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Re: [ontac-forum] Neutrality Principle

To: ONTAC-WG General Discussion <ontac-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Smith, Barry" <phismith@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sun, 27 Nov 2005 17:01:16 +0100
Message-id: <>

Building Rome one brick at a time:    (01)

Will John accept for UF the following definition of part_of between 
types A and B:    (02)

A part_of B =def every instance of A is PART of some instance of B    (03)

where PART is the usual, mereological, instance-level relation of 
[proper or improper] parthood, as for instance between John's heart 
and John's body?
BS    (04)

At 04:01 PM 11/27/2005, you wrote:
>In developing a unified framework, we need to get all
>the major players in the ontology field to work together
>right from the beginning.
>Since all the major systems are currently incompatible
>with one another, that requirement imposes constraints
>on what is possible.  Therefore, I propose the following
>*neutrality principle*:
>The unified framework UF should be neutral with respect
>to all the major ontology projects that are currently
>under development.  That implies:
>  1. Every system X that participates in the effort
>     should support import and export operators for
>     importing all of UF or any subset of UF to and
>     from X.
>  2. UF should not contain any categories or relations
>     that would create an inconsistency with any major
>     system X; i.e., it should be possible to import
>     *all* of UF into X without causing an inconsistency.
>  3. Importing UF into any system X and then exporting
>     it from X should result in a version UF' that is
>     logically equivalent to the original UF except for
>     possible cosmetic changes in the formatting.  Those
>     changes should not cause any other system Y that
>     imported UF' to generate inferences that differed
>     from the inferences generated directly from UF.
>  4. Points #2 and #3 imply that the initial version of UF
>     should avoid having a complex or detailed upper level,
>     since most of the inconsistencies between any two
>     ontologies result from problems at the top.  It also
>     implies that the system should contain a minimal
>     number of relations whose definitions are not overly
>     restrictive; i.e., it is better to have *too few*
>     axioms than too many, since the more axioms there
>     are, the more conflicts arise.
>  5. Point #3 implies that the emphasis of the UF should
>     not be on rich inference capabilities, since those are
>     usually highly context dependent and very likely to
>     lead to inconsistencies.  Therefore UF would be better
>     suited to interchange and communication than to extended
>     inference or problem solving.  The extended inferences
>     would be done by more specialized systems, which could
>     add additional axioms of their own and use either
>     logic-based methods or computational techniques.
>  6. UF should avoid features that limit its use to any
>     particular notation or system of inference.  OWL,
>     for example, could be used to represent all of UF,
>     but UF should not have any dependencies on any features
>     of OWL -- either in logic or in formatting -- that are
>     not available in all major systems of ontology.
>The details of these points are negotiable, but the fundamental
>principle of neutrality should be that UF shall be based on the
>minimal subset of features that do not create inconsistencies
>with any major ontology.
>To avoid slighting anybody, I'll avoid listing what ontologies
>should be considered "major".
>John Sowa
>Message Archives: http://colab.cim3.net/forum/ontac-forum/
>To Post: mailto:ontac-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
>Shared Files: http://colab.cim3.net/file/work/SICoP/ontac/
>Community Wiki: 
>    (05)

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