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Re: [ontolog-forum] Ontologies as social mediators

To: FERENC KOVACS <f.kovacs@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Cc: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Edward Barkmeyer <edward.barkmeyer@xxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 03 Dec 2009 19:29:58 -0500
Message-id: <4B185806.8000402@xxxxxxxx>
> Let me explain and let me get rid of controversial wording::
>  I am not talking about spatial and temporal notions. I am suggesting  that 
> every element in an ontology, including objects that you call abstract 
> concepts are in principle "time stamped" and they as form have locations. 
> Not as ideas in the brain, but as forms shared in documents. In my view 
> abstraction is an operation, one of many other mental operations like 
> isolation, specification, projection, formalisation, interpretation, etc. 
> The results of these operation are objects, properties and relations where 
> relations are in fact verbs (operations). the sequence and product of those 
> operations complete with "folding" (inversion) genrates the path that if 
> recorded collectively is or may be an ontology of dynamic nature and if 
> indvidual learning path is traced, then a repertory of your knowledge 
> representations is created.Surely that can even make your level of progress 
> measurable and quantifieable.
>       (01)

This is an interesting idea -- managing versioning and derivation of 
ontologies as a kind of "constructive process" -- and that seems quite 
reasonable.  (It is a common practice in mechanical design, for 
example.)  As to the feasibility of using such a technique to capture 
the learning process, that is out of my domain of expertise.    (02)

> Procedural knoledge is a different term used in contrast withj lexical 
> knowledge. procedural knowledge is the know-how, ...     (03)

OK.  I understand that term.  If that is the intent of "procedural" in 
this paragraph:    (04)

> Therefore the representation of knowledge should not be static as in 
> abstract networks, but dynamic, thus procedural, which means  that time and 
> space must be included in an ontology together with verbs that represent 
> realtions at a better detail (for the sake of identification) than the 
> current relations you know well enough are insufficient.    (05)

then I completely disagree.  What I understand you to say is that a 
procedural representation of the path used to move from a base static 
representation of knowledge to the current state of knowledge is more 
useful than a static representation of the current state.     (06)

First, we know how to reason with a representation of knowledge that is 
"static".  That is a long-established mathematical discipline, that now 
has effective software support.  Assuming that the procedural knowledge 
is clearly represented (whose feasibility remains to be shown), it will 
clearly be possible to construct the current state of the knowledge by 
(in effect) executing the procedure.  But the reasoning will be done 
with the resulting current state.    (07)

Second, it is entirely possible to have reached the same current state 
by any number of dissimilar learning experiences and additional 
insights.  That means that reasoning about two learning processes 
doesn't yield much information about the compatibility of the resulting 
static knowledge.  It is easier to compare the static knowledge.  And 
conversely, the same experience can produce different lessons for 
different communities -- two abstractions from the same base instance 
set can be significantly different concepts.  (The classic example is 
the putative encounter between a Roman maniple and a German warband.  
The Roman officer greets the leader with:  Ave!  Sumus Romani.  Et vos?  
(Hi, we are Romans, and you?) with corresponding gestures.  And the 
response is "Germaenner" (spearmen/warriors)!  So the Romans called them 
"Germani", and English speakers still do.  The French term ("allemands") 
derives from a similar mistake: on some early encounter with the Romans 
or Celts, the German speaker identified his group as "Alle Maenner" 
(everybody).)  So how you got to the concepts you have may be less than 
useful in determining whether we have the same concept.     (08)

I can agree that there is a use for *both* the static knowledge 
representation and the "procedural" representation of its development 
from prior static representations.  But the static representation is 
more important, because it is the one that has immediate practical use.    (09)

What the procedural representation offers is the ability to relate the 
current state to some prior state in the same learning sequence.  That 
is how we teach most disciplines and most specializations.  There is a 
presumption of a common base knowledge and a procedure for expanding 
that knowledge in a particular specialization.  It is also a mechanism 
for "version management", which addresses the concerns in an expanding 
community of practice, in which the changes over time will affect the 
results of different users differently, to the point of becoming 
practically incompatible with some usages.  But it assumes prior 
membership in a common community -- it does nothing for the interaction 
of two formerly distinct communities, and may do very little to resolve 
two "microtheories" that represent different expansions of a common base 
ontology in two different communities.    (010)

> Since procedural knowledge by defintion focuses on future,     (011)

I don't think I can accept that.  The kind of procedural knowledge you 
are talking about is how we got to what we think we know now, not about 
how we will get to what we don't yet know.  It doesn't focus on future 
knowledge.  If anything, I would say it focuses on the past.     (012)

> it is even more 
> useful, at least in principle, because it is the future that we are most 
> interested in.
>       (013)

There is a "future" aspect of procedural knowledge, which is that it can 
be reused in new instances of situation patterns to produce new 
instances of results of the same kinds.  But the analogy is to take a 
static set of relations and axioms and apply them to a new domain of 
discourse -- a new set of instances.  Most knowledge engineers regard 
the relations and axioms as the critical knowledge in an ontology;  the 
knowledge base -- the known properties of individual things -- is a 
problem-specific addition.  In that sense, the "static knowledge" and 
the "procedural knowledge" have similar relationships to the future.    (014)

> I hove that has helped
>       (015)

Well, at least we understand each other better.  I don't think we are 
going to agree.    (016)

-Ed    (017)

Edward J. Barkmeyer                        Email: edbark@xxxxxxxx
National Institute of Standards & Technology
Manufacturing Systems Integration Division
100 Bureau Drive, Stop 8263                Tel: +1 301-975-3528
Gaithersburg, MD 20899-8263                FAX: +1 301-975-4694    (018)

"The opinions expressed above do not reflect consensus of NIST, 
 and have not been reviewed by any Government authority."    (019)

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