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Re: [ontolog-forum] using SKOS for controlled values for controlled voca

To: ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Cc: Yorick Wilks <Yorick@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, Graeme Hirst <gh@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sun, 10 Oct 2010 23:38:15 -0400
Message-id: <4CB286A7.7030307@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Amanda and Leo,    (01)

The distinction between natural language terminologies and
formal ontologies is clear in the abstract.  But when we start
using ontologies to analyze NL texts, we run into very serious
issues that blur those distinctions.    (02)

 > The lexical/conceptual distinction is clear, though, and supports
 > the argument against using lexical properties to specify ontological
 > relations (be they subclass or value-list or other in nature).    (03)

 > A conceptual class in an ontology is not the same as a lexical
 > classification node in a thesaurus. OWL addresses ontologies;
 > SKOS addresses vocabularies. The former are conceptual, the
 > latter are lexical.
 > If you obscure the difference, it causes confusion and error.
 > We should not do this.    (04)

This thread began with a discussion of the differences between
SKOS and OWL, and I maintained that it's impossible to draw a
sharp line between SKOS terminologies and OWL ontologies.    (05)

Before saying more in this thread, I'd like to cite a few references.
The first is an article by Yorick Wilks, "Ontotherapy, or how to
stop worrying about what there is":    (06)

http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=    (07)

For a more succinct summary of the basic points, following are
the slides Wilks presented on the same topic:    (08)

http://www.racai.ro/EUROLAN-2003/html/presentations/SheffieldWilksBrewsterDingli/Ontotherapy_YWilks.ppt    (09)

I have more sympathy with that article by Wilks than with many
other pronouncements about ontology.  For a detailed summary
of my views, see the following article:    (010)

    The Role of Logic and Ontology in Language and Reasoning    (011)

Since my position is quite different from the orthodox statements
that have been kicked around in this forum, I suggest some
"ontotherapy" -- at least Yorick's slides -- before reading
my article.    (012)

Since I talk about Wittgenstein in that article, I'd also like
to quote Graeme Hirst, with whom I also agree:    (013)

    "The solution to any problem in artificial intelligence (AI)
    may be found in the writings of Wittgenstein, though the details
    of the implementation are sometimes rather sketchy."    (014)

    G. Hirst (2000) Context as a spurious concept, in Conference
    on Intelligent Text Processing and Computational Linguistics,
    Mexico City, pp. 273-287.    (015)

For anybody who has read my article, I'd add the following point:
each term that might be represented in SKOS could be used in an
open-ended number of Wittgensteinian Satzsysteme or Sprachspiele,
each of which could be formalized by a different ontology in the
infinite lattice.  One might use OWL to formalize those theories,
but I would recommend a more expressive version of logic.    (016)

I agree with Graeme that my article is a bit sketchy, but I am
also writing more detailed articles about an implementation.    (017)

John    (018)

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