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Re: [ontology-summit] OntologyFrameworkDraftStatementfortheOntology Summ

To: Ontology Summit 2007 Forum <ontology-summit@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Bill Andersen <andersen@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sun, 22 Apr 2007 03:23:33 -0400
Message-id: <483904BB-A494-4119-B90D-10E88997650E@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>

I agree with you 101% on your goal.  The reason I went into all this was to provide some kind of argument for precisely what you say below - that the words "concept" and "conceptualization" only serve to create confusion.  

The Merriam-Webster definition is, IMHO, pretty good, except for the bit about "specifically abstract entities" and the focus on language.  The latter is more forgivable since it is, after all, systems grounded in more-or-less formal language that we're talking about.  The former seems confused - why the focus on "specifically the kinds of abstract entities" while admitting (presumably) non-abstract entities.

On Apr 22, 2007, at 01:58 , John F. Sowa wrote:

Bill and Leo,

The matter at hand is not a philosophical question about
the word 'concept', but a practical problem about designing
computer systems.

We may all have varying opinions on the subject, but one thing
is very clear:  words like 'concept' and 'conceptualization'
are creating more confusion than clarification.  Attempting to
define such words will involve endless debate, and we're not
going to resolve the issues before the meeting at NIST.

My recommendation is to avoid using the word 'concept' and its
cognates.  If anybody feels the need for it, please send me
the sentence in which it occurs, and I promise to send a much
clearer restatement that avoids the word.

For example, note the following definition of 'an ontology',
which I extracted from the Merriam-Webster Third Unabridged

    a theory concerning the kinds of entities and specifically
    the kinds of abstract entities to be admitted to a language

This definition uses much simpler and clearer words than the
word that is being defined.  The word 'concept' is definitely
not clear, and there is no need for any such word to be used
in any formal definition.


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