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Re: [ontolog-forum] Constructs, primitives, terms

To: ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 14 Mar 2012 12:22:45 -0500
Message-id: <4F60D3E5.10102@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Cory,    (01)

By "universal ontology" I meant any ontology that is intended for
a broad range of applications.  That includes anything that people
have called an "upper ontology". But it could include specifications
that people don't usually call an upper ontology.    (02)

> [cbc] Are these "universal" ontologies indeed underspecified or are
> they in fact properly specified for their scope?    (03)

There is nothing improper about being underspecified. It just means
that they avoid stating constraints (axioms) that might be false
in some of the desired applications.    (04)

That is true of *all* ontologies specified in OWL -- because OWL was
designed so that it has only a limited expressive power.  Nearly
every application that uses OWL also adds further details in some
other language, declarative or procedural.    (05)

> Each domain of application will need to add more information
> that specializes the definitions in the general ontology. And
> the details added for one domain or one kind of application are
> likely to be inconsistent with the details needed for others.    (06)

> [cbc] So are these in fact then the same concept or are they
> derivative concepts, perhaps sharing the same label?    (07)

To be precise, the more general ontology would define a concept C,
and the more specific ontology would define a more specialized
concept C'.  Every instance of C' would also be an instance of C.
But some instances of C might not be instances of C'.    (08)

In common usage, people often use the same label for C and C'.
If a statement is made in the context of C', that usage would be
acceptable, since all the constraints for C' hold in that context.    (09)

But for any message sent outside the context in which C' is defined,
it is important to add some distinguishing prefix, suffix, or other
qualifier to the label of C.    (010)

John    (011)

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