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Re: [ontolog-forum] Terminologies and Ontologies

To: ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sun, 01 May 2011 01:10:57 -0400
Message-id: <4DBCEB61.7000406@xxxxxxxxxxx>
On 4/30/2011 11:24 PM, doug foxvog wrote:
> Note that a theory about how (some aspect of) the world works is
> qualitatively different from a theory about how specific objects
> interact using the more general theory.  One could distinguish the
> general theory ontology from more specific knowledge bases about
> separate sets of instances of the types of things which the theory
> is about.    (01)

I agree with that as a general principle, but there are borderline
cases that blur the distinction.    (02)

For example, the sun, earth, and moon are specific objects
that also happen to be one of their kind (at least for normal
human experience).  So any general ontology that is adequate
for human experience will include many terms that are defined
in terms of those special objects:  day, night, month, year,
summer, winter, eclipse, latitude, longitude, mountain,
earthquake, ocean, sunburn, etc.    (03)

> For our purposes, we could consider Vocabulary, Theory, and Data Contexts.    (04)

For various applications, there will be specific entities that have
as privileged a position as the sun or the earth.  For example,
if you're designing an ontology for income taxes, you have to
consider the IRS and the US gov't as special individuals that
are critical to defining many general terms.    (05)

And if you design an ontology for the XYZ Corporation, you will
probably need to treat that Corp. as a privileged entity.    (06)

For 49 states in the US, there are many general legal principles
that cover all of them.  But there is one state that does not
fit generalizations that cover the other 49:  Louisiana.    (07)

All the other states are based on principles derived from English
Common Law.  But Louisiana is based on the French system.  208 years
have passed since Napoleon sold it to the US, but they still have
parishes instead of counties.  And the differences are greater
than just a change of terminology.    (08)

That is just one more example why I don't expect the world
to adopt a single world-wide ontology for a long, long time.    (09)

John    (010)

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