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

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Burkett, William [USA]" <burkett_william@xxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 16 Feb 2010 12:25:50 -0500
Message-id: <50993AD402A48B4F8C7E42A9CC202954B2AC9490@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
John, Matthew, et al --    (01)

Regarding the following exchange:
------------------------------------------------------------------------
MW> But no amount of logic can capture *all* the meaning of a term.    (02)

I very strongly agree.    (03)

PC> But in practice many potential relations are left out, solely
 > for the pragmatic reason that what is in the ontology is enough
 > for the current applications that use it.    (04)

I'm happy that I can agree.  In  fact, I would say that adding too
much detail can sometimes be counterproductive, since it can make
a program more specialized than it needs to be.
------------------------------------------------------------------------    (05)

I think this is an extremely important characteristic of ontology development 
(or ANY kind of model development).  I would like to see us as a group devise 
and adopt a foundation priniciple or tenet that reflects this.  Something akin 
to the following:    (06)

"An ontology is a model.  Models are approximate and incomplete representations 
of some phenomena.  A model is developed for one or more of the following 
purposes:
     Inquiry (Inquisitive);
     Analysis (Descriptive);
     Predication (Predictive);
     Conveyance of Knowledge (Informative);
     Specification and Control (Prescriptive);
     Representation and Display (Representative).
The features of the phenomena representated in the model are selected and 
chosen in order to meet or fulfill the purpose of the model (i.e., "enough for 
the current applications that use it").  Other features of the phenomena are 
omitted from the model because they are not relevant to the purpose of the 
model.  (Note also: the features of the modelling language itself are designed 
to meet a purpose.)"    (07)

As with any craft, there are many principles, practices, and techniques that 
enable modellers to create better models (i.e., models more suited to their 
purpose).    (08)

How about it?  We've talked about an ontology "body of knowledge" - this would 
be a good principle to adopt and add to that.    (09)

If we can acknowledge and accept this - that ontologies *will be different* 
because they have different purposes, it highlights the importance and 
relevance of mapping and translation - a subject that - despite being in the 
subject line of this thread - has been little discussed or considered.  (Yes, I 
know - me and my "mapping" again!  :-))    (010)

Bill    (011)

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