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RE: [biont] Nice wikipedia page on ontology

From: David Decraene <David@landcglobal.com>
Date: Wed, 24 Jan 2007 19:06:58 +0100
Message-ID: <28A0FFC7AEF0014AA8C2CE543AE13F5B3B6760@x-box.quest.net>
To: "Phillip Lord" <phillip.lord@newcastle.ac.uk>, "public-semweb-lifesci hcls" <public-semweb-lifesci@w3.org>

A lot of confusion might also come from the word 'formal', it must be interpreted in it's philosophical sense, as the intended wikipedia article attempted to describe (in a rudimentary manner), e.g. concerning theories of enduring versus perduring entities, dependent and independents, of inherence and participation and more, ...
there is no statement that upper level ontologies must be formal in this sense, although in my opinion any ontology that claims to be formal (in the philosophical sense) must at least comply to some basic principles, principles often defined in the aforementioned formal upper level ontologies (BFO, DOLCE, etc..).
for a good reference on the theories: Barry's pages:


Van: public-semweb-lifesci-request@w3.org namens Phillip Lord
Verzonden: wo 24/01/2007 17:57
Aan: public-semweb-lifesci hcls
Onderwerp: Re: [biont] Nice wikipedia page on ontology

Hmmm. Sure I wrote more than that in my original email.

Yeah, Robert has my main beef which is the distinction between the
representation language and the representation itself. The use of
"algorithms" is clearly wrong and I don't think that an upper ontology
provides consistency checks, nor that an ontology needs one to be

Still, it's an early wikipedia entry. These things often improve over


>>>>> "Robert" == Robert Stevens <robert.stevens@manchester.ac.uk> writes:

  Robert> 'd be inclined to agree with Phil. I don't where the bit
  Robert> about "algorithms" has come from. The other mistake, I
  Robert> think, is not to make the distinction between formality of
  Robert> language for representaiton and the formality of the
  Robert> ontology itself. The latter is, I think, a matter of the
  Robert> distinctions made. One can make an ontology in a formal
  Robert> language like owl, but still be informal in the ontological
  Robert> distinctions made.

  Robert> Formal ontological distinctions can be encapsulated in an
  Robert> upper level, but upper level otnoogies are not necessarily
  Robert> formal....

  Robert> Anyway, it is bad at almost any level

  Robert> Robert.
  Robert> ,At 13:55 24/01/2007, Phillip Lord wrote:

  >> >>>>> "Alan" == Alan Ruttenberg <alanruttenberg@gmail.com>
  >> >>>>> writes:
  Alan> Start at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Formal_Ontology
  Alan> -Alan
  >> Well, it starts of with this....
  >> "A Formal ontology is an ontology modeled by algorithms. Formal
  >> ontologies are founded upon a specific Formal Upper Level
  >> Ontology, which provides consistency checks for the entire
  >> ontology and, if applied properly, allows the modeler to avoid
  >> possibly erroneous ontological assumptions encountered in
  >> modeling large-scale ontologies. "
  >> Almost none of which I would agree with.

Phillip Lord,                           Phone: +44 (0) 191 222 7827
Lecturer in Bioinformatics,             Email: phillip.lord@newcastle.ac.uk
School of Computing Science,            http://homepages.cs.ncl.ac.uk/phillip.lord
Claremont Tower Room 909,               skype: russet_apples
Newcastle University,                  
Received on Wednesday, 24 January 2007 18:07:16 UTC

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