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Where do "ontologies" come from?

  1. 1. Where do ‘ontologies’ come from? Seeking for the missing link Aurélien Bénel, Web & Philosophy, April 17, 2012
  2. 2. “ A program that wants to compare or combine information across (...) two databases has to know that (...) two terms are being used to mean the same thing. (...) Artificial intelligence and Web researchers have co- opted the term [‘ontology’] for their own jargon, and for them an ontology is a document or file that formally defines the relations among terms. (Berners-Lee et al., 2001)
  3. 3. Library of Congress D: History (general) DA: Great Britain DB: Austria DC: France DD: Germany DE: Mediterranean Soviet Libraries DF: Greece A: Marxism-Leninism DG: Italy A1: Classic works of Marxism-Leninism DH: Low Countries A3: Life and work of C. Marx, F. Engels,V.I. Lenin DJ: Netherlands A5: Marxism-Leninism Philosophy DK: Former Soviet Union A6: Marxist-Leninist Political Economics DL: Scandinavia A7/8: Scientific Communism DP: Iberian Peninsula DQ: Switzerland DR: Balkan Peninsula DS: Asia DT: Africa DU: Oceania DX: Gypsies As true as thesauri are? (Shirky, 2005)
  4. 4. Coherence Correspondence Hypothesis Intersubjectivity 1900 1910 1920 1930 1940 1950 1960 1970 1980 What is truth anyway?
  5. 5. ‘Ontologies’ 400 000 papers in computer science (Gruber, 1991) ??? Vienna Circle
  6. 6. ‘Ontology’ in Google scholar 380 285 1930-1939 190 Religious studies 95 Philosophy of science 0 1930’s
  7. 7. ‘Ontology’ in Google scholar 1500 1125 750 1940-1959 Analytical philosophy (Quine) 375 0 1930’s 1940’s 1950’s
  8. 8. ‘Ontology’ in Google scholar 4000 3000 1960-1969 2000 Phenomenology 1000 Reflections on art 0 1930’s 1940’s 1950’s 1960’s
  9. 9. ‘Ontology’ in Google scholar 6000 4500 1970-1979 3000 Analytical philosophy 1500 Linguistics 0 1930’s 1940’s 1950’s 1960’s 1970’s
  10. 10. ‘Ontology’ in Google scholar 15000 11250 7500 1980-1989 Computational linguistics 3750 0 1930’s 1950’s 1970’s
  11. 11. ‘Ontology’ in Google scholar 70000 52500 35000 1990-1999 Knowledge representation 17500 0 1930’s 1950’s 1970’s 1990’s
  12. 12. ‘Ontology’ in Google scholar 400000 300000 200000 2000-2009 The Semantic Web 100000 0 1930’s 1950’s 1970’s 1990’s
  13. 13. The missing link Vienna Semantic Circle Web P. Hayes Quine J. McCarthy
  14. 14. Why it matters • Debt to Artificial Intelligence • same people • same technologies • same philosophy
  15. 15. Why it matters • Quine, “On what there is” (1948) • existence: neither discovered nor invented • reference: pronouns rather than names • formal logic as an ‘example of language’ truth as coherence
  16. 16. http://hypertopic.org/

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