Let's assume you develop a single FO. By virtue of its
generality, the upper concepts will likely only consist of labels, essentially
a bare bones taxonomy. Say I map into these labels, and you do too, are we any
closer to interoperability? No. We still need to figure out how
our use of those labels affects our communication.
MW: This characterisation is not fair to Foundation (or upper) Ontologies.
Sure, they can be just labels that leave the meaning vague and open to varying
interpretations (which is what is implied by still needing to figure out how we
use the labels) but that is not necessarily the case. A well constructed but
rigorous upper ontology would have relatively few axioms, but what they mean
and how they should be used should be quite clear.
The problem that you can't get around, with or without an FO is generating
these axiom level mappings between ontologies. My argument thus far is that
people realize that it is the generating of these mappings that are more
important than agreeing on possibly vacuous, super general labels.
MW: I agree entirely that mapping between ontologies is the key
thing you need to be able to do. If you have many such, then it is more
efficient if you adopt a hub and spoke approach, using one (or a small number)
into which and out of which you map. The challenge then is to find an ontology
that you can map any other ontology into.
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