Responding to the seemingly
eternal question: what is ontology? I suggest a simple answer, the World
Desciption Framework, WDF, giving basic meanings to information, and
incorporating all the generic and specific schemas and models and theories,like
RDF, E-R Model, upper ontologies, CL, common metadata models, OO models, UML,
Original Message -----
Sent: Tuesday, October 27,
2009 8:53 PM
Subject: Re: [ontolog-forum]
Just What Is an Ontology, Anyway?
This viewpoint is not completely new to everyone. In particular
in the modeling & simulation community, the idea that each model represents
– very similar to an ontology – a viewpoint needed to address a
given challenge (the model was build to help solving a problem, and the
viewpoint needed to solve the problem becomes the viewpoint of the model)
becomes predominant. Each model is a purposeful abstraction and simplification
of reality, again similar to an ontology.
What George E.P. Box said about models (“All models are
wrong, but some are useful.”) is true for ontologies as well.
AA: Wrong. This is the whole point of ontology to create true
models of the world, formal and informal, analytic and desciptive.
iIn other words: each ontology contributes a different facet to
a description, and in order to get the whole picture, all facets are needed.
The only common ontology description integrating everything is
AA: Here is the confusion of the universe of discourse and the
discourse itself. See on the WDF above.
(if we exclude imagination of what could be to make the problem
a little bit easier), but we could not use the world to answer our problem in
the first place, that is why we developed a simpler model for our use.
Long story short: we do not need a common ontology,
AA: that's a strategic mistake.
but we need a common way to describe our work allowing the
mediation of viewpoints. As our worldviews differ in scope (what we look at),
resolution (detail we are looking at), and structure (categorization of what we
are looking at), these mediations will not always be loss-free, but that is
part of the nature of the beast.
It seems like we are starting to come to very similar
observations and reach mappable conclusions in different scientific domains.
[mailto:ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Burkett, William
Sent: Tuesday, October 27, 2009 2:30 PM
Subject: Re: [ontolog-forum] Just What Is an Ontology, Anyway?
Bravo, Rich – this is the first time I’ve heard
anyone in any of these ontology/SUO forums stress so strongly the human-factor
aspect of data semantics. I’ve been trying to argue this
point for years but to most CS-trained individuals it just falls on deaf
ears. I even have a nice little catchy name for the theory:
“Data Is Speech”. As you suggest, there will be multiple
ontologies (or whatever you want to call them) to formally represent different
views of the word and they will need to be quickly adaptable to changing
business requirements . And the one significant missing and way way
underserved ingredient is mapping and translation technology.