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RE: missing RDF & OWL classes

From: Bernard Vatant <bernard.vatant@mondeca.com>
Date: Sun, 18 May 2003 23:34:16 +0200
To: "webont-comments at W3C" <public-webont-comments@w3.org>, "Richard H. McCullough" <rhm@cdepot.net>
Cc: "Sam Hunting" <sam_hunting@yahoo.com>, "Jack Park" <jackpark@thinkalong.com>, "Latimer, Richard S." <rslatimer@comcast.net>, "KR-language" <KR-language@YahooGroups.com>
Message-ID: <PHENKPMFEPGEMOCCHNFPEECICCAA.bernard.vatant@mondeca.com>

Hello Richard

I know this list is for comments, not for debate, but this one I will not
let pass by. Sorry :)

Preliminary remark. From Aristotle on, thousands of respectable brains have
spent zillions of hours and written so many books, trying to figure *the*
hierarchy for *the* upper, universal, fundamental ... concepts and classes.
There are still such enterprises going on (no names please). Whatever each
of them comes out with is a more or less accurate description of his (her,
rarely - women have generally better things to do) view of the world.

Then a story, that I heard from a respectable French specialist of
Thesauri. She was once hired by the French Agriculture Ministry, to try and
build a consensual Taxonomy for Agriculture and Food Industry, with
representatives of the various professions in that domain. At some point
they debated about having a generic class "Animal", which seemed common
sense. When understanding that subclasses of Animal would be Cattle,
Poultry and Fish, among others, a representative of poultry breeders,
pointing at the fishery representative, just shout a definitive :

"Why? You mean you want to mingle *my* poultry with *her* fish !!!"

Personnaly I'm very comfortable with having one single generic class
"owl:Thing", under which you can mingle any poultry with any fish you will
like too, or keep them apart. Although I would have preferred to see this
class called "owl:subject", as defined in topic maps standard.

"A subject is anything that has identity. In the most generic sense, a
subject is anything whatsoever, regardless of whether it exists or has any
other specific characteristics, about which anything whatsoever may be
asserted by any means whatsoever."

I prefer to define it simply as a "subject of conversation", since a
necessary and sufficient condition of existence for a subject is to be
spoken (or written) about.

A very metaphysterious question is to know if there is something like a
"primary subject", given out-there before anyone starts to speak about it.
Maybe you will ask: "What does metaphysterious mean?". So we'll have
created a subject of conversation, the class "MetaphysteriousQuestion". We
have two properties for this class, one is that Richard wonders what it is,
the other that Bernard seems to know, and even pretends to handle an
instance ...



Bernard Vatant
Senior Consultant
Knowledge Engineering
Mondeca - www.mondeca.com

> -----Message d'origine-----
> De : public-webont-comments-request@w3.org
> [mailto:public-webont-comments-request@w3.org]De la part de Richard H.
> McCullough
> Envoyé : dimanche 18 mai 2003 07:51
> À : webont-comments at W3C
> Cc : KR-language; Latimer, Richard S.
> Objet : missing RDF & OWL classes
> All of the RDF & OWL documents are so preoccupied
> with properties that they ignore the things that
> have those properties.
> There are at least two classes that are absolutely
> essential in order to avoid the current chaos that is
> the result of ignoring those things that have properties.
>     Entity
>     Group
> Entity is the class of primary things which exist, including
> those which we perceive directly, e.g., people, trees, cars.
> These physical entities have properties which can used to
> classify them as members of various Groups.  Groups are
> abstract entities which are created by people, e.g., sets,
> lists, hierarchies, classes.
> Here is a useful high-level class hierarchy which includes
> Entity and Group.
>     Thing
>         Entity
>             Animal
>                 Person
>             Plant
>             Object
>                 Group
>                     Set
>                     List
>                     Hierarchy
>                     Class
>                     Company
>         Property
>             Part
>             Attribute
>             Relation
>             Action
>             Interaction
>         Proposition
>             Context
>             Sentence
>                 Statement
> The above is a good, general-purpose hierarchy, but
> it may not be the best hierarchy for any particular
> situation.  It is to be expected that users will
> modify the class hierarchy to suit their own purposes.
> Dick McCullough
> knowledge := man do identify od existent done;
> knowledge haspart proposition list;
Received on Sunday, 18 May 2003 17:34:26 UTC

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