The key point is that the context and associated frame(s) of reference used to specify identity should be made explicit (in-line or via indirection to some source specifying said context parameters). The NCOIC has developed a set of net centric principles, one of which, “entity primacy”, grapples directly with this identity issue. Several of the other principles also deal with this identity issue in a supporting fashion (like “explicitness”). Entity primacy is a bit of a somewhat intentional misnomer. It is intended to force people to consider that however they might identify/name some entity, at whatever level of specificity or atomicity, other people/institutions in other contexts may use some other identity for the same entity. Entity primacy is worded this way to set it off from “collective primacy”, the usual way that entities are identified (e.g., name, SSN, Passport number, employee number, customer ID, UPC, MAC address, VIN, country code, part number, etc. etc.). Put differently, any entity has a multiplicity of identities, each of which is associated with specific collective contexts in which the entity is considered important enough to be assigned an identity. But of course, none of these “identities” is the “true” or “innate” identity of the entity in question. Nor do we really care what that true/innate identity might be, or whether it even exists. The point is that the entity has existence independent of the collective context in which it is identified – hence “entity primacy”. Ideally, everyone would respect the fact that the identity they assign to some entity isn’t the only identity for said entity.
Unfortunately, many information system contexts treat the identity they assign to entities as the only operable identity. This is usually done for very pragmatic reasons, especially in “closed world” contexts. Increasingly, such narrow information system contexts are being exposed to other and often unexpected contexts (i.e., interoperability issues), usually over a network connection. Pragmatically, most systems can only afford to map the identities of entities they reference/model to only a few external contexts, but mapping to at least one widely accepted external context is a step in the right direction. Making those contexts and their scope explicit and discoverable over a network connection increases the overall ability to deal with the multiplicity of identities for modeled/represented entities in information systems.
From: ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of William Frank
Sent: Saturday, May 18, 2013 7:47 PM
Subject: Re: [ontolog-forum] What is the role of an upper level ontology?
The examples can be and have been multiplied and debated for millennia.
Of course, my point is, one can delve into these subtleties, and multiply the examples, find the hard cases, or one can say, this is at least a simple stake in the ground, instead of starting with nothing, and saying nobody understands *anything* about identity.
I consider identity conditions
absolutely right! But, like anything else in science. Fallible in application, in other words, we might measure wrong, and fallible as assertions. In other words, the identity conditions stated may turn out not to be quite right, or even altogether wrong.
and not fundamental.
This follows from 2, and I understand you use the word fundamental.
however, all this talk about identity here does not seem to have taking these basic points into account.
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