|From:||Ali H <asaegyn@xxxxxxxxx>|
|Date:||Wed, 8 Oct 2014 12:33:07 -0400|
Your concern about the conflation of the term ontology, especially as it has been co-opted and transformed in the computational sense is well appreciated. This co-option does seem to introduce significant ambiguity in discourse, though I would suggest that a clarification, not a retreat is warranted.
From a broad sociological vantage, what the field of computational ontology seems to consist of, is individuals and/or organizations developing computational ontologies describing a variety of domains at various levels of detail, abstraction and expressivity.
The knowledge represented in these ontologies are the distillation, constrained by whatever institutional / social processes the activities of computational ontology creation allowed. That is to say, the epistemologies of the individual contributors seems to be obliquely mediated by the ontology construction processes, while the various purposes regulate which levels of detail, abstraction and expressivity are followed through and selected.
To that end, while I empathize with your observation that we could simply call these endeavours "knowledge representation and schema", I think that the connection to philosophical ontology is more than superficial, and something would be lost in reducing it to KR + schema.
Specifically, I would posit that some confusion arises because the philosophical underpinnings of the ontological assumptions that make their way into ontology artefacts and systems are glossed over or taken for granted. At the risk of sidetracking this conversation, I'll invoke Polanyi , if only to highlight the importance that the broader context of how one arrives at an ontological claim is pertinent to what one calls an ontology artefact.
Applying the above thinking to computational ontology, I think we can generate ontology artefacts (not just KR + schema) by considering the broader system in which the artefacts are generated. That is to say, the epistemology, purposes and indeed the procedural systems which interpret, reason and do things with an ontology artefact are instrumental to discipline and understanding of computational ontology.
As noted in the response to Ed B, there is obvious merit in separating ontological analysis from other structural layers. However, virtually every ontological artefact that has been created to date, has displayed a need for belief revision, knowledge evolution or some way of updating the ontological assumptions and ontology artefact. This would seem to be significant evidence that these computational ontologies are situated in a broader dynamic / context which is not adequately captured by the ontology artefact alone.
Imo, this process becomes increasingly difficult, because computational ontology is interpreted too narrowly; and too often, ontological engineers create ontology artefacts that do not properly catalog or articulate their links to the underlying epistemologies, purposes and processes which encompass and give meaning to the ontology artefacts.
 Michael Polanyi, “Knowing and Being,” Mind, 70 N. S. 458-470, 1961
 Marjorie Grene, "The Knower and the Known" London: University of California Press Ltd, 1974.
 Phil Mullins “Comprehension and the ‘Comprehensive Entity’: Polanyi’s Theory of Tacit Knowing and Its Metaphysical Implications”. Tradition and Discovery 33:3, 26-43, 2006.
 Tihamér Margitay. “From Epistemology to Ontology: Polanyi’s Arguments for the Layered Ontology”. In Margitay, T. ed. Knowing and Being: Perspectives on the Philosophy of Michael Polanyi. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars: 128-140, 2010.
On Wed, Oct 1, 2014 at 7:32 PM, Steven Ericsson-Zenith <steven@xxxxxxx> wrote:
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