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Re: [ontolog-forum] (renamed) Terms with fixed/multiple meanings

To: ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 10 Sep 2010 09:35:00 -0400
Message-id: <4C8A3404.2010800@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Bill and Rich,    (01)

Please note that I have never claimed that natural languages are
formal systems, and I made the point that WordNet is *not* an
ontology.    (02)

WB> John: I understand your point that a "term" in a formal language
 > (e.g., ontology) should have a single, unique definition - this
 > allows automated processors to (soundly) do something with
 > statements in the language.
 > It is important to point out, however, that this requirement
 > addresses a very small set of users "out there in web-land" -
 > less than 1% I would guess.  The "semantic web" will never
 > materialize with this requirement because, simply, a very very
 > large percentage of data-creators don't have the understanding
 > and won't devote the time/rigor required to create these
 > semantically precise statements.    (03)

I completely agree.  Those systems require *terminologies*
and *lexical resource* such as WordNet.    (04)

MW>  Most will create their schemas and ontologies and create
 > their data using their natural language skills/capabilities
 > facilities - leading to multiple and evolving meanings.    (05)

Yes, indeed.  I wouldn't call most of the things they produce
"formal ontologies".    (06)

RC> I find the assertion that any USEFUL ontology has to have
 > singular meanings to be inapplicable to nearly ever discipline
 > with deep studies behind it.    (07)

We differ in terminology.  You called WordNet an ontology,
but George Miller never called it an ontology.  It is
a very important and widely used lexical resource.    (08)

There are uses for formal ontologies, but the terminologies
and lexical resources have far more applications to the WWW.    (09)

John    (010)

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