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

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sat, 06 Mar 2010 22:45:27 -0500
Message-id: <4B932157.4090805@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Doug,    (01)

A formal system, such as the lattice of theories, is designed to
support automatic mapping between theories in the lattice.  But
I strongly doubt that arbitrary ontologies could be automatically
with any degree of precision.    (02)

DF> One has to consider the purpose of a given ontology.  For many
 > uses the exact boundaries of concepts are not important.  A company
 > selling products -- furniture, tools, electronic goods, etc. --
 > will be selling a set of specific (often brand-name) products, but
 > define them as members of broader categories (chair, electric drill,
 > telephone) for which there are ontological terms defined in different
 > ontologies whose exact boundary conditions vary.  The locally defined
 > terms would be subclasses of any of the similar, but not precisely
 > identical, more general classes of products.    (03)

Yes. Those are the kinds of vague mappings that search engines do,
and they can be very useful for information retrieval.  But they
can't support precise reasoning, much less interoperable software
design and development.    (04)

Some people claimed that they have "aligned" their ontologies
to WordNet.  That can be useful for the vague mappings used
by search engines.    (05)

But WordNet is not a formal ontology, and the WN terms have no
formal definitions.  The fact that two ontologies, A and B,
have "aligned" some of their categories with some synsets in
WordNet does not imply that corresponding terms in A and B
have the consistent definitions.    (06)

DF> One advantage of an FO would be that people who want an ontology
 > would be likely to use appropriate parts of the existing FO than
 > to create a new ontology from scratch.  They may create new
 > subclasses (new subtypes of existing products), or more specialized
 > relations, but use the FO for the majority of their ontology.    (07)

I agree that such developments can be very useful.  But a library
of modules would be more useful for that purpose than a large,
fixed ontology.    (08)

John    (09)

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