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Re: [ontolog-forum] Foundation ontology, CYC, and Mapping

To: "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Ronald Stamper <stamper.measur@xxxxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 1 Feb 2010 17:26:57 +0000
Message-id: <86402C51-767E-47E9-97F7-133E82E80407@xxxxxxxxx>

Dear John and Pat,

I like John’s suggestion that Pat and I collaborate.  Pat’s reservations must be faced.  Let me suggest why and how.  Here are the key passages in you recent messages:

[JS] I would love to see Pat and Ronald collaborate to determine how Ronald's "ontological dependencies" could be reconciled with Pat's "foundational ontology" in some realistic goals for future systems.

[PC] I am happy to collaborate with any others who share the same goals, but my reading of Ron's paper suggests that our goals are too different.  In particular, I disagree with the statement from Ron's “Philosophy paper”:

[RS ("Philosophy" paper)] "But by always translating one lot of signs into another lot, we never bridge the gap between sign and reality. We must discard the almost religious desire for purity, put our heads above the wall separating the technical from the human aspects of information systems, and embrace the untidiness of human beings who alone can link signs to reality."

Why collaborate and how.

I have neglected FO issues but fully acknowledge both their importance and difficulty.  I certainly did not intend disparage efforts to find formal methods for handling semantics (why else would I have worked so long on my own project?), I wanted to emphasise the limits of that approach.

The strict rules governing the semantic normal form (SNF) that arises from the concept of ontological dependency should satisfy any formalist.  We should test whether these concepts conflict in any way with existing formal approaches to ontology (ontolog sense); I doubt it.

The SNF helps to bridge the gap between signs and reality because it expresses important empirical properties of perception based on the actions that agents can perform.

The SNF can probably make a valuable contribution to formulating any foundation ontology because of its stability over cultures and in time. 

How to collaborate?

I prefer to work on concrete case materials to which we could apply both approaches and test for points of compatibility and incongruity.  This would quickly reveal whether our goals are too far apart or not.  Even the choice of case material will be indicative.

Can you offer me a case study?

Let me suggest the “Japan Wines Inc” used by an ISO group working on conceptual schemas.  It appears in my contribution to Falkenberg et al (eds), 2000, Information System Concepts, Boston, Dordrecht, London, Kluwer Academic, under the title, “Information Systems as a Social Science: An Alternative to the FRISCO Formalism”.

Caveat: My resources of time and assistance are very limited.




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