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Re: [ontolog-forum] Inconsistent Theories

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "doug foxvog" <doug@xxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 10 Feb 2010 23:07:26 -0000 (GMT)
Message-id: <1460.>
David Eddy wrote:
> On Feb 9, 2010, at 5:55 PM, Rob Freeman wrote:    (01)

>> [RF] Fundamentally at fault I believe is the idea that names for
>> things are
>> worth arguing about. Abandon that and even using everyday language you
>> can usually find something to agree on.    (02)

> Please to explain what you mean by "names for things are worth arguing
> about"    (03)

>...    (04)

> It's not that I wish to ARGUE about names, I want some mechanism (other
> than my heading off on multiple wild goose chases) that TELLS me what
> some term means in the context where I've found it.    (05)

This is a reference to a term in text; not in an ontology.  This forum
is not considering NL issues -- a different interesting kettle of fish.    (06)

I interpreted Rob to refer to the names assigned to concepts in an ontology.
Because there are many meanings for most words, the meaning intended for an
ontology term named with a single word would usually be unclear.  Even
those named with several words would have that problem -- especially when
border line instances of a concept or relation are considered.  To
determine the meaning of a term, its formal description should be examined
as well as any axioms in which it is involved.    (07)

Two types of arguments about the names of ontology terms seem common to me;
and both can be avoided.  I have a third argument about names -- the use
of names with multiple distinct interpretations.    (08)

The first common argument about names is that person/group A wants to have
the name refer to one meaning, while person/group B wants to have it refer
to a different meaning.  My suggestion here, is that when designing the
ontology, ontologists should use modifiers in such cases, e.g.
Bank_RiverEdge vs. Bank_FinancialInstitution vs. Bank_MoundedEarth ...    (09)

The second type of argument is a dispute over what an existing term in the
ontology "really" means, e.g. how the term Male relates to a transgendered
person in the long process (including at some point surgery) of changing
from being a Man to being a Woman.  Instead of arguing over the "real"
meanings of the terms, each party should be able to understand that
different concepts are being referred to.  If the concept is useful in
discourse, then it is useful in the ontology.  Determine the various
meanings which the discussants desire for the term and include them all in
the ontology, each being given a name that helps the reader distinguish the
intended meaning, and each having a description that carefully clarifies
the intended meaning.  Having axioms enforcing the distinctions would be
useful.    (010)

> When there were SMEs (subject matter experts) available, that's who
> I'd ask.
> But we're clearly on a path that takes us away from having SMEs
> available.  Too expensive.    (011)

The SMEs are useful for technical terms, whose names should    (012)

>> [RF] We just need to agree to stop arguing about language. When you
>> really
>> don't understand a request for clarification will usually suffice.    (013)

> And to whom do I direct this request for clarification?    (014)

I took this "We" to mean the ontolog-forum members.  In that case, ask
the author of the post.    (015)

-- doug foxvog    (016)

> ___________________
> David Eddy
> deddy@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
> 781-455-0949    (017)

doug foxvog    doug@xxxxxxxxxx    (018)

"I speak as an American to the leaders of my own nation. The great
initiative in this war is ours. The initiative to stop it must be ours."
    - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
=============================================================    (019)

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