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Re: [ontology-summit] OntologyFrameworkDraftStatementfortheOntology Summ

To: <ontology-summit@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: <matthew.west@xxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sat, 21 Apr 2007 09:27:22 +0100
Message-id: <808637A57BC3454FA660801A3995FA8F04EC03BB@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Dear Leo,
[Opinion on]
Everything is a concept: entities, relations among them, properties, attributes, even many instances/individuals (days of the week; Joe Montana; etc.) Especially when you think of concept in animal mental apparatus as a placeholder for something real in the real world (I am a realist). Sure, I have a concept for 'Joe Montana'. Is that concept a general notion, i.e., a class of something? No.
The general problem (from my perspective) is that we are typically always addressing two perspectives: 1) ontology, i.e., what exists in the world? and 2) semantics, i.e., what is the relationship between our ways of talking/thinking and those things in the world? To me it's clear that we are talking about (1) things of the world, but our language (and our thought, I would say) interposes another layer or two. I would say there are minimally 3 things: 1) our language (terms and compositions of terms), 2) the senses of terms (and their compositions) which we might characterize as concepts, and 3) real world referents that those senses or concepts somehow point to. In formal semantics, a good theory of reference (i.e., (3)) is hard to come by.
[Opinion off]
I have the same view of concept as you do, as it happens. However, I notice that this is not universally held by any means, and also that there is controversy attached to the term. For this reason I would prefer not to use it. So far I have found I can always manage that.


Matthew West
Reference Data Architecture and Standards Manager
Shell International Petroleum Company Limited
Registered in England and Wales
Registered number: 621148
Registered office: Shell Centre, London SE1 7NA, United Kingdom

Tel: +44 20 7934 4490 Mobile: +44 7796 336538
Email: matthew.west@xxxxxxxxx

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