Re: CG: Principles of ontology

Michael Uschold (
Fri, 5 Dec 1997 12:08:35 -0800

Subject: Terms



You define TERMINOLOGICAL ONTOLOGY to be neutral with respect to how many
axioms are in it, but you overload your use this term referring to this
meaning, as well as another kind of ontology which you have not given a name for
i.e. one with few axioms and many terms. This is confusing.

I suggest that you use ONTOLOGY for the more general term, and TERMINOLOGICAL
ONTOLOGY for the latter.



>From the way you talk about them it seems clear that, you *think* about a TERMINOLOGICAL ontology (TO) as a different kind of ontology than an AXIOMITIZED ontology (AO) -- but conflicts with how you define it, i.e. as a super-type. If an AO is a type of TO, then the following quote is a bit like saying that CATS tend to be smaller than MAMMALS.

Axiomatized ontologies tend to be smaller than terminological ontologies, .. but their axioms and definitions can support more complex inferences and computations.

overall, this seems to indicate that are using the term TO to mean an ontology that has few if any axioms.

Note also that from your defnitions, the following holds:

The versions of logic required to express an AO are usually simpler, less expressive, and more easily computable than full first-order predicate calculus.

Because you say this about a TO, and an AO is a kind of TO.

The problem is that what one would not expect the term 'TERMINOLOGICAL ONTOLOGY' to refer to an ontology which was neutral with respect to how many axioms there are. Even you, who have defined it that way, can't seem to stop yourself from using it in the more restricted fashion that anyway agrees with more common usage. Most people, I suggest, would expect TO to mean an ontology with mainly terms and few axioms.

If TERMINOLGOICAL ONTOLOGY is a confusing term for an ontology which is neutral with respect to degree of formality/axioms, how about using 'ONTOLOGY'??? You clearly seem to want a term for ontologies which tend to have fewer axioms and more terms, and I think this is probably a good idea, so why not use `TERMINOLOGICAL ONTOLOGY' for that.

Mike Uschold