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RE: [ontac-forum] Theories, Models, Reasoning, Language, and Truth

To: "ONTAC-WG General Discussion" <ontac-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, "Chris Menzel" <cmenzel@xxxxxxxx>
Cc: "Paul J. Werbos" <pwerbos@xxxxxxx>, Peter Kugler <pkugler@xxxxxxxxxxx>, Peter Stephenson <prstephenson@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Paul S Prueitt" <psp@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 16 Dec 2005 10:53:03 -0700
Message-id: <CBEELNOPAHIKDGBGICBGMEAPHAAA.psp@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>

I must insert a few comments to Chris's responses..    (01)

I will use <Comment by Paul Prueitt> and end of comment to make this easy to
read    (02)

This will not be posted to my web log.    (03)

-----Original Message-----
From: ontac-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:ontac-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx]On Behalf Of Chris Menzel
Sent: Friday, December 16, 2005 9:04 AM
To: ONTAC-WG General Discussion
Subject: Re: [ontac-forum] Theories, Models, Reasoning, Language, and
Truth    (04)

On Fri, Dec 16, 2005 at 08:22:20AM -0700, Paul S Prueitt wrote:
> In this case, the concept of "infinite" must be a potential but not
> actual computational structure.    (05)

The mathematical framework of the modern theory of computation -- as
well as the semantics of RDF(S) and OWL -- is classical, in which there
is no notion of a potential infinite.    (06)

<Comment by Paul Prueitt>
  Many of us are pointing out that there is no mathematical framework for
computation - at least not an axiomatic foundation like one sees in abstract
algebra, topology, number theory, real analysis etc...  Let me state this
differently, trying to anticipate the polemic that Chris will enjoy setting
up.    (07)

Any "mathematical framework" (what ever "this" might mean") proposed for
computational theory, can be replaced with a different framework any time
the object of the theory is altered.  Pure computer science thus has a
problem with relevance.  John is talking about this when he mentions that if
computer science omits the importance of human reality, then we have an
issue of relevance.    (08)

  One also finds no single mathematical framework for modern physics, as
seen in the results of Godel and the incomplete status of physics.  Modern
physics cannot be "completed" using Hilbert mathematics (this is a
reasonable claim).    (09)

Roger Penrose's book, as John Sowa has been pointing out, is an excellent
"complete" over view of modern foundations to physical theory.  In Penrose
he wonderfully develops several different theories and shows how that
specific mathematical foundations explains physical reality very well. Then
he repeats the exercise with a different theory/foundation.   But he says,
these theories are not the same, and have not been unified.  Witten (at
Princeton) writing in string theory has some interesting results on the
unification of four ("different") sting theories.
<end of Comment>    (010)

> I agree that the concept of infinite is a valuable one, but one that
> might be "merely" constructed by human ability to create (induce)
> abstract formal systems.    (011)

It is hard to see what bearing this philosophical question has on the
engineering problem of creating and maintaining high-quality ontologies
and developing effective software for making use of them.    (012)

<Comment by Paul Prueitt>
  The point that is made over and over again, is that only part of the task
of creating ontology is within the confines of "engineering".  [Equivalent
statement is: the field of biology cannot be reduced to the field of
engineering].   This point goes over the head of many engineers, because the
engineering community has an unjustified ontological commitment.  The
blockage we suffer in the ONTAC working group is due (almost entirely) to
this unjustified ontological commitment.  (This is an observation which not
everyone agrees with.)
<end of comment>    (013)

> 2) Semantic dimension is complex:  If RDF is seen as being sufficient
> only within a specific boundary (such as in dealing with simple
> relationships between data elements, then how does one address the
> semantic dimension when humans are interacting in a crisis - for
> example.)    (014)

Your question seems, at least in part, to concern the expressive
limitations of RDF, so I'll address that.  When RDF is too weak for you
to be able to say what you want, you use a more expressive language,
some variant of OWL being the obvious choice.  OWL itself (by design)
has significant expressive limitations and hence might require further
supplementation by the likes of RuleML if more expressive power still is
needed.  The new W3C Rules working group has been formed to (among other
things) bring some order to the problem of adding expressive power in a
principled way when OWL is not enough.    (015)

<Comment by Paul Prueitt>    (016)

and why is OWL the obvious choice?    (017)

The term "expressive" is where we (others) have a problem with what you are
saying, Chris.  You and others in the RDF/OWL camp.  (There is nothing
"personal" here.)  The term "expressive" is used to imply an ability to
"express" the ontological reality what ever it may be.  But this ability has
not been demonstrated in any systems that depend on or are similar to the
W3C standards.    (018)

I have been pointing out a example instance of W3C standards failure.    (019)

The failure to be "expressive" is found in any example of "degeneracy" (the
word as Edelman uses it) in the process mapping between structure and
function - say specific to metabolic expression or gene expression.  After
the fact, one can specify to some degree or accuracy an ontology description
of the pathway over the degeneracy.  But before the fact, the W3C standard
does not have any anchor to address the structural indeterminacy.    (020)

I am not saying that W3C is a complete failure, or that there is no value or
lessons learned that can be earned because of the past ten years of W3C
dominance.  I am saying what others are saying, that it is time to
understand the limitations and move on.    (021)

<end of comment>    (022)

> 3) The separation of the ontology concepts from first order logic
> specification:  How first order logics might be separated from
> existing OWL programs and systems IN SUCH A  WAY that the logic can be
> recombined easily.    (023)

OWL is a declarative language for writing ontologies.  There's no such
thing as an OWL program within the OWL spec.  Also, OWL is based on a
language that is significantly weaker than that of full first-order
logic.  As for "separating" the underlying logic from an OWL ontology
(?) and "recombining" them, you provide no account of what this might
mean, so it is impossible to answer your question.    (024)

<Comment by Paul Prueitt>
Look, and I appeal to others here.  By OWL program, I meant a computer
program written to depend on the OIL in OWL.  The attempt, Chris's attempt,
here is to suggest that I somehow do not know what OWL is, and this is both
unfair and unproductive.  I understand this as part of a polemic, but I am
willing to take the time to address point by point elements of a discussion.
But this polemic just leads into personal insults.  It has taken me a decade
of experience to NOT make these personal insults and to try to understand
the other person's point of view.  But here there is nothing of substance to
respond to.    (025)

It should be clear that I am suggesting to the working group that the task
to be proposed might be precisely to    (026)

   "separate" the underlying logic from an OWL ontology
    and "recombining" them    (027)

Chris has actually created, and done a good job of it, a polemic that
ridicules the notion that the logical apparatus often build into OWL (xxxx I
want to say "program")  humm...  "specific OWL database and code"  can be
removed .   The reason why it should be removable is so that the concept
relationships can be more easily edited and viewed by non-computer
scientists.  Additional reasons that OIL shoudl be removed from OWL is (as
Peter Kugler) just remarked,    (028)

http://www.ontologystream.com/beads/nationalDebate/304.htm    (029)

As for CAN the concepts be removed from an OWL-based program?    (030)

In the SUMO there is a separate "ontology concepts".  The ontology concepts
of SUMO can be extracted and written as RDF/XML without any of those parts
of the SUMO that is separate from the minimal specification of the concept.
<end of comment>    (031)

Cheers!    (032)

<Comment by Paul Prueitt>
I find very little to cheer about over this mess that you make when I (and
others) try to engage on issues that I feel, and that others feel, are
important IF there is to be usable standard beyond the impasse that your
type of thinking seems to enjoy.
It may be fun for some, but it is not fun for me.<end of comment>    (033)

Chris Menzel    (034)

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