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SNAP and SPAN

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  1. SNAP and SPAN Barry Smith

  2. http://ifomis.de • Institute for Formal Ontology and Medical Information Science • Faculty of Medicine • University of Leipzig

  3. Reality

  4. Reality

  5. Reality

  6. Reality is complicated

  7. What is the best language to describe this complexity?

  8. Formal ontology • formalized + domain-independent

  9. Formal Ontology • Examples of categories: • Substance, Process, Agent, Property, Relation, Location, Spatial Region • Part-of, Boundary-of

  10. Material Ontology • = regional or domain-specific • e.g. GeO • Examples of categories: • River, Mountain, Country, Desert … • Resides-In, Is-to-the-West-of

  11. Realist Perspectivalism There is a multiplicity of ontological perspectives on reality, all equally veridical i.e. transparent to reality vs. Eliminativism: “Only my preferred perspective on reality is veridical”

  12. Need for different perspectives • Double counting: • 3 apples on the table • 7 x 1016 molecules at spatial locations L1, L2 and L3 • Not one ontology, but a multiplicity of complementary ontologies • Cf. Quantum mechanics: particle vs. wave ontologies

  13. Cardinal Perspectives • Formal vs. Material • Micro- vs. Meso- vs. Macro • SNAP vs. SPAN

  14. A Network of Domain Ontologies BFO = Basic Formal Ontology

  15. A Network of Domain Ontologies

  16. A Network of Domain Ontologies

  17. A Network of Domain Ontologies

  18. A Network of Domain Ontologies

  19. A Network of Domain Ontologies

  20. AgrO • PsychO

  21. Cardinal Perspectives Formal vs. Material Ontologies Granularity (Micro vs. Meso vs. Macro) SNAP vs. SPAN

  22. Ontological Zooming

  23. medicine cell biology Ontological Zooming

  24. Ontological Zooming both are transparent partitions of one and the same reality

  25. Cardinal Perspectives Formal vs. Material Ontologies Granularity (Micro vs. Meso vs. Macro) Time: SNAP vs. SPAN

  26. Ontology • seeks an INVENTORY OF REALITY • Relevance of ontology for information systems, e.g.: • terminology standardization • taxonomy standardization • supports reasoning about reality

  27. Semantic Web • Ontoweb • OWL • DAML+OIL • … • these are standardized languages only – not themselves ontologies

  28. Ontology research • marked by ad hoc-ism

  29. IFOMIS Strategy • get real ontology right first • and then investigate ways in which this real ontology can be translated into computer-useable form later • DO NOT ALLOW ISSUES OF COMPUTER-TRACTABILITY TO DETERMINE THE CONTENT OF THE ONTOLOGY IN ADVANCE

  30. a language to map these • Formal-ontological structures in reality

  31. Property Object a directly depicting language • ‘John’ ‘( ) is red’ Frege

  32. are pictures of Wittgenstein’s Tractatus • Propositions • States of affairs

  33. The Oil-Painting Principle • in a directly depicting language • all well-formed parts of a true formula are also true A new sort of mereological inference rule – the key to the idea of a directly depicting language – presupposes that parthood is determinate

  34. A directly depicting language • may contain an analogue of conjunction • p and q • _______ • p

  35. but it can contain no negation • p • _______ • p

  36. and also no disjunction • p or q • ______ • p

  37. The idea of a directly depicting language • suggests a new method • of constituent ontology: • to study a domain ontologically • is to establish the parts of the domain • and the interrelations between them

  38. BFO • Basic Formal Ontology • = a formal ontological theory, expressed in a directly depicting language, of all parts of reality • (a great mirror)

  39. The Problem • John lived in Atlanta for 25 years

  40. The Problem • John lived in Atlanta for 25 years • substances, things, objects • PARTHOOD NOT DETERMINATE

  41. The Problem • John lived in Atlanta for 25 years • process • state

  42. t i m e process Substances and processesexist in time in different ways substance

  43. SNAP and SPAN • Substances and processes • Continuants and occurrents • In preparing an inventory of reality • we keep track of these two different categories of entities in two different ways

  44. A Popular Solution

  45. Fourdimensionalism • – time is just another dimension, analogous to the three spatial dimensions • – only processes exist • – substances are analyzed away as worms/fibers within the four-dimensional process plenum

  46. a c b a a: scattered part b: temporal slice c: boundary Parts of processes (1)

  47. a: sub-process b: phase a b Parts of processes (2)

  48. There are no substances • Bill Clinton does not exist • Rather: there exists within the four-dimensional plenum a continuous succession of processes which are similar in Billclintonizing way