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RE: [biont] Nice wikipedia page on ontology

From: Booth, David (HP Software - Boston) <dbooth@hp.com>
Date: Wed, 24 Jan 2007 17:13:37 -0500
Message-ID: <EBBD956B8A9002479B0C9CE9FE14A6C201ED47F1@tayexc19.americas.cpqcorp.net>
To: "Robert Stevens" <robert.stevens@manchester.ac.uk>, "Gao, Yong" <YGAO@PARTNERS.ORG>, "David Decraene" <David@landcglobal.com>, "Phillip Lord" <phillip.lord@newcastle.ac.uk>, "Alan Ruttenberg" <alanruttenberg@gmail.com>
Cc: "public-semweb-lifesci hcls" <public-semweb-lifesci@w3.org>

A problem I have with the term "formal ontology" is that it seems
redundant: an ontology (in the computer science sense) is already formal
in the same sense as a "formal specification" or a "formal language":
http://www.ee.oulu.fi/research/ouspg/sage/glossary/
[[
Formal
    Expressed in a restricted syntax language with defined semantics
based on well-established mathematical concepts.
]]

I realize that some are trying to distinguish between the formalism that
is used to define the ontology and the characteristics of the ontology
itself, and this is a useful distinction.  But I, for one, do not
believe that the word "formal" in "formal ontology" necessarily carries
this distinction.  (Others please correct me if you think I'm wrong.)
For this reason I think it would be better to use other descriptive
terms when referring to characteristics of the ontology itself.

David Booth, Ph.D.
HP Software
dbooth@hp.com
Phone: +1 617 629 8881
  

> -----Original Message-----
> From: public-semweb-lifesci-request@w3.org 
> [mailto:public-semweb-lifesci-request@w3.org] On Behalf Of 
> Robert Stevens
> Sent: Wednesday, January 24, 2007 1:14 PM
> To: Gao, Yong; David Decraene; Phillip Lord; Alan Ruttenberg
> Cc: public-semweb-lifesci hcls
> Subject: RE: [biont] Nice wikipedia page on ontology
> 
> 
> this distinction is quite telling. Putting "define: ontology" into 
> Google has very revealling results.
> 
> At 15:28 24/01/2007, Gao, Yong wrote:
> >Perhaps the terms "formal" and "ontology" should be defined 
> or linked on the
> >page? Both terms themselves are quite ambiguous.  The   
> formal ontology pages
> >links to ontology in philosophy 
> >(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ontology), why not
> >the computer science one (
> >http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ontology_%28computer_science%29)? The 
> >term "formal"
> >is given at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Formal.
> >
> >The wikipedia page might need  more than one definitions of "formal 
> >ontology" to
> >reflect the nature of these concepts.
> >
> >Yong
> >
> >
> >-----Original Message-----
> >From: public-semweb-lifesci-request@w3.org on behalf of 
> David Decraene
> >Sent: Wed 1/24/2007 10:03 AM
> >To: Robert Stevens; Phillip Lord; Alan Ruttenberg
> >Cc: public-semweb-lifesci hcls
> >Subject: RE: [biont] Nice wikipedia page on ontology
> >
> >I'd like to comment on these statements:
> >Perhaps it can be phrased better, but 'algorhythms' refers 
> to the fact that a
> >formal upper level ontology has built-in DISJOINT (and 
> other) axioms which
> >reflect back onto their children (ergo the consistency check 
> >phrase). Axioms is
> >perhaps a better choice.
> >
> >Also, the formal in formal ontology has nothing to do with 
> the language of
> >representation (perhaps that part can be phrased better as 
> well to avoid
> >confusion) but to the formalism (formality of the ontology 
> as you refer to it)
> >that is embedded in the framework.
> >
> >I do not disagree that this page can be improved further 
> (which is the purpose
> >and strongpoint of wikipedia), but explaining in laymans 
> terms what a formal
> >ontology is about is a challenge.
> >
> >
> >
> >-----Original Message-----
> >From: public-semweb-lifesci-request@w3.org
> >[mailto:public-semweb-lifesci-request@w3.org]On Behalf Of 
> Robert Stevens
> >Sent: woensdag 24 januari 2007 15:45
> >To: Phillip Lord; Alan Ruttenberg
> >Cc: public-semweb-lifesci hcls
> >Subject: Re: [biont] Nice wikipedia page on ontology
> >
> >
> >'d be inclined to agree with Phil. I don't where the bit about 
> >"algorithms" has
> >come from. The other mistake, I think, is not to make the 
> distinction between
> >formality of language for representaiton and the formality 
> of the ontology
> >itself. The latter is, I think, a matter of the distinctions made. 
> >One can make
> >an ontology in a formal language like owl, but still be 
> informal in the
> >ontological distinctions made.
> >
> >Formal ontological distinctions can be encapsulated in an upper 
> >level, but upper
> >level otnoogies are not necessarily formal....
> >
> >the phrase also explicitely refers to upper level ontologies that 
> >are formal in
> >nature...
> >
> >Anyway, it is bad at almost any level
> >
> >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.
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
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> 
> 
> 
Received on Wednesday, 24 January 2007 22:13:57 UTC

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