
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