|From:||Doug Skuce <drskuce@xxxxxxxxx>|
|Date:||Wed, 27 Apr 2011 11:14:27 -0400|
On Wed, Apr 27, 2011 at 8:47 AM, John F. Sowa <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
DS: Like Gruber's infamous definition, which included circuit diagrams, house plans, and Beethoven's 5th,
this use of "thing" would cover, say, the formal definition of a group in math. But I would not call a group an ontology. But a group HAS an ontology (formal).
Whenever people use the 'thing' word, watch out. It carrys no meaning, since "everything is a thing".
This suggestion also implies there is no such thing as an informal ontology. But most so-called ontologies to date have been precisely that.
So I say there are 2 disjoint kinds: formal (eg SUMO) and informal (eg Wordnet)
DS No, we are talking informal ontology, PROVIDED the term is not isolated but is part of a VOCABULARY (all ontols provide a VOCAB) and some inter-term
relationships, starting with narrower-than, are specified. Definitions can be in good NL, logic, or both.
If you use the term `formal ontology` and the term `ontology` then either these are synonyms or there exists ìnformal ontology`.. Which do you intend?
So here is my take:
We must start with a VOCABULARY of 2 or more WORDS (which can be multi-words e.g. `formal ontology` is a multi-word. - there is no standard term for this).
If these are in a restricted domain then terminologists call these TERMS.(I have worked closely with terminologists).Thus `formal ontology is a TERM. Probably 'ontology' is not, since it is in common vocabulary, at least for educated people.
OTHERWISE they are just LEXICAL ITEMS (ie in any dictionary as a common-sense meaning).'ontology' is such, but it can also be a term when people like us use it in a restricted sense, like the term 'oblect' in programming.
As soon as we specify inter-word relations we begin to form an ONTOLOGY. If these are specified using some form of logic, we are forming a formal ontol, else an informal ontol. Note that one could have a mixture: an ontol could be part formal and part informal. So you try to use logic, but when you are stuck you use NL.
There is one most critical relationship: narrower-broader, or more precisely, subsumption or hyponomy. Wordnet insists on this. And a word may have more than one more general word: restricting to single parenting does not wash in the real world. Lacking this relation, I would be loath to call a vocabulary an ontology.
Ontologists would do well to study the Explanatory Combinatory Dictionary of Igor Melchuk. Such a dictionary is very much an ontology. http://olst.ling.umontreal.ca/melcuk/
DS hey are informal ontologies. Why does everyone call them an ontology? There is a reason - everyone is not crazy.
You are conflating the term 'ontology' with 'formal ontology'
DS Yes, but what is your point? What is to be done with them? Cant just ignore a large chunk of language.
Of course there are terms - you cant have an ontology without a vocabuary.
DS You have been confusing 'ontology' with one of its two meanings. You are suggesting 'terminology' = 'informal ontology'.
But a formal ontology HAS a vocabulary too. The term 'terminology' has a precise meaning when used by terminologists.
Please check this out. We should get this clear, because this conflation of terms is at the root of the problem
Doug Skuce PhD (Univ of Ottawa)
21 Torrington Pl
Ottawa K1S 4E2
613 526 3732
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