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Re: [ontology-summit] Ontology Framework Draft Statement for the Ontolog

To: mudcat@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, Ontology Summit 2007 Forum <ontology-summit@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Cc: Ontology Summit 2007 Forum <ontology-summit@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Smith, Barry" <phismith@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sat, 21 Apr 2007 16:39:59 +0200
Message-id: <20070421144012.4B34D109AE0@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
At 04:15 PM 4/21/2007, mudcat@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx wrote:
>Hello Barry,
>Quoting "Smith, Barry" <phismith@xxxxxxxxxxx>:
> >
> >
> > At 12:07 AM 4/21/2007, you wrote:
> > >I agree: we've worked with the definition "a formal descriptions of
> > >terms and the relationships between them" [1] as being good enough
> > >to know what we talking about when we're talking about what we're
> > >talking about...and "good enough" should be good enough.
> >
> >
> > If 'term', here, means 'linguistic expression' (or perhaps more
> > narrowly 'noun-phrase'), then this definition would make ontology a
> > branch of linguistics.
>I don't see the reduction of ontology to linguistics.
>If I have a first-order ontology, I have a nonlogical
>lexicon of symbols that denote elements or sets of elements in
>some domain; this doesn't make first-order logic a branch of
>linguistics.    (01)

I agree that there is a sense of 'term' (meaning, roughly, 'entity') 
in which your definition works; but it is very much a secondary 
sense, so that its use is likely to be misleading, since the primary 
sense is linguistic (a term is a word); perhaps we can use 'entity' 
(this has the perhaps trivial advantage that it comes from the same 
Greek root as 'ontology').    (02)

This does not mean 'term' is not relevant to our purposes. An 
ontology (in my view) consists of terms (and relational expressions), 
which represent entities (and the relations between them).    (03)

>I agree that with informal ontologies the line is blurry --
>is WordNet part of linguistics or is it an informal ontology?
> > Most of the ontologies with which I am working
> > would not satisfy this definition.
>Can you please provide some description of the ontologies
>with which you are working? This could provide examples
>and counterexamples for comparison with other perspectives.    (04)

Most of them are in the OBO Foundry (http://obofoundry.org); by far 
the most influential (50K users) is the Gene Ontology. These are not 
ontologies which represent concepts (or meanings or terms); rather 
they represent entities in biological reality.
BS      (05)

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