Rich, what do you think "ontology engineering is
about the representation of information"
probably meant “what do you think representation of information means
with respect to ontologies”, so that is the question I will answer.
all, the types that must be recorded in a database can only be guessed at to
begin with – i.e. the prototype stage. But reality has a way of
sinking prototypes, which usually get thrown away within a few months of the
actual contract award.
representation” is about as meaningful a phrase as “writing”.
It doesn’t really tell much about what information, how it will be used
in actual cases, how it evolves on a daily basis as new, and possibly
inconsistent knowledge is gained, and how the organizational constraints focus
work flow into efficient pockets. Last of all, the users of the system
are PEOPLE who have predispositions and enormous databases of experience.
Without the people, logic is stopped in its tracks. So I am interested in
what subjective views users hold about the contexts within the system that they
are exposed to.
"Information" here means information about
the real world. That is, the constants of our representation languages refer to
real things in some domain; the predicates of those languages pick out real
properties of, and relations among, those things.
posters on this list have explained how the “constants” you
mentioned quickly become variables in large scale systems developments.
If the information is so simple it can be defined before the construction
begins, then it probably isn’t very much more than syntactic sugar rather
than truly meaningful “real world” information.
systems, even those called “legacy” systems, at least at the large
scale end of system development, have a way of changing faster than real
time. Information DEFINITIONS, not just the information stored, changes
at a rapid pace because people use the deployed systems for things not
anticipated by the original developers.
interest in ontology is more for the latter effect – the flexible,
changeable nature of systems. Ontology may be able to help (or not) with
that pace of change problem. That is why we are discussing the issues
which you don’t recognize as ontology. Yet these issues are
essential to those of us who deal with real systems and try to apply
improvements in the theoretical realm to actual real systems and the actual
real situations (not the specified situations) which develop with use.
The point of my post is that the quasi-philosophy that
has come to dominate this list has gotten away from issues related to the
central task of ontology engineering, namely, the construction of actual
ontologies, actual logical representations of information that are rich and
precise enough to be used by computational systems.
disagree. The purpose of the ontology list is to deal with transitioning
ontology theory into ontology practice. The “quasi-philosophy”
you mentioned isn’t philosophy at all; it comprises real examples that we
discussants have experienced in actual development and deployment. If the
ONLY thing you are interested in is writing papers about theoretical ontology,
then you should find a journal to read and publish in, but Peter Yim has
specifically stated that one goal of this list is to facilitate transitioning
of the ontology theoretical frameworks into practice.
I'm not saying the quasi-philosophical stuff is
entirely out of place, just that there is way too much of it, especially given
that much of it covers material that is discussed more deeply and in more
I disagree. I think there is too
much discussion of logic, which nearly everyone knows enough of on this list to
be comfortable with. There is no reason to beat the dead logic horse over
the head again and again without relating the topic of the list to actual
development and deployments.
You may want to take the approach that Pat
Hayes took. He put my specs in his email client and arranged rules so
that he could divert my emails to his “junk email” folder.
That way he doesn’t have to read my posts most of the time. If you
do the same thing, you will be focused only on the purely logical issues you
crave, and we won’t have to go through this discussion again every few months.
My concern with ontology is not limited to
the logical side, of which I already know enough to work with. Instead,
my concern is with the users of the system, the developers of the system, and
the potentially enhanced flexibility of the systems that may (or not) be
improved by using ontologies. That hasn’t been proven yet to my
satisfaction, though it seems to have satisfied your needs already.
One way I deal with this kind of issue is
to provide ways in which systems can change definitions as needed. To do
so, I put a Metadata database into my 7,209,923 which can be updated using
tools that modify both the Metadata database and the operational
So I suggest we not keep discussing
this. It really isn’t an issue, and certainly doesn’t need to
have us both focus attention on it. I don’t think logic is
unnecessary or unimportant; I think it can make a major contribution, but alone
it is insufficient. That’s all I am saying; give thought a
Rich AT EnglishLogicKernel DOT com
9 4 9 \ 5 2 5 - 5 7 1 2
[mailto:ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Christopher Menzel
Sent: Friday, March 30, 2012 11:38
Subject: Re: [ontolog-forum] metaphysis,semantics and the
research program of ontologies
On Thu, Mar 29, 2012 at 9:59 PM, Rich Cooper
I am discussing ontology development from the point of view of
various users, not only from the point of view of professors or logicians.
Ah yes, the old chestnut we "professors and logicians" only
traffic in "theory" and have no experience with the *real* world. In
fact, it is about as closely connected to reality as the idea that universities
are liberal indoctrination mills.
Though logic has its place in ontology, it is not sufficient to
designate the objects that ontologies are about. Numerous examples have
been given by Hans, Amanda, Mike, and myself.
May I suggest that you consider for a while exactly what those
variable and constant names in a logical _expression_ refer to? What do you
do when people (e.g. on this list) disagree about what is referenced? If
ontology can’t point to meaningful objects and relationships, then it is
Rich, what do you think "ontology engineering is about the representation of information" means?
"Information" here means information about the real world. That is,
the constants of our representation languages refer to real things in some
domain; the predicates of those languages pick out real properties of, and
relations among, those things. The point of my post is that the
quasi-philosophy that has come to dominate this list has gotten away from
issues related to the central task of ontology engineering, namely, the
construction of actual ontologies, actual logical representations of
information that are rich and precise enough to be used by computational
systems. I'm not saying the quasi-philosophical stuff is entirely out of place,
just that there is way too much of it, especially given that much of it covers
material that is discussed more deeply and in more detail elsewhere.
On Thu, Mar 29,
2012 at 7:32 PM, Rich Cooper <rich@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Reality is far, far more than logic.
Indeed. Why you
think this is in any way germane to my post is a mystery to me.
of any representation of reality is so that we can
manipulate reality in ways that assist us, and so
that we can know which realities cannot be
In addition to logic, there is usefulness,
appreciation (beauty, attractiveness, elegance,
love, lust, ..), value (preference of one thing
over another given a choice), and all the
Limiting ourselves to just logic is a poor strategy, IMHO.
This is so far off
the point I hardly know where to begin. Ontology engineering is about the representation
of information. But there is no limitation on the type of information — it can be anything
from payrolls to art to ethics. And, obviously, extra-logical methods and tools
will be involved in the analysis and collection of that information. But the medium of representation in ontology
engineering is formal logic and constructing ontologies in formal logic is the
name of the game. It makes about as much sense to talk about
"limiting" ontologists to "just logic" as it does to talk about
"limiting" a conductor to "just an orchestra". If you are
not talking about issues and problems related ultimately to the representation
of information — any information — in logic, you are not talking
about ontology engineering.