[Top] [All Lists]

Re: [ontac-forum] Adequate ontologies and better ontological analysis fo

To: ONTAC-WG General Discussion <ontac-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Smith, Barry" <phismith@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 30 Nov 2005 16:14:19 +0100
Message-id: <>
 From Gary Berg-Cross    (01)

>Sorry to be at the Ontology 101 level, but 
>a  long time ago (1998)\ Gruber, arguing that we 
>need objective criteria founded on the purpose 
>of ontological model,  drafted some 
>guidelines  to evaluate ontological designs 
>(other than “ a priori” notions of naturalness 
>or Truth). Below are 4 from what I believe were 
>his preliminary set of design criteria for 
>ontologies for knowledge sharing and 
>interoperation.  I’m not sure that I agree with 
>the 4th but it might be interesting to see what the group thinks about these…
>1. Clarity. An ontology should effectively 
>communicate the intended meaning of defined 
>terms. Definitions should be objective.... 
>Wherever possible, a complete definition (a 
>predicate defined by necessary and sufficient 
>conditions) is preferred over a partial 
>definition (defined by only necessary or 
>sufficient conditions). I take some of Barry’s 
>comments to show that Roy’s categories are not 
>complete or at least subject to alternative interpretations.
>2. Coherence. An ontology should be coherent: 
>that is, it should sanction inferences that are 
>consistent with the definitions.... If a 
>sentence that can be inferred from the axioms 
>contradicts a definition or example given 
>informally, then the ontology is incoherent.
>3. Extendibility An ontologiest should be able 
>to define new terms for special uses based on 
>the existing vocabulary, in a way that does not 
>require the revision of the existing 
>definitions.  (we need to look ahead to 
>integrations that will be needed, a particular problem for a general ontology)
>4. Minimal ontological commitment....(Perhaps 
>part of what the lattice discussion has been 
>about…I’m not sure that Barry would agree with 
>this and it might be interesting to here sides 
>of the argument). An ontology should make as few 
>claims as possible about the world being 
>modeled, allowing the parties committed to the 
>ontology freedom to specialize and instantiate the ontology as needed."    (02)

I accept all of the above, and Gary is right that 
many of my remarks thus far in this forum have 
been in their spirit. I think I would understand 
4 in terms different from Gruber himself, 
however. The job of ontology is to unify 
communities with heterogeneous data and 
information. If we enforce minimum ontological 
coherence on what they do, then this would mean 
enforcing no constraints at all, and then we end 
up with heterogeneous data and information in 
separate bags (namespaces, I think W3C calls 
them; it seems to think that they are good things 
for ontological purposes; I think they still 
leave us in a bad position regarding the problem 
of unification). If we enforce too much 
ontological coherence then we will find too few 
groups who are willing to use the ontology.
BS     (03)

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: 
http://colab.cim3.net/cgi-bin/wiki.pl?SICoP/OntologyTaxonomyCoordinatingWG    (04)
<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>