|From:||William Frank <williamf.frank@xxxxxxxxx>|
|Date:||Sat, 3 Mar 2012 11:55:51 -0500|
I certainly agree with John Sowa's view that appropriate languages for ontologies must be rich enough to express what people know about their domains of expertise, rather than having to be poor enough to be machine decidable I think this point is of vital importance. I did not even know this was a matter of contention. |
Below I extract what I see as the backbone of his remarks, as they apply to OWL. The history he recounts shows a pattern of thought I have seen often in technology. As a kind of architectural anti-pattern. I would call it the "Procrustian Bed": if it does not fit the technology, it must be re-shaped until it does. Only then can we meaningfully talk about it.
What is odd is that I have found this same attitude in the programmers in charge of application developments: "until you tell us the solution, (which one would think would be their job), telling us about the problem is not useful, and shows you are not among us experts." And yet. I seem to find this same attitude often reflected in more august standards bodies. Maybe this is just part of "information politics."
We need to be able to express the *problem* (for example, describe the semantics of some domain of human endeavor) in a sufficiently rich language, even if a particular *solution* (such as being able to compute, for all cases, whether two specification of a semantics are equivelent) requires that we use a more restricted language. If you only use the language of your particular solution, you remain locked in to that one solution, as has been the history of most software so far. I imagined that this is the condition ontology work was intended to change. Perhaps, by recognizing the different viewpoints of ontology specifiers and ontology implementers, we could steer clear of what looks like a dangerous turn of events.
Over time, however, several
The decidable fragment of OWL is
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