RE: [unrev-II] Re: [PORT-L] Goguen's Semiotic Morphisms

From: Peter Jones (
Date: Tue Apr 03 2001 - 01:42:16 PDT

  • Next message: Jack Park: "Re: [unrev-II] Fwd: Fw: Re: [PORT-L] Goguen's Semiotic Morph isms"

    [Thanks to Jack Park for graciously allowing me the opportunity to lurk]

    I didn't have time to read Goguen's paper (on a low bandwidth modem at the
    moment), so I apologise if this just reiterates things he's written.

    I'm personally inclined to think of everything we attach a noun label to as
    being a 'bag o' properties' at some lower level and from some perspective.
    Some of those properties might be a position on a human-defined scale, e.g.
    temperature, with say removing heat resulting in a lower temperature and the
    relative term 'colder'. Some might be other noun labels, and so on down to
    the pits.

    It then becomes a matter of whether a state transition is large enough (in
    terms of lower level property +s and -s) to cross a semantic boundary at the
    level of discourse in operation and according to what perspective on the
    'bag o' properties' is being taken.

    Or something like that.

    Hard stuff to put into a computer, though.


    -----Original Message-----
    From: Eric Armstrong []
    Sent: 03 April 2001 01:23
    Subject: Re: [unrev-II] Fwd: Fw: Re: [PORT-L] Goguen's Semiotic

    Matt Placek wrote:
    > Many of the approaches to building ontologies seem to be fixated on a
    > 'present-tense' description of the nature of things.
    Great question. It strikes me that you are asking about how to model
    a state change in the context of an ontology. Lets take water and

        water + heat => hot water
        water + sufficient heat => steam

        water - heat => cold water
        water - sufficient heat => ice

    Hmmm. That example introduces yet another issue: amountOf.
    Simply adding heat to water does not predict which state
    change occurs -- the result depends on the previous state
    and the amount of heat.

    But leaving the issues of quantity aside, for the moment,
    your question revolved around a simpler state change:

       cow + slaughter => food

    Here there is time-based complexity, because once the
    slaughter association occurs, the cow object ceases to
    exist and the food object comes into being!

    One way to model that in an ontology might be to come
    up with a single thing that is BOTH a cow and food.
    Let's call it "bag o'protein".

    We might now be able to model "bag o'protein" has
    having one or more states (cow or food), and model
    the transitions from one state to the next.

    On the other hand, using an ontology to do that modeling
    is probably the wrong tool for the job. But it sure as
    heck is an interesting question! (I look forward to other

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