Dear John, (01)
> JFS>> Even with a large ontology, it's not easy to develop a
> >> methodology for using it effectively.
> MW> That depends on what you a trying to do with it. The only
> > killer app I know of is systems integration...
> I was thinking about Cyc and EDR, which had large ontologies
> and couldn't recover their research expenses. (02)
[MW] If it is really a research project then I don't see that it should have
to recover its research expenses. Research projects are about reducing the
risk of future actions, rather than a straight ROI, and you might well be
able to argue that these projects have done that. (03)
> MW> Good. So we do need upper ontologies then, even as part of
> > domain ontologies.
> I would reword that statement. Instead of "need", I would say
> "can use". (04)
[MW] What I mean is you have to have them anyway. It is only a matter of
whether they are explicit or implicit. I would argue it is always better to
make things explicit. (05)
> We can build a domain ontology even without a fully
> developed upper level. (06)
[MW] Yes, but you will have to have the parts that are relevant to the
domain. Interestingly with ISO 15926 one of the in "jokes" was that you
needed almost all of ISO 15926 to say anything, but that with ISO 15926 you
could say almost anything (with appropriate Reference Data, i.e. domain
ontologies). So I would expect that there is not much you could say without
a pretty full upper ontology. (07)
> But the more ontologies you add to the
> hierarchy, the easier it becomes to mix and match modules to
> create new ontologies. (08)
[MW] Not if they use different upper ontologies. You can only mix and match
ontologies that are consistent, and they are only consistent if they use the
same upper ontology (ontological commitments, core relations and
> JFS>> I believe that the upper levels should be *discovered*
> >> through analysis, not by any a priori imposition of somebody's
> >> pet theory.
> MW> Here we disagree...
> I don't believe we do. I certainly agree with the following point:
> MW> They are models we impose on the world, and it is necessary
> > both to recognise that is what we do (because we might be wrong)
> > and not shrink from (because it is necessary).
> What I am objecting to are people who are trying to impose their
> ideas on *me*. I would certainly let anyone choose what models
> they want to impose on their part of the world for their purpose.
> But I don't want them to dictate to me what models I am allowed
> to impose on my part of the world for my purposes. (09)
[MW] We do agree about that. I don't even want to impose my ideas on others
(happy to persuade people of course), never mind them impose on me. So the
consequence of that is that we need to identify the different sets of
ontological commitments that are themselves coherent and have some support,
and develop mappings between them. Only then will it truly be possible for
people to mix and match. (010)
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