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Re: [ontolog-forum] Fw: Context in a sentence

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 28 Jan 2010 00:35:05 -0500
Message-id: <4B612209.6040307@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Pat and Ali,    (01)

Since it's after midnight, I decided to send my daily comments
for January 28:    (02)

PC> My point was that since we do have control over our computers’
> theories, we can get them to communicate accurately by using the
> same sets of theories.    (03)

I would insist on adding the term 'open ended', since no static
set or sets of theories can ever be adequate.    (04)

AH> I'm not sure I accept your [PC's] analogy that English == Common
> Theory.  For me the analogy is more along the lines of English ==
> Common Logic or RDF or OWL2 and the descriptions _using_ English
> are the actual ontologies we're speaking of - i.e. the words used
> in English, say the vocabulary V == ontology O.  To me this is a
> more apt analogy.    (05)

I sympathize.  There is no such thing as a single Common Theory
accepted or used by all English speakers.  There is a huge vocabulary
of English words with vague definitions in the OED and other large
dictionaries.  And every use of those words specializes them to a
slightly different *microsense* that is tailored to the particular
application.    (06)

AH> As it stands we have many people who are working to develop this
> interlingua; we are in effect, defacto developing exactly the set
> of primitives you speak of, except in a not very coordinated manner
> and without an overarching framework. While this lack of cohesion
> introduces some problems, it also means work can progress without
> waiting for consensus.    (07)

But I have been asking Pat the following questions for several years,
and I would ask anybody with a new proposal:    (08)

    How does your proposal or suggestion differ from what Cyc has
    been doing since 1984?  If you started with Cyc as a base, could
    you proceed  faster?  Or would something in Cyc hold you back?
    If so, what?    (09)

AH> The solution your post above seems to suggest is actually very
 > similar to the interlingua ontology idea developed in the late
 > 90's, though perhaps that idea was too soon given the state of
 > ontology development.    (010)

Why do you say it was too soon?  Note that Cyc was started in 1984,
and it was going strong throughout the 1990s.    (011)

AH> It has since been significantly updated, altered and revived
 > in the form of the OOR or COLORE projects.    (012)

What significant updates do you see in those projects?  Following
are Michael Gruninger's slides for COLORE:    (013)

http://ontolog.cim3.net/file/work/OOR-Ontolog-Panel/2009-02-19_OOR-Development-II/colore-ontolog-oor--MichaelGruninger_20090219.pdf    (014)

Please note slide 4, which is basically the lattice of theories that
I proposed 10 years ago in my Knowledge Representation book.  Mike
didn't use the word 'lattice', but he specified the relations that
define a lattice.    (015)

In slide 7, he specified a repository of theories expressed in
Common Logic and organized according to the relations in slide 4.
I couldn't agree more, since that's what I've been saying for
over 10 years.  And I wasn't claiming that my idea was new:
I noted that Adolf Lindenbaum proposed it over 80 years ago.    (016)

Slide 11 shows mathematical theories at the bottom, which serve
as the foundation for content theories above.  That's fine with me.    (017)

I have no objections to that, and I think it can serve as an
open-ended framework that can accommodate anything -- including
Cyc, SUMO, and other existing ontologies as well as new ones.
I think it's a fine idea -- an oldie, but goodie.    (018)

AH> I will only note that a functioning family of interlingua ontologies
 > - a collection, perhaps situated within a repository would suffice
 > for almost all purposes of intercommunication. It makes the question
 > of producing a single foundation ontology somewhat superfluous, with
 > quickly diminishing returns on value.    (019)

I agree.    (020)

PC> I do think that the set of concepts represented by the **defining
 > vocabulary** (2148 words of English) used in Longman’s is analogous
 > to the concept representations of an FO; because of ambiguity, Guo
 > estimated that the number of different senses used in the definitions
 > was close to 4000.    (021)

You have made that claim many times, and the only thing you can point
to is Longman's dictionary.  But the definitions in that dictionary
are hopelessly vague.  It would be impossible to do any kind of
serious reasoning with those definitions.    (022)

If you want to make a convincing argument for those primitives,
I suggest the following exercise:    (023)

  1. Select some small, but reasonable subset of words from the list
     (say about one or two dozen), which could be used to define
     another dozen words that are not in that list.    (024)

  2. Give formal axioms for the defining words in some version
     of logic, preferably Common Logic, but you can use any other
     formalism you prefer.    (025)

  3. Then show how that formal specification could be used to
     define the dozen words not in that list.    (026)

Before you urge other people to do this kind of thing, you should
demonstrate how to do it yourself.    (027)

John    (028)

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