Copied from below:
But then how do we account for
the diverse viewpoints going into the system from multiple users? We all
agree that each user has a unique ontology of her personal world. We know
that subjectivity gets squeezed into the tightest databases with the strictest
You can’t. And in fact the problem really is just how do you impose
sufficiently strict controls such that the range of meaning is sufficiently
small that sufficiently accurate communication is possible.
You must. As John Sowa is fond of
saying, people play language games. Those games are more complicated than
we can decipher from signs alone. So one enterprise level purpose of each
subjective personal ontology is to “correct” the personal viewpoint,
projecting it back into the enterprise ontology.
But note that if you project the disjunction
of all personal ontologies to make up the enterprise ontology, you have to
match common items shared among personal ontologies.
For example, probably most or all normal
English speakers think of fluids in one way, solids in another and gases in a
third. The English language reflects the way we talk about the things belonging
to these different classes.
So there is clearly a linguistic common
ontology of objects and classes that constitutes everyday usage. That can
be part of the enterprise ontology. But its part of EVERY language
competent ontology. So the enterprise ontology also includes things specific
to the objects about which that enterprise is concerned.
Leading to the conclusion that the
enterprise ontology will have to be multilayered, scalloped like a 50’s
hot rod into component ontologies for each viewpoint and each group of
Rich AT EnglishLogicKernel DOT com
[mailto:ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Matthew West
Sent: Thursday, October 29, 2009
To: '[ontolog-forum] '
Subject: Re: [ontolog-forum] Just
What Is an Ontology, Anyway?
Looks like I missed
So it looks like the consensus among those in this discussion is:
An ontology is a collection
classes, each with possibly
unique property values;
a few constant
instances (e.g., equilateral triangle = special instance of generalized
not sure that I would see equilateral triangle as an instance. Surely there is more
than one of them? On the other hand it could be a subtype of generalized
triangle (some triangles are equilateral).
the other hand there are plenty of individuals I might want in my ontology. If
I want to define a class of “Ford Motor Car” in my ontology
then it is useful to be able to have the individual “Ford Motor
Company” in my ontology so that I can make the restriction class.
logical relationships among
the classes and instances.
And nothing else. If that satisfies everyone, then any operational
system would require more than just an ontology. It would also require
that information nobody seems to want to call ontological, like the specific
employees in the employee table.
If we accept this definition among the group of us, an ontology with a
database to back it would be about the simplest semantic system I can imagine
being useful. The database would store the instance data beyond the
ontology, but the ontology would define the classes, properties and
relationships among the entities.
MW: It will probably
replicate much of the ontology too. It might be better to think of the ontology
as an abstraction of the database, with some rules added, so that you can e.g.
check the consistency of the database.
But then how do we account for the diverse viewpoints going into the
system from multiple users? We all agree that each user has a unique
ontology of her personal world. We know that subjectivity gets squeezed
into the tightest databases with the strictest controls.
MW: You can’t.
And in fact the problem really is just how do you impose sufficiently strict
controls such that the range of meaning is sufficiently small that sufficiently
accurate communication is possible.
So how do we account for personal ontologies in a semantic system?
MW: The alternative
is to document all the individual ontologies and map between them. This is
horrendously expensive, so a much cheaper alternative is to sit down and agree
to use one in a particular way, which may not be the way that any of the
individuals actually sees things, but at least is clear. This is at least
analogous to the situation you find when an Italian, and Frenchman, a German
and a Spaniard have a business meeting. They speak English, rather than each
have 3 translators.
So I suggest we
return to the real world.
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