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Re: [ontology-summit] Ontology Framework Draft StatementfortheOntology S

To: Ontology Summit 2007 Forum <ontology-summit@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Smith, Barry" <phismith@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sat, 21 Apr 2007 10:42:56 +0200
Message-id: <20070421084740.6A309109D22@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
At 01:12 AM 4/21/2007, you wrote:
>In discussions I use:
>"A representation of the structure of concepts and the relations
>between them, in a form that a computer can reason with."
>Pat    (01)

Unfortunately, as I can document ad nauseam if people want, those who 
think that this is what an ontology is, too often make a series of 
characteristic errors (some of which are indeed present in the Draft 
Framework Document) because they slide between:    (02)

concepts have meanings
concepts are meanings
concepts designate meanings
concepts are units of knowledge
concepts are ideas in the minds of experts
concepts represent entities (e.g. classes, types, properties) in reality
concepts are entities in reality
concepts are terms
concepts are designated by terms
concepts designate terms    (03)

etc. (These confusions are endemically present for example in 
practically all relevant ISO Terminology Standards documents.)    (04)

In addition we have a further sliding around between    (05)

ontologies represent concepts
ontologies consist of concepts    (06)

etc.    (07)

My conjecture is that it is too late to bring about conditions in 
which the word 'concept' will have a single meaning that is 
understood and accepted (and reliably employed) by even a large 
fraction of the community we are addressing (this holds, a 
fortiorissimo, for 'conceptualization'). Thus if we use this term in 
a definition of 'ontology' we will not be performing a public service.    (08)

Barry    (09)

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