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

To: "'[ontolog-forum] '" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Matthew West" <dr.matthew.west@xxxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 25 Feb 2010 17:55:59 -0000
Message-id: <4b86b9a8.0707d00a.699a.ffffb031@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Dear Pat C,    (01)

This is probably the nub of the matter.    (02)

> (3) I assert that an important goal that can be advanced by aiming to
> recognize primitives is the stability of the Foundation Ontology.     (03)

MW: It really does depend what the Foundation Ontology is. If it is not
stable, then almost by definition it cannot be foundational, so perhaps the
better question is what is it that is stable?    (04)

> PatH
> thinks that an FO would need to be changed in "a matter of minutes".    (05)

MW: I think Pat H thinks as I do that there is no theoretical limit to the
number of primitives, just as there is no end to the integers, you can
always add one more. But that does not mean that there are not some that are
a lot more important than others. We can reasonably hope to identify those,
but we need to allow others to be added.    (06)

> Either
> he (a) is mixing up domain ontologies with the FO, or (b) doesn't
> believe
> that multiple domain ontologies can be specified logically by the same
> set
> of primitive ontology elements.      (07)

MW: Well I'm a (b) here for sure. But I really don't think it is worth
discussing. We should do some stuff and see how it turns out. I'll buy you a
beer if your right :-)    (08)

> It is not clear which of these is the
> cause
> of that statement.
> ------
> More detail.  I will take some of the comments out of order:
> Issue 1: is "general accurate semantic interoperability" feasible at
> all or
> an obvious "fantasy"?
> > [PC] > > Perhaps future objections could focus on genuine technical
> > problems
> > > (not analogies with human language), and better yet suggest
> > > alternatives to solving the problem at hand: not just *some* level
> > > of interoperability, but accurate interoperability that would let
> > > people rely on the inferences drawn by the computer.  If not a
> common
> FO, then what?
> >
> > [PH] > Nothing. This is not a viable goal to seek. It is a fantasy, a
> dream.
> > One does not seek alternative ways to achieve a fantasy.
> >
>   Wow!  PatH thinks that we will never be able to achieve a level of
> interoperability that will "let people rely on the inferences drawn by
> the
> computer"??!!
> I think that there is a community that wants the computers to be as
> reliable
> as people in making inferences from data acquired from remote systems,
> and
> PatH seems to think that is impossible.  Of course such things *do*
> happen
> routinely through specialized agreements on the meanings of data
> elements,
> but I assume that PatH's skepticism is about the general case where
> data is
> acquired from some remote system whose only prior agreement is to use
> the FO
> for interpretation.  I prefer not to give up on useful goals such as
> general
> semantic interoperability until they have been demonstrated to be
> impossible, and I suspect that there are others besides myself who do
> not
> consider it quite so unattainable.      (09)

MW: We need to be careful here. My experience is that it is not enough to
give to groups of people a data model and assume that because they have used
the same data model, the data they produce will be interoperable, or
consistent, or compatible. There always needs to be some extra human
intervention to make that so. However, I agree that good data
models/ontologies make that much easier than bad ones.    (010)

MW: however, that does not bode well for people doing things in the wild on
the Semantic Web.    (011)

> I am sure I haven't seen any
> demonstration of (or any evidence for) the level of hopelessness PatH
> asserts, and believe with fervor equal to his (and I feel certain on at
> least as solid a factual basis) that any such demonstration (that
> general
> accurate semantic interoperability is impossible) is itself impossible.    (012)

MW: You had it right earlier when you said "good enough" which is all that
matters.    (013)

Regards    (014)

Matthew West                            
Information  Junction
Tel: +44 560 302 3685
Mobile: +44 750 3385279
http://www.matthew-west.org.uk/    (015)

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