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[ontolog-forum] Form and content

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 10 Dec 2009 09:23:29 -0500
Message-id: <4B210461.9020003@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Most people on this list understand the distinction between form
and content, but some discussions tend to blur the distinction.
I received an offline question related to that point, and I thought
it might be useful to forward the answer to the list.    (01)

John Sowa
___________________________________________________________________    (02)

 > May I know what is the difference between semantic network
 > and ontology?    (03)

A semantic network is a graphical form for knowledge representation.
It can be used to express content of any kind.    (04)

An ontology is a formal definition of content, which could be
represented in many different KR languages and notations.    (05)

The distinction between form and content is critical, but some
KR languages incorporate some ontology into the basic notation.
Therefore, they would combine some content with the form.    (06)

For example, a temporal logic is likely to have at least a minimal
ontology for time built into the notation and rules of inference.
A KR language that includes arithmetic will have an ontology for
numbers and operations on numbers built into the basic language.    (07)

Common Logic is a version of logic that is as neutral as possible
about ontology.  For example, CL includes syntax for numerals, but
it does not assume any axioms about the integers represented by
those numerals.  One application might represent integers of
arbitrary length, but another might have an upper limit of 2^63.    (08)

Some people have complained about the lack of an ontology for
numbers in CL.  But there are many different ontologies that can
be added to CL as needed.  One example is the Mathematical toolkit
in the ISO standard for Z notation.  It's a fine ontology, it's
defined by an ISO standard, and anyone who wants it can use it
in conjunction with CL.  But anybody who needs a different
ontology for numbers can use that instead.    (09)

John Sowa    (010)

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