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Re: [ontolog-forum] Ontologies as social mediators

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 03 Dec 2009 22:27:13 -0500
Message-id: <4B188191.4010607@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Bill and Chris M.,    (01)

I have been tied up with other business and haven't been able to read,
much less contribute to this flurry of email.  But I did want to
comment on at least one point:    (02)

WB>> Ferenc's statement that he's a linguist is important to
 >> understanding his (and my) perspective.  I think linguistics
 >> has a LOT more to contribute to the field of ontology development
 >> than logic does.    (03)

CM> Well, of course, that depends on what aspect of ontology
 > development you are talking about but if you have in mind the
 > creation of ontologies from documents and domain experts (as
 > opposed to the development of reasoning and integration mechanisms)
 > I'd probably agree.  But obviously both linguistics and logic are
 > central to the overall vision of ontological engineering.    (04)

Since both Chris and I have talked about logic quite a bit, people
might be surprised that we both would "probably agree" with that
statement -- especially if you are focusing on the content.    (05)

But if you look at the history of logic, linguistics, and ontology,
you might notice that the formal study of all three began with
different books in Aristotle's very impressive Organon (the first
six books, which were considered the "instrument" for doing science):    (06)

  1. His book _Categories_ (along with the later books on Metaphysics)
     defined the subject of ontology (but Aristotle didn't actually
     use the word 'ontology').    (07)

  2. He developed his syllogisms as the first formal logic, and one
     of his first applications was for reasoning about the categories
     of the ontology.  And by the way, those syllogisms still make up
     the backbone and the most widely used core of every description
     logic, including OWL.    (08)

  3. And his book _On Interpretation_ was the foundation for the
     subsequent work on grammars and language descriptions.    (09)

For the past two and a half millennia, all the work on ontology has
cited Aristotle and has been inextricably intertwined with the
developments in logic and linguistics.    (010)

It really doesn't make much sense to debate which is more important.    (011)

John    (012)

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