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RE: [ontac-forum] Follow up question on Ontology, knowledge, languagecon

To: "ONTAC-WG General Discussion" <ontac-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Cassidy, Patrick J." <pcassidy@xxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sat, 8 Oct 2005 14:34:34 -0400
Message-id: <6ACD6742E291AF459206FFF2897764BE51D611@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Issue: do we need consensus on an upper ontology?    (01)

[J. Sowa] >>I agree:    (02)

 >> Creating a unified upper ontology, without consensus of
 >> the creators of the leading upper ontologies, is unlikely.    (03)

[JS] > The Standard Upper Ontology WG has led to several projects
> in which people have merged terms and axioms from other
> ontologies, but the people who developed the original
> ontologies have never accepted anyone else's merged
> ontologies as suitable replacements for their own.    (04)

. . . nor should they, unless they can visualize that there is some
benefit to them.  As I mentioned at the meeting, to get a useful Common
Semantic Model (COSMO), consensus is unnecessary.  What is needed is
only the agreement of a community of significant size to use the same
standard of meaning, regardless of whoever prefers other standards.  We
need at least one large community using the same COSMO in order to
achieve the benefits of multiple researchers testing their own
reasoning methods within the same paradigm of meaning representation.
The kinds of non-first-order logic reasoning that John Sowa mentions in    (05)

Only then will we be able to accurately compare reasoning methods and
efficiently reuse the results of other experiments.  We need publicly
available examples of what kinds of reasoning are good for what
purposes, but unless the same COSMO is used, the results will be
difficult to interpret and methods may not be reusable.  The federal
community is large enough in itself to achieve the effects of a common
model, and is large enough that even within the US government unanimity
is not required.    (06)

It will certainly be helpful if some of those who participated in the
creation of existing ontologies also participate in our attempt to
adopt or develop a COSMO.  They can do so without any implication of
commitment to use it or to modify their own systems.  In fact, in the
ideal case, a COSMO might be compatible with and translatable into each
of the existing upper ontologies.  But it doesn't have to be.  
Enough prior art is public to allow those of us who were not associated
with previous projects to decide what will serve as a common model
suitable for a large community.  I hope we can get participation from
experts who have already been through that development process.  But
the more important element right now is to get agreement among a large
community to try using the same (technically competent, even if not
perfect) COSMO, so that we can answer questions that cannot be answered
in any way other than by such public experimentation in using the same
paradigm of meaning.    (07)

As I also mentioned, there are short-term benefits in taxonomy-driven
browsing search for adopting a COSMO, even if no applications using
inferencing are ever developed.  The lack of universal acquiescence is
predictable, but will not prevent making dramatic progress.    (08)

Pat    (09)

Patrick Cassidy
MITRE Corporation
260 Industrial Way
Eatontown, NJ 07724
Mail Stop: MNJE
Phone: 732-578-6340
Cell: 908-565-4053
Fax: 732-578-6012
Email: pcassidy@xxxxxxxxx    (010)

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