I would say that the title of Smith’s paper suggests a major difference in basis: “Semantics of a Procedural Language” as opposed to “knowledge about some
world”. Ontologies are indeed representations of “a propositional account of knowledge”, but not necessarily knowledge exhibited by any particular process. And the only behavioral role of an ontology per se is the _expression_ of the knowledge. It may well
be that the purpose of developing the ontology is related to engendering some behavior, but the purpose and the use are not the ontology. By comparison, the purpose of a corpus in a procedural language (a program) is to engender behavior, and the meaning
of every element of the language is tightly coupled to behaviors.
Conversely, if you look at a formal ontology for procedures, like Z, it becomes apparent that the nature of procedural statements is not axiomatic; it is only
“propositional” if one defines predicates that state causative relationships. That is, “if A then B” does not mean “if A holds then B holds”, but rather “when A holds in some state S1 of the world of interest, then B (must) hold in some subsequent state S2”.
And the “(must)” is an important part of the semantics. It is not a statement that S2 follows S1 “as the night follows the day”, but rather that a behavior that implements state S2 is required/”engendered”.
All of this is to say that it is possible to construct ontologies for the formal semantics of procedure (and such ontologies exist in the BPMN semantics and
in the Z language semantics, for example), but the formal semantics of procedures is not fundamental to ontologies.
From: ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx]
On Behalf Of Ali H
Sent: Wednesday, October 01, 2014 6:39 PM
Subject: [ontolog-forum] Ontology vs KR
I know this is a topic that has been tread over many years and many times, but I recently came across this statement from Brian C. Smith in :
Any mechanically embodied intelligent process will be comprised of structural ingredients that a) we as external observers naturally take to represent a propositional account of the knowledge that the overall process exhibits, and b) independent
of such external semantic attribution, play a formal but causal and essential role in engendering the behavior that manifests that knowledge.
Why is this definition never proffered when discussing "what is an ontology"?
It seems to me that those in the field of ontology focus on (a).
Do most (formal) ontologists consider Ontology to be (a), and not (b)? If so, why not?
Lastly, I understand that in pantheon of AI sciences, Ontology is often suggested as a sub-discipline of KR - yet why is there such little cross over from KR to Ontology - or am I simply misinformed (c.f. FOIS vs KR or CommonSenseReasoning
as part of AAAI etc) ?
 Smith, Brian C. (1985). "Prologue to Reflections and Semantics in a Procedural Language". In Ronald Brachman and Hector J. Levesque. Readings in Knowledge Representation. Morgan Kaufmann. pp. 31–40.