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Re: [ontology-summit] Definitions from the Merriam-Webster 3rd

To: Ontology Summit 2007 Forum <ontology-summit@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 20 Apr 2007 21:53:59 -0400
Message-id: <46296EB7.4000807@xxxxxxxxxxx>
I agree with Leo that this debate is endless, but I also believe
that a definition is valuable.  My suggestion is simple:    (01)


I checked the Merriam-Webster Third Unabridged, copyright 1971,
and the Merriam-Webster Collegiate, copyright 1969.  Both of
them were published *before* anybody started to apply the word
'ontology' to computer science, but their definitions are better
than than anything else that is likely to come out of all this
wrangling.    (03)

My recommendation is to take definition 1a and definition 2
from the Third Unabridged:    (04)

  1. a science or study of being; specifically, a branch of
     metaphysics relating to the nature and relations of being.    (05)

  2. a theory concerning the kinds of entities and specifically
     the kinds of abstract entities to be admitted to a language
     system.    (06)

Definition 2 covers exactly what we are doing with computer
ontologies.    (07)

ISO normally uses the OED, but I don't have a copy of the OED
handy. If the group prefers the OED, I would accept that as well.    (08)

Let's just take the two definitions above (or the corresponding
definitions from the OED) and stop all this wrangling.  If we try
to change a single word, we will go on forever.    (09)

John    (010)

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