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Re: Evidence

From: CNR-ISTC <aldo.gangemi@istc.cnr.it>
Date: Thu, 21 Jun 2007 21:46:13 +0200
To: public-semweb-lifesci@w3.org
Message-Id: <582267F9-6FC7-4565-9CF2-2CBC04262227@istc.cnr.it>
Cc: CNR-ISTC <aldo.gangemi@istc.cnr.it>, phayes@ihmc.us, alanruttenberg@gmail.com, samwald@gmx.at, Dan Brickley <danbri@danbri.org>
Hi all, Dan (Brickley) pointed me at these discussions on DOLCE. I   
tend to avoid too many emails and forums on foundational ontologies,  
in favor of constructive work, but this mailing list seems oriented  
at doing real things, then I am eager to come back to my old home in  
medical ontologies :)

Some comments and recap on the current status of DOLCE and its  
utility for medical ontologies.

(1) Continuant vs. Occurrent

Pat, we already had this discussion at least two times; the last one  
was very detailed and we (apparently) agreed on the fact that we  
might be free to adopt the distinction or not, even in DOLCE: if you  
want to stay neutral, just use Entity or SpatioTemporalEntity. The  
distinction can be useful in some domains that share a common sense,  
linguistic (Western-variety) intuition, but I will not fight for it,  
as for any other.
The point of DOLCE and related ontologies is having explicit  
*rationales* to justify modelling choices, not to dictate how people  
should think or model the world. As a matter of fact, in the context  
of the NeOn project (http://www.neon-project.org), we are moving to a  
"design pattern" approach to ontology reuse, which will probably  
change the way foundational or reference ontologies should be used or  
thought about.

(2) Roles and occurrents

Roles, as they are modelled in DOLCE-Lite-Plus (http://www.loa-cnr.it/ 
ontologies/DLP_397.owl) and in DOLCE-Ultralite (http://www.loa-cnr.it/ 
ontologies/DUL.owl), are applied to continuants, but this is just a  
terminological choice that adheres to the usual intuition of roles  
played by agents, substances, etc.
However, a similar intuition is provided for occurrents by the  
classes Course and Task in DOLCE-Lite-Plus and by the classes  
EventStructure and Task in DOLCE-Ultralite. In general, the class  
Concept is used to talk of notions that are used to classify any  
entity at some time for some reason. If you want to use Evidence as a  
role for (the result, execution of) an experiment, then you can use  
EventStructure or directly Concept. The distinction, where needed,  
makes sense: roles of occurrents have usually a richer structure than  
roles of continuants, because they are used to suggest how events and  
their temporal structure should be interpreted in some context; in  
order to be an evidence, the result of an experiment should be  
obtained in a certain way, e.g. with explicit methods and control  
Pat, notice that in DOLCE-Ultralite you can introduce experiment  
results as entities, classified by an "EvidenceConcept": who cares  
about Brentano's theology (poor guy, however, did he make anything  
bad to your ancestors? :)).

Something else on another thread about DOLCE and solutions for  
readability of horrible foundational terms.

> >On Jun 12, 2007, at 3:53 PM, samwald@gmx.at wrote:
> >
> >>
> >>Hi Waclaw,
> >>
> >>>Matthias, if you look carefully at BFO, you'll see that roles are
> >>>entities.  This means that evidences, as roles, are entities.
> >>
> >>Of course. I just wanted to differentiate that an experiment is not
> >>an instance of any class called 'evidence' (in other words, an
> >>experiment 'is not' evidence). Instead, it should be associated
> >>with an 'evidence-role'.
> >
> >The only problem with this is that roles inhere in continuants
> >rather than in occurrents. One way around this is not to say that
> >evidence is an experiment, but rather the results of an experiment.
> If I may interject, the fact that you need to find a way 'around'
> this illustrates what I have long found to be the case, that the
> continuant/occurrent distinction, and the resulting artificial
> restrictions that it places upon what one is allowed to say, is more
> harm than it is worth. One can take any ontology (such as BFO) that
> is based up on it and simply erase the distinction (and all its
> consequent distinctions) and nothing is thereby lost, only a
> simplification achieved and the need for artificial work-arounds
> diminished. It is in any case based on very debatable (and indeed
> debated) philosophical assumptions, arising chiefly from
> ordinary-language philosophy (and Brentano's theology) than from
> anything scientific. It carves nature at language's joints rather
> than nature's joints.
> Pat Hayes
> -- 
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Aldo Gangemi

Senior Researcher
Laboratory for Applied Ontology
Institute for Cognitive Sciences and Technology
National Research Council (ISTC-CNR)
Via Nomentana 56, 00161, Roma, Italy
Tel: +390644161535
Fax: +390644161513


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Received on Thursday, 21 June 2007 19:46:35 UTC

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