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Re: [ontology-summit] OntologyFrameworkDraftStatementfortheOntologySummi

To: "Ontology Summit 2007 Forum" <ontology-summit@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Azamat" <abdoul@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sun, 22 Apr 2007 21:57:30 +0300
Message-id: <003f01c78510$16515b70$a70c7d0a@homepc>
John and all concerned,    (01)

Below is a number of Computing Ontology definitions used in the 
ontology-related communities and a set of dictionary definitions of 
Fundamental Ontology, which might be good to keep in our minds while seeking 
for a reasonable consensus.    (02)

IT/CS ONTOLOGIES DEFINITIONS:
         a set of generic or philosophical concepts, axioms, and 
relationships for domain ontologies;
         a taxonomy of world terms/categories comprising definitions, 
hierarchical relations, and formal axioms;
         a set of definitions of classes and their relations, as well as 
individuals and their properties;
         a catalog of the types of things (representing the predicates, 
word senses, concept and relation types of some formal language) organized 
by the class-subclass taxonomical relation;         metadata schemas with 
machine processable semantics;
         content theories about the kinds of  objects, their properties and 
relationships possible in a certain knowledge field;
          the total of a taxonomy and a set of inference rules or a 
document (or file) formally defining the relations among terms
          the study of semantic values of natural and formal languages and 
ontological commitments about the world    (03)



FUNDAMENTAL ONTOLOGY DEFINITIONS    (04)

         the science (account) of entity (or being) in general;
         the knowledge of the most general structures of reality;
         the theory of the kinds and structures of things in every domain 
of reality;
         the study of entity types and relations;
         the most general theory concerning reality, being, or existence;
         a collection of absolute assumptions;
         the study of change in the world;
         the science of all possible worlds and everything conceivable;    (05)

JS PROPOSAL:
Ontology is a theory concerning the kinds of entities, including abstract
 entities, to be admitted to a language system, formal or
 informal.    (06)

AA PROPOSAL:
Computing ontology is a formal representation of reality (or the kinds of 
the world entities)
to formulate computable models, causal algorithms, and reasoning strategies 
about the world.    (07)



Bottom Line:    (08)

1. Ontology is a general account of reality, its entities and relationships, 
concerning with all the major kinds of things making up the structure of the 
world, reality, universe, or existence.    (09)

2. As an IT/CS ontology, it is about how the world and its domains can be 
mapped to the coded representations and symbolic structures in machines.    (010)

3. In computing applications and knowledge technology, ontology forms the 
world representation and reasoning semantic framework for knowledge 
technology: Internet-based software tools, artificial cognitive systems, and 
intelligent agents.  The computing ontology is the advanced knowledge tools 
for reality-centric organization of knowledge (information or data) and for 
providing the general mechanisms of reasoning over data (strategic rules).    (011)



Wish all a profitable and friutful meeting,    (012)

Azamat Abdoullaev    (013)

EIS Encyclopedic Intelligent Systems LTD    (014)

Cyprus, Russia    (015)







Fundamental ----- Original Message ----- From: "John F. Sowa" 
<sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>To: "Ontology Summit 2007 Forum" 
<ontology-summit@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>Sent: Sunday, April 22, 2007 6:16 
PMSubject: Re: 
[ontology-summit]OntologyFrameworkDraftStatementfortheOntologySummit> Mike, 
Bill, Chris, Steve, Leo, and Barry,> > MU> These two word senses [from the 
M-W dictionary] pretty> > much do cover the difference between what I was 
calling> > philosophical ontology, vs. IT/CS ontologies.> > That should not 
be surprising, because every IT/CS ontology> depends on some prior 
*philosophical* analysis -- unfortunately,> it's sometimes rather bad 
philosophy.> > BA> 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.> > I agree that the word 'specifically' is confusing.  It was 
actually> written "specif.", which is a common abbreviation in that 
dictionary> for a more specific sense that follows.  That phrase could be 
changed> to "including abstract entities".> > Note that the word 'language' 
was used in the phrase "language systems".> That definition from 1971 was 
written by a philosopher (M-W does use> editors who are experts in the 
subject matter) who was well aware of> the work on formal languages in the 
first-half of the 20th century.> To clarify that point, we could add the 
phrase "formal and informal"> at the end.> > With those two revisions, 
definition 2 becomes:> >  2. a theory concerning the kinds of entities, 
including abstract>     entities, to be admitted to a language system, 
formal or>     informal.> > The language system, for example, could be 
Common Logic and all its> dialects.  The entities "admitted" to that system 
would be everything> in the domain of quantification.  The theory would be 
all the axioms> that that refer to those entities.> > CP> Even when it is 
about describing a situation -- it is not always> > clear how reference 
works. David Armstrong gives as an example> > the statement that "there are 
at least two people in the room"> > -- when there are a lot more. What does 
the statement refer to> > (e.g. which two people?) -- you have to go through 
quite a few> > contortions to rescue reference.> > Those "contortions" are 
handled very precisely by model theory,> If anybody asks "Which two do you 
mean?"  The answer is simple:> "Any two -- your choice."> > CP> So what 
seems to me to characterise a model of an ontology> > is a desire to map the 
"things in the world" directly via> > reference  and that language, 
concepts, etc do not necessarily> > share that desire.> >> > I am not sure 
that this desire has been made explicit in the> > current Ontology Framework 
Draft Statement for the Ontology> > Summit -- and I think it might usefully 
do so.> > I agree that a few words would be useful, and I suggest some> 
words in my response to Leo (at the end of this note).> > SN> As for me, I 
doubt that there's anything invariant about> > the soup, and I suspect that 
whatever may appear to be> > invariant cannot be relied upon to remain so.> 
 > I was using the word 'invariant' in the sense of mathematics,> physics, 
and computer science:  a relationship (described by> some mathematical or 
logical expression) that remains unchanged> under some transformation.> > In 
physics, for example, there can be constant, even chaotic,> motion, but the 
focus of the subject is on what remains invariant> under various 
transformations.  Examples include things like mass,> energy, momentum, 
angular momentum, etc.> > When we're talking about knowledge soup, the 
invariants would be> patterns that remain constant under various kinds of 
translations> from one language to another.  (And by the way, different 
invariants> may be associated with different kinds of transformations.)> > 
LO> "Theories", they think they understand because they've heard> > the word 
as referring to scientific theories, but they don't> > really know what a 
theory is.> >> > So I start off using "concept" and tell them 
simultaneously> > that it is a placeholder for the thing in the world, etc.> 
 > Then I build up to theories, in fact logical theories.> > I think you can 
say something short and understandable without> raising dubious or at least 
debatable issues about concepts, etc.> At the end of this note is my 
suggestion.> > BS> Am I right in thinking that you want a 3-level theory, 
here,> > with concepts serving as intermediaries between terms and> > 
entities?  If so, why is this intermediary level necessary?> > How does it 
help?  How, in particular, does it help pedagogically,> > given that 
(demonstrably) people find the term 'concept' so> > difficult to 
understand?> > I agree that we should not raise any of those issues in the> 
summary.  I just checked the M-W and Longman's dictionaries for> a 
definition of 'concept'.  M-W gave a long list of options,> and Longman's 
didn't attempt to define the word.  Following is> their entry:> >    "a 
general idea, thought, or understanding."> > The lexicographers who wrote 
that definition had no desire to> enter the tar pit.> > Following is a 
suggested definition of the two senses of the> word 'ontology' and two 
sentences of explanation.  The best> way to clarify that definition is to 
give examples.> > John> 
________________________________________________________________> > [In the 
following definition, the first sense is taken from> the _Longman Dictionary 
of Contemporary English_ and the second> from M-W, as modified above in 
response to Bill Andersen.]> > The word 'ontology' is used in two senses:> > 
1. The branch of philosophy concerned with the nature of>     existence and 
the relations between things.> >  2. A theory concerning the kinds of 
entities, including>     abstract entities, to be admitted to a language 
system,>     formal or informal.> > In computer systems, the language can be 
any version of logic,> such as Common Logic, RDF, OWL, or many others.  A 
theory is> a collection of statements in some version of logic that is> used 
to characterize the entities and relations of some domain.>  Tom and Azamat,
I realize that a lot of hard work has gone into writing that
document, but some of it raises more questions than it can
answer.  In particular, words like 'conceptualization' and
'representation' are especially frustrating, because they
are used in conflicting ways that create more confusion
than enlightenment.
TG> The draft document is written as a logical walk down
 > a set of distinctions, so that we could discuss the source
 > of disagreements and clearly identify the point of departure.
That opening section was not clear at all.  And as I said,
there is no "point of departure" between philosophy and
computer science when it comes to ontology.
TG> To say there is no difference between what a professor
 > of Aristotelian ontology means by ontology and what a
 > bioinformatics computer scientist managing a gene database
 > means is absurd.
No.  If they both have a good background in logic, they
would be in complete agreement about the definition of
ontology and its application to bioinfomatics.
Aristotle, by the way, was a pioneer in both formal logic
*and* biology.  As a result of applying his methods of
analysis, he was the first to recognize that a sponge is
an animal, not a plant.  Among the experiments that he and
his students carried out was the study of how an embryo
develops:  they started with 30 chicken eggs and broke
open one egg each day to examine the embryo.  Biologists
recognize that as one of the first and best illustrations
of good experimental procedure.
TG> There is a new word sense for ontology...
No.  In both philosophy and computer science, there are two
ways of using the word 'ontology'.  I suggest the following
two definitions, which apply equally well to both fields:
Ontology:  The analysis and classification of what exists.
An ontology:  The result of an ontological analysis of some
domain, presented as a formal description and classification
of the types of entities and relations in that domain.
These definitions apply to Aristotle's work and to "a
bioinformatics computer scientist managing a gene database."
AA> I suggest to find a way and consider a kind of definition
 > not isolating computing ontology from the mainstream as
 > something odd and extraordinary, out of the blue sky. It is
 > plain that there are fundamental ontology, a universal account
 > of reality, and applied ontologies, where the computing
 > ontology belongs in.
I agree.
AA> Computing ontology is a formal representation of reality
 > and its domains, levels, and complex entities and is used to
 > formulate computable models, causal algorithms, and reasoning
 > strategies about the world, its parts and aspects.
The last two lines of this definition apply "an ontology" as
defined above to computer systems.  Therefore, I believe that
we should state a general definition (as above) and add a few
lines such as these to adapt it computer science.
John    > _________________________________________________________________
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