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RE: Nunciation

From: Peter Crowther <Peter.Crowther@melandra.com>
Date: Sat, 3 Feb 2001 15:19:13 -0000
Message-ID: <B6F03FDBA149CA41B6E9EB8A329EB12D019185@vault.melandra.net>
To: "'pat hayes'" <phayes@ai.uwf.edu>
Cc: standard-upper-ontology@ieee.org, www-rdf-logic@w3.org
[New member alert!  I've tried to catch up via the archives, but please tell
me (privately) if I cover old ground]

> From: pat hayes [mailto:phayes@ai.uwf.edu]
> Sent: 02 February 2001 20:05
> For the SUO there is a deeper reason, however. "Signs", in your 
> terminology, refers to a topic in semiology. But - and please forgive 
> me for emphasising this point, but it deserves a little emphasis - 
> ONTOLOGY IS NOT A SEMIOLOGICAL TOPIC. That is, 'ontology' refers to 
> what there IS, not to how people talk about it. It is, right at its 
> very heart, fundamentally, about the world, not about signs; and 
> still less about human *use* of signs.

Quite.  Some systems using ontologies (for example, the GALEN project at
University of Manchester*) make this distinction explicit.  In such systems,
one component reasons about the ontology and a different component
translates queries and results between the internal representation and one
or many systems of signs**.  This allows eg. multilingual querying and
results.  I'd argue that a system is incomplete if it does not provide a
many-to-one mapping between signs and objects within the ontology, but
that's a contentious view :-).

To me, a language for exchanging ontologies is just another system of signs.

		- Peter

*I've no doubt there are better examples, but I used to work on GALEN so
that's the one I know.

** I'm a programmer who's interested in using ontologies in practical
systems.  I have comparatively little logical or philosophical background;
is this the correct term?  If not, what is?

Peter Crowther, Melandra Limited
Received on Saturday, 3 February 2001 10:19:16 UTC

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