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Re: [ontolog-forum] Language vs Logic

To: ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sun, 12 Sep 2010 01:41:00 -0400
Message-id: <4C8C67EC.8090309@xxxxxxxxxxx>
On 9/12/2010 12:19 AM, Patrick Cassidy wrote:
> Figuring out precisely what a term in an ontology is supposed to mean has
> three aspects: what the person developing the ontology intends it to mean;
> what the person reading the documentation interprets it to mean, and what
> the computer executing a program using the ontology interprets it to mean.    (01)

If your ontology is expressed in a version of logic, the issues are
*exactly* equivalent to the corresponding questions about a programming 
language.  For a computer, the following questions are irrelevant:    (02)

  - what the person developing the [program] intends it to mean    (03)

  - what the person reading the documentation interprets it to mean    (04)

The *only* question that matters is the following:    (05)

  - what the computer executing a program interprets it to mean.    (06)

The computer will do exactly what the program says, independently
of what any human author or reader hoped, feared, or intended.    (07)

> These notes are included in the 'comments' section of each
> ontology element in the ontology itself.    (08)

Computers ignore comments.  The only thing that matters is what
is stated in the formal notation.  If there is any discrepancy
between the comments and the formalism (as there usually is),
the only thing that matters is the formal statement.    (09)

I certainly agree that it's important to explain things in
a way that people can understand.  That is why I recommend
controlled natural languages -- because those languages can
be automatically compared to or even be translated to and
from the formalisms that the computer can process.    (010)

John    (011)

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