W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > semantic-web@w3.org > January 2006

Re: re:[semanticweb] taxonomy vs ontology?

From: Azamat <abdoul@cytanet.com.cy>
Date: Fri, 13 Jan 2006 21:20:31 +0200
Message-ID: <007601c61876$6c067d50$e00a8c0a@homepc>
To: <semanticweb@yahoogroups.com>, <semantic-web@w3.org>
Neil, David, Yyhong, and other disputants,

Robert's statement, ''A taxonomy is for describing species'', looks a most close guess to the point of the matter.

To distinguish ontology from taxonomy, above all, one needs to tell apart two basic modes of meaning
[or signification for words], known as the first and second imposition of terms [words]; namely: 
1. as words signifying things, realities, existences, objects, etc.[ so-called extension];
2. as words sygnifying just ideas, formal concepts, logical predicates, attributes, etc.[ so-called intension]. 

For instance, in the sentence ''man is a living being'', the subject is used to name a piece of reality, a living being of a certain type, while in the sentence ''man is a human species'', the subject is used in the second intention, symbolizing just a logical classification.
This ilpies that [Ontology as a formal representation of reality], the totality of all that exists, operates with the class of words standing for the types of realities (substances, states, events, etc.). Accordingly, ontology classifies things, determines distinctions, and identifies entities only with respect to the types of relationships having real meanings, such as the part-whole relations, space-relations, time-relations, or causal relations. 

On the contrary, taxonomy works with formal objects and logical classifications and conceptual notions such as used in biological taxonomy, species, genus, order, family, etc. To make it looks real classification, there are talks among biologists about genetic or reproductive boundaries of species, etc. But, by its nature, taxonomy arranges and orders its domain by logical casses and categories with respect to formal relationships like as [the set inclusion relation and the set membership relations].

The confusion which instigated this good question of distinction arose for some objective reasons. Most current computational ontologies are not really ontologies, but rather logical classifications organized by formal logical [set theoretical] relationships saying us a little about the real world, but rather something about the creator's personal experience and intuitions. As a bad consequence, by not seeing this essential difference, many current ontologes, both upper are domain, view the entity of relationship as a formal object.

So there are a few ontologies as such in computing and programming practice, most are rather formal logical classifications of entities, or taxonomies; while the viable reasoning applications must be based on the models describing real systems as pieces of reality. Full point.

PS: Only for OWL developers of 'punning'.
Another similar confusion is related with the ambiguity of names, which the last version of OWL 1.1 dubbed as 'punning' (a funny play on words), [when the same name may stand for a class, an indivdiual, or a property, at the same time]. It was a good try, but the real reason of this again consists in the nature of words itself and their modes of signification, which seems to be a closed matter for the authors of the OWL 'meta-modeling'. 
As amatter of fact, any namespace is distinguished by two types of naming:
I. naming of entities according to their nature, intrinsic properties [intrinsic denomination];
II. the namingr with respect with the external relationships in which some thing stands to something else [extrinsic denomination]. But this is another matter better to be discussed  with the OWL developers.

Good wishes to all,
Azamat Abdoullaev
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Robert Stevens 
  To: wilmering@charter.net ; semanticweb@yahoogroups.com 
  Sent: Friday, January 13, 2006 4:48 PM
  Subject: re:[semanticweb] taxonomy vs ontology?

  A taxonomy is for describing species. One has to be careful when talking to biologists about ontologies. it was their word first (I think), but would be interested to hear the contrary. In this sense, a taxonomy is sort of just the "is-a" hierarchy.

  At 14:12 13/01/2006, Timothy Wilmering wrote:

     Neil -
     Generally speaking, (and trying to subscribe to the simplified view of things) a taxonomy is an "isa" hierarchy of relations between things or classes of things...
    a proper ontology would then add logical assertions (rules, constraints) to the hierarchy.
    I have enjoyed  the interplay between the discussion participants re a definition of ontology - it just serves to illustrate the futility of striving for unified ontological representations of real world conceptual domains beyond narrow communities of interest - opinions are like... noses... everybody has one (including, I see, me!)


    (Timothy J. Wilmering) 

    -----Original Message-----
    From: semanticweb@yahoogroups.com [ mailto:semanticweb@yahoogroups.com]On Behalf Of neil.mcevoy@ondemand-network.com
    Sent: Friday, January 13, 2006 7:49 AM
    To: semanticweb@yahoogroups.com
    Subject: [semanticweb] taxonomy vs ontology?

      while the definitions are flying, can someone explain what the difference

      is between a taxonomy and an ontology?





       Visit your group "semanticweb " on the web. 
       To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to: 
       Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of Service. 


  SPONSORED LINKS Purpose of  Ontology  Semantic web  
        War effort  Effort florist in  Academic  


    a..  Visit your group "semanticweb" on the web.
    b..  To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
    c..  Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of Service. 

Received on Friday, 13 January 2006 19:20:55 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.4.0 : Tuesday, 5 July 2022 08:44:55 UTC