W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-webont-wg@w3.org > August 2002

Re: "Definition" of Ontology

From: Jonathan Borden <jonathan@openhealth.org>
Date: Tue, 6 Aug 2002 16:29:26 -0400
Message-ID: <00fd01c23d87$f5dc4cd0$0201a8c0@ne.mediaone.net>
To: <www-webont-wg@w3.org>, "Christopher Welty" <welty@us.ibm.com>


Is an ontology: "an Account of being _in the Abstract_" or
"An Account of _being in the Abstract_"?

If it is the first, then that favors the model-theoretic semantics, but if
the second, the axiomatic semantics :-)


> Webonters,
> I noticed in Evan's recent message about OMG that one action item was to
> accept "a definition of ontology".  People (in computer science) have been
> trying for the past decade to define what we mean by this term, but most
> definitions I'm aware of are fairly vague.  Exclusive definitions tend to
> leave out things that should rather obviously be included, and inclusive
> definitions seem to allow things that rather obviously shouldn't.
> I still prefer an inclusive view, and last year a philosopher in the area
> of ontology (Barry Smith) and I, in order to introduce a conference which
> attempted to bring together philosophers and computer scientists
> interested in ontology (FOIS - http://www.fois.org), wrote a paper
> (attached) which discusses this point.
> Every attempt to "define" ontology I'm aware of has been based on the
> definer's experience(s), and usually ends up being more of a description
> of "what I call ontology" (as one such person once put it).  The attached
> article is different in that it has been extensively researched and tries
> to explain (rather than define) the meaning of "ontology" by tracing the
> history of the term, and how it came to be used (in both fields) the way
> it is used today.  I find such etymological explanations are much more
> enlighting, because language evolves.
> -Chris
> PS: Note that the attached article is copyrighted by ACM, and I have
> permission to redistribute it as long as the copyright remains, ostensibly
> as a publicity measure to attract attention to the availability of the
> FOIS proceedings.
> PPS.  The reference is: Smith, Barry and Chris Welty. 2001. Ontology:
Towards a new synthesis. In
> Chris Welty and Barry Smith, eds., Formal Ontology in Information Systems.
Pp. iii-x. Ongunquit, Maine: ACM Press.
> Dr. Christopher A. Welty, Knowledge Structures Group
> IBM Watson Research Center, 19 Skyline Dr.
> Hawthorne, NY  10532     USA
> Voice: +1 914.784.7055,  IBM T/L: 863.7055
> Fax: +1 914.784.6078, Email: welty@us.ibm.com
Received on Tuesday, 6 August 2002 16:45:16 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.4.0 : Friday, 17 January 2020 23:04:33 UTC