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[ontolog-forum] The tools are not the problem

To: "'[ontolog-forum] '" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: John F Sowa <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 22 Jan 2014 11:33:37 -0500
Message-id: <52DFF2E1.8030401@xxxxxxxxxxx>
John,    (01)

I moved this thread to Ontolog Forum, since it addresses a broader issue
than the usual topics on the Ontology-Summit list.    (02)

On 1/22/2014 2:51 AM, John McClure wrote:
> There are two competing notions of the predicate in theories of grammar
> <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grammar>.^[1]
> <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Predicate_%28grammar%29#cite_note-1>
> ...
> The second derives from work in predicate calculus (predicate logic
> <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Predicate_logic>, first order logic) and
> is prominent in modern theories of syntax and grammar. _/*In this
> approach, the predicate of a sentence corresponds mainly to the main
> verb and any auxiliaries*/_ that accompany the main verb...    (03)

The issues about the relationships between language and logic are
ancient.  Before Aristotle, nobody even thought that there was
a distinction between the two.  The Greeks used the word 'logos'
with a broad range of meanings.  The modern distinctions are based
on translations of Aristotle's Greek to Latin by Cicero, Boethius,
and the medieval Scholastics:    (04)

  1. Ratio:  The word 'ratio' in the sense of 'reason' is a translation
     of 'logos' in the phrase 'zon logon echon' (animal having logos)
     to 'animal rationalis' (rational animal).    (05)

  2. Verbum:  The word 'verbum' meaning 'word' is the usual translation
     in the first verse in the Gospel according to John:  "In the
     beginning was the logos" became "In the beginning was the verbum".    (06)

  3. Propositio:  Aristotle also uses the word 'logos' as the meaning
     of a sentence.  Latin 'propositio' became English 'proposition'.    (07)

Aristotle's word 'kategoria' was translated 'praedicatum' (what is said
about something).  That became the English 'predicate'.  But the word
'kategoria' was also transliterated to 'categoria' from which we get
'category'.  In Greek, the same word is used for both.    (08)

For related terms,    (09)

Aristotle, _On Interpretation_, 16a1.
> First we must determine what are noun (onoma) and verb (rhma);
> and after that, what are negation (apophasis), assertion
> (kataphasis), proposition (apophansis), and sentence (logos).    (010)

JM
> Please comment on the fundamental criticism I am making here about
> the design pattern for RDF properties: FOL's verbs vs RDF's nouns.    (011)

One of the arguments for the RDF triples was that some simple examples
could be easily mapped to an English-like subject-verb-object form.
In practice, the mappings are more complex and far less readable.    (012)

As these examples show, there has been over two thousand years of
debate about the options.  In modern linguistics and logic, there
are even more debates about more options.  For a brief survey, see
http://www.jfsowa.com/talks/goal2.pdf    (013)

My recommendation is to use controlled natural languages for ontology.
For a survey of CNLs, with some studies of readability, writability,
and error rates, see http://www.tkuhn.ch/talk/larc2013cnl.pdf    (014)

Slide 57 from Kuhn's survey of CNLs
> The Manchester OWL Syntax is a user-friendly syntax
> for the ontology language OWL.
>
> Example: Pizza and not (hasTopping some FishTopping) and
> not (hasTopping some MeatTopping)    (015)

Slide 159 compares Manchester OWL syntax to the ACE language,
which Kuhn uses.  Some examples:    (016)

    M-OWL:  Bob HasType Developer
    ACE:    Bob is a developer.    (017)

    M-OWL:  Bob HasType owns some (not cup)
    ACE:    Bob owns something that is not a cup.    (018)

Slide 160 compares the error rates and time to write equivalent
sentences in these two notations.    (019)

Not surprisingly, ACE is better.    (020)

John    (021)

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