MW> None the less there will be an implicit upper ontology. It cannot
> be otherwise. (01)
I agree, and we have that already. I would suggest that you look at a few
legacy systems, such as the Amazon.com schema and other
widely used business databases. Their upper levels are almost free of
detailed axioms and identity conditions. (02)
here is a clear case of ontological misplacement. From one side, there is a
data model telling us how data is represented and accessed. Seemingly, you
are talking about an EAV model, object-attribute model, open schema, generic
data model, or whatever, where the data represented as three distinct
columns: the entity (a thing, an object as an event of transaction or sale),
the attribute (parameters, characteristics, features, properties, as product
or service description, unit price, etc), the value of the attribute (the
item price, the quantity purchased, etc). What is here so impressing for
you in such a poor ontological structure?
>From another side, there is an ontology telling us how the things in the
world are represented and (classified), and thus supplying a richer model of
Event-Attribute-Value with classes and relationships, to be better used by
the mentioned business as well as by Google and Microsoft and by cloud
IMO, Matthew is striving for higher task, the structure and meaning of data
to be standardized by an upper ontology, on the example of engineering data
for process plants. It is a higher level research, an upper ontology for all
sorts of knowledge, information and abstract data models, the foundation for
all future business knowledge bases. It is a quite different task, is it? (03)
----- Original Message -----
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Thursday, June 04, 2009 3:44 PM
Subject: Re: [ontolog-forum] Guo's word senses and Foundational Ontologies (05)
> Dear Matthew,
> The kinds of applications I have in mind involve connecting a database
> or knowledge base to de facto standards, such as the Amazon.com schema
> for selling, shipping, etc.
> When they're selling a book or camera to some individual named
> 'Matthew West', they never dream of getting involved with issues
> about 3D vs 4D ontologies. They just assume an underspecified
> entity type Person, which is associated with identifiers for other
> underspecified entity types: Address, Profile, CreditCard, etc.
> MW> When I have looked at that I have been forced to a different
> > conclusion, at least as far as 3D and 4D is concerned. The problem
> > is that most of these things are classes of individual, but in 3D
> > and 4D the individuals are different things, so the memberships
> > are different, so the meaning must be different. Now if the lattice
> > can accommodate varying meanings, then you may be ok. There are
> > clearly at least analogous objects.
> If systems based on your ontology cannot interact with the Amazon.com
> databases, then you have a very serious problem.
> That is why I have said that upper level ontologies, when axiomatized
> with too much detail can be *barriers* to interoperability. I am
> all in favor of well designed upper-level ontologies. But they
> have very few axioms. The axioms for detailed reasoning belong
> where the reasoning is done: in the low-level microtheories.
> If you listen to the philosophers, they will tell you that identity
> conditions are essential to ontology. But for interoperability, you
> have to *ignore* the identity conditions. When you're linking your
> DB or KB to the Amazon.com schema, you *never* want to worry about
> whether a human being is a 3D or 4D entity or whether a vase is
> identical to the lump of clay from which it is made.
> MW> The problem is that any lower ontology must have an implicit
> > upper ontology, and it at least can't be both 3D and 4D or neutral
> > to them.
> No. Many, if not most, ontologies that are important for
> interoperability are neutral: The ontologies for units of measure,
> for example, are completely neutral to 3d or 4d issues. The
> typical databases of most businesses, including the Amazon.com
> schema, don't require detailed reasoning about identity conditions.
> I would agree that identity conditions can be very important for
> certain kinds of reasoning. For example, banks and other financial
> institutions lose billions of dollars to cases of identity theft
> and fraud. Those systems will have to extract a great deal of
> data from typical business databases, but they will have extremely
> detailed and complex identity conditions that go far beyond what
> typical business databases use.
> MW> If they are not joined at a lower level (i.e. include some
> > same concepts) they would not become joined by an upper ontology,
> > except in the sense of being different parts.
> They will certainly have many of the same concepts, but the
> detailed definitions of Person, Place, Animal, Vegetable, etc.,
> at the upper levels will be extremely underspecified. The
> detailed reasoning, including the detailed axioms and definitions
> will be done in the microtheories.
> Just think of all the DBs and KBs that have been implemented over
> the past 40 years and are still in daily operation. They have
> been interoperating with each other very well -- the entire
> world economy depends on their interoperability.
> Those systems interoperate successfully *because* they don't
> have detailed axioms and definitions. If you insist on putting
> those details in the upper levels, you will destroy the world
> financial system (or whatever is left of it).
> MW> None the less there will be an implicit upper ontology. It cannot
> > be otherwise.
> I agree, and we have that already. I would suggest that you look
> at a few legacy systems, such as the Amazon.com schema and other
> widely used business databases. Their upper levels are almost
> free of detailed axioms and identity conditions.
> And that is no accident. An underspecified upper level is a
> *prerequisite* for interoperability with a wide range of
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