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

To: Ontology Summit 2007 Forum <ontology-summit@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sat, 21 Apr 2007 12:44:41 -0400
Message-id: <462A3F79.106@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Folks,    (01)

As I said in a previous note, we need a short, simple,
definition that covers the use of the word 'ontology' in
both philosophy and computer science.    (02)

 > Has anyone introduced the distinction between ontology
 > as a discipline and an ontology?    (03)

Yes, quite often in this and the past 3 millennia.    (04)

In particular, following are the 1971 definitions from the
Merriam-Webster Third Unabridged dictionary:    (05)

  1. a science or study of being; specifically, a branch of
     metaphysics relating to the nature and relations of being.    (06)

  2. a theory concerning the kinds of entities and specifically
     the kinds of abstract entities to be admitted to a language
     system.    (07)

Definition 1 covers the study, and definition 2 covers the
result of such a study.  In particular, definition 2 is a
neutral, nonpartisan definition that covers every application
of ontology in any computer application.  It also avoids the
problematic words that have created the email debates over
the past few days.    (08)

As Paola D. said, much more has been done.  But all of that
should be in the commentary, not in the definition.    (09)

The advantage of a neutral definition, such as the one above,
is that it has not been influenced or "tainted" by any of the
current computer projects.  Therefore, it covers every one of
them and most likely any that may be developed in the future.    (010)

The commentary is the place to put the extensions and variations
that have been implemented in current systems.    (011)

John Sowa    (012)

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