[CL] Working on a definition of "ontology"
edbark at nist.gov
Mon Jul 10 10:40:06 CDT 2006
John F. Sowa wrote:
> Pat's points have been generally accepted by mathematicians,
> logicians, and database designers: The old terminology of
> "property" for monadic relations is very awkward. In logic,
> a property is just a one-argument relation. In database systems,
> a relation is represented by a table, which may have one or
> more columns -- and a one-column table is just a one argument
In OWL, "properties" are 2-argument relations.
And yes, I understand "relation" in "relational algebra", and the target
community will understand that, and that is the "anchor concept" that is
needed. (The current melange is "concept", "noun concept", "fact-type", and
all of those things have to have names, which is the problem.) So, whilst
trying to sell the unifying concept that is "relation", I will try to sell
that term with it.
Thank you all.
P.S. Part of my problem, which may be a product of the time in which I was
educated, is that I learned very early on in my mathematics education that the
classical and then-modern texts disagreed in terminology -- in algebra, in
logic, and in a few other areas. This led me to think always in terms of the
definition, and accept the term of the author as local nomenclature. So to
take Pat's point, reading one more logic book wouldn't tell me anything; after
I read five, I might realize there is finally some consistency in terminology.
In the computational field, after 50 years there is still very little
consistency in terminology, and indeed, people seem to find it important to
create new terms for the same old things, in order to permit new companies to
sell the same limited capabilities in new and less reliable software. What
amazes me is that this nonsense succeeds again and again in creating a market
for replacement software with no improvement in capability. But perhaps those
who grew up with standardized terminologies in their fields have reason to
expect that a new term means a new concept. I just don't.
Edward J. Barkmeyer Email: edbark at nist.gov
National Institute of Standards & Technology
Manufacturing Systems Integration Division
100 Bureau Drive, Stop 8263 Tel: +1 301-975-3528
Gaithersburg, MD 20899-8263 FAX: +1 301-975-4482
"The opinions expressed above do not reflect consensus of NIST,
and have not been reviewed by any Government authority."
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