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

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Ed Barkmeyer <edbark@xxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 04 Feb 2010 19:39:18 -0500
Message-id: <4B6B68B6.80008@xxxxxxxx>

Pavithra wrote:
> Dr. Sowa,
> -   An Elephant is an animal
> -  Clyde is an elephant
> -  Therefore Clyde is an animal
>       (01)

Fine.  Now let us use our very limited vocabulary in the following way:    (02)

A citizen of a country is a person born in that country.
A person is an animal.
An elephant is an animal.
Clyde is an elephant.
Clyde was born in India.
Is Clyde a citizen of India?    (03)

Maybe.  We can't deny the proposition.
The problem is that we also need a vocabulary that provides the terms to 
distinguish "person" from "elephant", and the definition of "person" has 
to include those "distinguishing characteristics".  A person is an 
animal with some specific properties that distinguish "person" from 
"elephant" and, more problematically, from "ape" (or not).  Experience 
teaches that it takes an enormous vocabulary to explicitly make all the 
distinctions people's brains have learned to make.  It is in making all 
the necessary distinctions that the 2000-word vocabulary breaks down.    (04)

The alternative of course is that you only need an axiom:  No person is 
an elephant.  But then you need a lot of axioms just to sort out 
persons, elephants, tigers and mongoose.  And the volume doubles when 
you move to Australia.    (05)

-Ed    (06)

Edward J. Barkmeyer                        Email: edbark@xxxxxxxx
National Institute of Standards & Technology
Manufacturing Systems Integration Division
100 Bureau Drive, Stop 8263                Tel: +1 301-975-3528
Gaithersburg, MD 20899-8263                FAX: +1 301-975-4694    (07)

"The opinions expressed above do not reflect consensus of NIST, 
 and have not been reviewed by any Government authority."    (08)

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