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RE: [ontac-forum] Future directions for ontologies and terminologies

To: "Lichtblau, Dale" <Del@xxxxxxx>, "ONTAC-WG General Discussion" <ontac-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, "Lichtblau, Dale" <Del@xxxxxxx>
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 28 Dec 2005 23:37:21 EST
Message-id: <43b36801.11467.0@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Chris, Pat, Dale, Nicolas, and Barry,    (01)

I'll respond to the detailed points later, but I'd just like
to make a few general observations:    (02)

 1. All the responses confirm my point that the kinds of
    axioms, the level of detail, and the granularity required
    are problem dependent, and any attempt to enforce a
    one-size-fits-all ontology would be a disaster.        (03)

 2. Chris talked about distributed reasoning systems in which
    different agents use different axioms.  We have them today.
    They're called committees, juries, legislatures, advisory
    boards, etc.  They're often good for making evaluations,
    but no so good for designs (cf. the proverbial camel).    (04)

 3. I agree with Pat that a single ontology would promote
    interoperability among the systems that adopt it.  But
    nobody has addressed the problem of legacy systems and
    future systems.  Pat does not want to talk about "fixed
    and frozen" systems and wants to let the ontologies evolve.
    So do I.  But I maintain that the fundamental design
    must accommodate evolution from the beginning.  That's
    the point of the lattice of theories.    (05)

 4. Dale's quotation from Steiner is very apt.  I would just
    add two lines to the following:    (06)

    "No two historical epochs, no two social classes, no two
    localities use words and syntax to signify exactly the
    same things, to send identical signals of valuation and
    inference. Neither do two human beings."    (07)

    My addition:    (08)

    Neither do any two large computer programs nor even any
    two releases of what is called the "same" program.    (09)

 5. Barry mentioned the "biomedical field", but that field,
    like most, breaks down into an enormous number of subfields
    and specializations.  Some of which (such as patient records)
    are well served by terminologies with very few axioms, and
    others (such as research and diagnostics) require much more
    detail that is *extremely* problem dependent.    (010)

John Sowa    (011)

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