Ebook: Formal Ontology in Information Systems
Formal Ontology in Information Systems (FOIS) is the flagship conference of the International Association for Ontology and its Applications (IAOA). Its interdisciplinary research focus lies at the intersection of philosophical ontology, linguistics, logic, cognitive science, and computer science, as well as in the applications of ontological analysis to conceptual modeling, knowledge engineering, knowledge management, information-systems development, library and information science, scientific research, and semantic technologies in general.
As in previous years, FOIS 2014 was a nexus of interdisciplinary research and communication. The current proceedings is divided into four main sections, dealing with: foundations; processes, agency and dispositions; methods and tools; and applications. The last of these covers a broad spectrum of areas, including in particular biology and medicine, engineering, and economy. For the first time in its history, the conference hosted a special track: an ontology competition, the aim of which was to encourage authors to make their ontologies publicly available and to allow them to be evaluated according to a set of predetermined criteria. Papers discussing these ontologies can also be found in this volume.
The book will be of interest to all those whose work involves the application of ontologies, and who are looking for a current overview of developments in formal ontology.
This volume contains papers presented at the 8th edition of the Formal Ontology in Information Systems conference, FOIS 2014, held September 22–25, 2014, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. For the first time in its history the conference hosted a special track Ontology Competition whose aim was to encourage ontology authors to make their ontologies publicly available and to subject them to evaluation according to a set of predetermined criteria. In addition, the conference hosted five more specialised workshops, namely: the Workshop on Modular Ontologies, the Joint Workshop Onto.Com/ODISE on Ontologies in Conceptual Modeling and Information Systems Engineering, the Workshop on Logics and Ontologies for Natural Language, the Information Artifact Ontologies Workshop, as well as the Workshop on Formal Ontologies Meet Industry. Moreover, the conference included an Early Career Symposium, giving starting researchers the opportunity to present their work and engage with senior scientists in their field as well as to meet and discuss their work with each other in a 'PhD Lounge'.
We received 81 submissions to the main track of the conference, 15 submissions to the ontology competition, and 19 submissions to the Early Career Symposium, coming from 29 countries and marking a record number of submissions for the FOIS conference series. Based on the reviews we received from the programme committee we accepted 24 full papers (29,6% of submissions) and six short papers for the main track. The ontology competition track included eight papers—four of which were simultaneously accepted as full papers in the main track. Finally, the Early Career Symposium accepted ten of the submitted proposals for presentation as posters and lightning talks in a dedicated session of the conference.
We briefly summarise the content of this volume in the following:
1. Main Track
As it usually happens at FOIS conferencesthe variety of topics, methods, results, formalisms, etc. one can find in the papers is astonishing. In order to find some unity in this variety we grouped the main track papers into four broad categories and organised them in respective chapters of the proceedings as follows:
• Processes, Agency, and Dispositions
• Methods and Tools
Regarding applications of ontologies, also a broad spectrum of areas is covered, including in particular biology and medicine, engineering, and economy.
M. Grüninger, T. Hahmann, M. Katsumi and C. Chui, in their A Sideways Look at Upper Ontologies, present a new perspective on upper-level ontologies that does not interpret them as isolated representations but considers them as embedded in the context of collections of formal theories. An upper-level ontology is seen as a cross-section of generic concepts formally characterised by the theories in these collections. Logical Operators for Ontological Modeling, by S. Borgo, D. Porello and N. Troquard, puts forward the idea that formal logic can offer more to applied ontology than just first-order based languages. They show how some basic operators of linear logic can be used to provide a homogeneous reconstruction of three notions of artefact. The next two papers focus on the notion of void and its role in foundational ontology, in particular as applied to the domain of geology. In the paper entitled Interdependence among material objects and voids, T. Hahmann, B. Brodaric and M. Grüninger axiomatically characterise a type of dependence in which material endurants and immaterial voids participate and participants share their matter or voids they occupy. This type of dependence exhibits three main cases: two material endurants sharing matter, two voids (and their hosts) overlapping, or a void and a part of its host being in strong contact. In the paper titled Voids and material constitution across physical granularities, T. Hahmann and B. Brodaric define two types of constitution relation between physical objects and the matter they are made of: within and between granularity levels. M. Haemmerli and A. Varzi, in Adding Convexity to Mereotopology, show how to extend mereotopology with the operator line segment between points so that one can define the standard convexity predicate and the convex hull operator. The account depends on the availability of boundary elements in the domain of quantification, including mereotopological points. The last full paper in this group, A First-order Formalization of Event, Object, Process and Role in YAMATO, by S. Borgo and R. Mizoguchi, develops a first-order axiomatisation of a fragment of the upper level ontology YAMATO. The fragment under consideration includes such categories as events, objects, time instants and intervals, and relations such as causal contribution, enacting, participation, and constitution. The Foundations group includes also one short paper. States, Events, and Truth-makers, by C. Masolo and A. Botti Benevides, provides a formal theory of states as completely specified truth-makers.
Processes, Agency, and Dispositions
This chapter contains papers on processes, agency, and dispositions, and opens with a foundational article on the relation of participation – Mathematical Foundations for Participation Ontologies by C. Chui and M. Grüninger. They present three existing formalisations of the notion of participation, namely as found in PSL, DOLCE, and a set of OWL axioms provided by A. Gangemi, and verify them with respect to two new classes of structures: incidence bundles and incidence foliations. The next paper in this group,
A formal theory for conceptualizing artefacts and tool manipulations, by N. Troquard, details a “pre-ontology” of artefacts and their manipulations: design, implementation, existence, use, and persistence. The logical background of this formal theory is defined by the logic of bringing-it-about.
Next, we have two papers on the Business Process Modelling Notation BPMN. The first paper, An ontology for the Business Process Modelling Notation, by M. Rospocher, C. Ghidini and L. Serafini, presents a formal description of the Business Process Modelling Notation in the language of OWL DL. As the authors note in the introduction “[...] the BPMN Ontology provides an ontological formalization of BPMN as a graphical language, that is, it describes all the elements of the language and how they can be used to compose BPMN diagrams. It is not intended to provide an ontological analysis of these entities in a foundational fashion”. The second, a short paper, Events and Activities: Is there an Ontology behind BPMN?, by E. Sanfilippo, S. Borgo and C. Masolo, can be seen as a complementary effort since it provides an in-depth ontological analysis of BPMN events and activities.
In addition, this group contains two papers that focus on the notion of disposition. A. Barton, R. Rovetto and R. Mizoguchi, in Newtonian Forces and Causation: A Dispositional Account, show how different kinds of forces (i.e., gravitational, electromagnetic and contact forces) can be formalised as dispositions. A force is seen here as a disposition of a given object that depends on the field exerting the force and on the accelerated motion of the object. The second paper, Resilience as a Disposition, by D. Daniel, aligns the notion of resilience to the Basic Formal Ontology description of disposition.
Finally, D. Porello, E. Bottazzi and R. Ferrario, in their The Ontology of Group Agency, formalise the notion of group agency developed by Ch. List and Ph. Pettit within the framework of the foundational ontology DOLCE. One of the specific characteristics of this approach is a multiplicative view of group agents, where a group agent is different from the aggregate of individuals that grounds it.
Methods and Tools
This chapter assembles papers related to various methods and tools in use in ontology development. The first paper, Aspect-Oriented Ontologies: Dynamic Modularization Using Ontological Metamodeling, by R. Schäfermeier and A. Paschke, studies how the paradigm of aspect-oriented programming may inspire a new approach to modularisation in applied ontology. In particular, the authors illustrate how the problem of recombination of modules can be solved using second-order logic under Henkin semantics, thereby reducing the problem to first-order logic. B. Bennett and C. Cialone, in their paper entitled Corpus Guided Sense Cluster Analysis: a methodology for ontology development (with examples from the spatial domain), develop the notion of a sense cluster as a cornerstone for a methodology of corpus guided analysis for gathering information about the range and frequency of senses associated with a lexical term. The analysis combines two types of investigation: (a) logic-based semantic analysis, and (b) corpus-based statistical analysis of the actual use of terminology. The paper Applying the Realism-Based Ontology-Versioning Method for Tracking Changes in the Basic Formal Ontology, by S. Seppälä, B. Smith and W. Ceusters, extends the realism-based ontology versioning strategy ‘Evolutionary Terminology Auditing’. In particular, the paper shows how this strategy can be deployed to track changes between different versions of the BFO ontology, namely BFO 1.0, BFO 1.1, and BFO 2.0.
This chapter also contains two short papers. The Unique Predication of Knowledge Elements and their Visualization and Factorization in Ontology, by Hermann Bense, proposes the notation of Ontological Graphs (OG) to visualise a number of types of model structures: data models, semantic networks, taxonomies, etc. The second short paper, Crowdsourcing Ontology Content and Curation: The Massive Ontology Interface, written by S. Sarjant, C. Legg, M. Stannett and D. Willcock, presents a web portal to support ontology crowd-sourcing.
Biology and Medicine. The first subcategory of Applications is all about biology and medicine. Within the context of the Component Library ontology, V. Chaudhri, N. Dinesh and S. Heymans define, in their paper Conceptual Models of Energy Transfer and Regulation, a number of concepts related to energy transfer and regulation. They show how their ontological representations can be used as components of the question-answer module of an ‘intelligent’ textbook. The next paper in this group, An Ontology-based Taxonomic Key for Afrotropical Bees, by A. Gerbera, C. Eardley, and N. Morar, demonstrates that morphological key data can be captured in a standardised format as an ontology. The ontology, as well as the key web-based application, form the basis of a suite of tools to support the taxonomic process in this domain. S. Schulz, C. Martínez Costa, D. Karlsson, R. Cornet, M. Brochhausen and A. Rector discuss, in An Ontological Analysis of Reference in Health Record Statements, five different formal representations of electronic health records, three using OWL-DL, one using OWL Full, and one using a query language. The different representations are evaluated against the computed entailments they provide and the ontological commitments they involve. ContoExam: an ontology on context-aware examinations, by P. Brandt, T. Basten and S. Stuijk, deals with the problem of semantic interoperability of sensor data. ContoExam is proposed as a solution to this problem – it is an applied ontology providing means for comparability and context-dependence of sensor data.
Engineering. The second subcategory in the group of application-focused papers concerns engineering, in particular software engineering. Towards an Ontology of Software: a Requirements Engineering Perspective, by X. Wang, N. Guarino, G. Guizzardi and J. Mylopoulos, is an ontological analysis of four types of software artefacts: programs, software systems, software products, and licensed software products. The authors argue that these types may be differentiated by means of different identity criteria and the essential properties of their instantiations. The second paper in this subcategory – An Ontological Analysis of the ISO/IEC 24744 Metamodel – concerns the ISO/IEC 24744 standard and the SEMDM metamodel defined therein. Its authors, F. B. Ruy, R. A. Falbo, M. P. Barcellos and G. Guizzardi, provide an ontological analysis of this model using the Unified Foundational Ontology. Finally, An Ontological Interpretation of Non-Functional Requirements, by R. Guizzardi, F.-L. Li, A. Borgida, G. Guizzardi, J. Horkoff and J. Mylopoulos, interprets the notion of non-functional requirements in terms of qualities as defined in the Unified Foundational Ontology. This interpretation gives way for the development of an ontology-based syntax to specify non-functional requirements. The paper An Ontological Core for Conformance Checking in the Engineering Life-cycle, by A. Jordan, M. Selway, W. Mayer, G. Grossmann and M. Stumptner, develops formalisations of the notion of artefact (in particular of information artefact), of artefactual roles and functions, and of notions related to the engineering life-cycle.
Economy. The third subcategory of application-focused papers concerns economy. N. Antonioli, F. Castanò, S. Coletta, S. Grossi, G. Stefano, D. Lembo, M. Lenzerini, A. Poggi, E. Virardi and P. Castracane, in their Ontology-based Data Management for the
Italian Public Debt, present the OBDM (ontology-based data management) Project. The key idea behind this project is to deploy a three-level architecture: (i) the ontology, (ii) the data sources, and (iii) the mappings between the two. The ontology is a formal description of the domain of interest, specified in terms of formal descriptions of concepts, binary relations between concepts, and attributes. The other two contributions in this group are short papers. J. Dietz, D. Aveiro, J. Pombinho and J. Hoogervorst, in An Ontology for the τ-theory of Enterprise Engineering, present the τ-theory ontology whose aim is to support enterprise engineering by clarifying a number of foundational concepts in this domain, such as: system, model, subject, object, function, purpose and value. The paper Unit of Organizational Learning Ontology based on LOM Standard and IMS Learning Design, by A. Menolli, H. S. Pinto, S. Reinehr and A. Malucelli, develops the ‘Unit of Organizational Learning Ontology’, which is based on instructional design and integrates distinct learning standards.
2. Ontology Competition
FOIS papers often refer to ontologies which are not publicly available, or to ontologies whose relations to other ontologies are not clearly specified. The aims of the FOIS 2014 ontology competition were: (1) to encourage ontology authors to make their ontologies publicly available and (2) to subject them to evaluation according to a set of pre-determined criteria. These criteria were identified at the Ontology Summit 2013 and comprise both informal criteria (intelligibility, fidelity, craftsmanship, fitness and deployability), as well as logically formalisable criteria (consistency, intended logical consequences, satisfaction by intended models, alignments with other ontologies, links to versions written in different languages).
From 15 submissions of ontologies (accompanied by explanatory papers), eight were selected by the FOIS Competition PC for presentation at the conference. Four of the submissions were simultaneously selected as FOIS technical papers, while the other four papers are included as dedicated competition short papers. The papers that entered the competition were:
1. C. Chui and M. Grüninger. Mathematical Foundations for Participation Ontologies
2. M. Rospocher, C. Ghidini and L. Serafini. An ontology for the Business Process Modelling Notation
3. P. Brandt, T. Basten and S. Stuijk. ContoExam: an ontology on context-aware examinations
4. N. Antonioli, F. Castanò, S. Coletta, G. Stefano, D. Lembo, M. Lenzerini, A. Poggi, E. Virardi and P. Castracane. Ontology-based Data Management for the Italian Public Debt
5. A. Barton, A. Rosier, A. Burgun and J.-F. Ethier. The Cardiovascular Disease Ontology
6. V. Chaudhri, D. Elenius, S. Hinojoza, and M. Wessel. KB Bio 101: Content and Challenges
7. M. Rospocher. An ontology for personalized environmental decision support
8. T. Breitsprecher, M. Codescu, C. Jucovschi, M. Kohlhase, L. Schröder and S. Wartzack. Towards Ontological Support for Principle Solutions for Mechanical Engineering
The first four papers can be found among the main track chapters as mentioned above, and the remaining four short papers are assembled in the last chapter of this volume. The ontologies themselves can be accessed at ontohub.org/ fois-ontology-competition. We thank all the submitters and all the referees for their valuable work and hope that the Ontology Competition will become an integral part of FOIS.
Winners of the FOIS competition as well as the FOIS best paper award were announced during the conference. Awards and runners-up can be found at iaoa.org/fois/.
In this edition of the conference, we have received the support of several organisations. Firstly, we would like to express our gratitude to FGV (Fundação Getúlio Vargas – portal.fgv.br), which was a patron for the entire realisation of the conference, offering precious support in terms of infrastructure, location and administrative personnel. We are also immensely grateful to our Platinum Sponsors: the Brazilian National Research Council (CNPq – cnpq.br), the Research Funding Agency of the State of Rio de Janeiro (FAPERJ – www.faperj.br), and by the partnership COPPETEC Foundation (www.coppetec.coppe.ufrj.br) and EMC Corporation Brazil (brazil.emc.com). We are also thankful to our Gold sponsors: the NIC.BR (Center for Information and Coordination of the Brazilian Internet – www.nic.br) and the CGI.Br (the Brazilian Internet Management Council – www.cgi.br). Furthermore, we are thankful to our Silver sponsor, the multichannel cable and TV service Globosat (globosat.globo.com). FOIS 2014 was organized under the auspices of our scientific promoter association, the International Association for Ontologies and its Applications (IAOA – iaoa.org). We also thank IAOA for financing grants that enabled the participation of a number of students in this edition of FOIS.
Last but not least, we would like to thank our four invited speakers, Nicholas Asher, Kit Fine, Nicola Guarino, and Clarisse Sieckenius de Souza, for delivering keynotes at the conference.
In this talk I want to review some recent developments in formal lexical semantics, in particular how recent theories make use of types to model meanings and meaning composition. I will look both at model theoretic approaches to lexical semantics and explicitly type theoretic ones. In particular, I will discuss problems of the subtyping relation in richly typed theories. I will then speculate about the ontological foundations of the different approaches to subtyping.
I propose a new theory of vagueness. It differs from previous theories in two main respects. First, it treats vagueness as a global rather than local phenomenon, i.e. vagueness always relates to a number of cases rather than a single case. Second, it treats vagueness as a logical rather than a material matter, i.e. vagueness can be expressed by logical means alone without the help of additional vagueness-theoretic primitives. I shall criticize alternative views, develop a logic and semantics for my own view, and explain how it deals with the sorites.
One of the key tenets of Applied Ontology is that conceptual modeling—making explicit people's assumptions about a domain structure for purposes of understanding and communication—can greatly benefit from the rigorous tools of formal ontological analysis.
In this talk, I will briefly review the main achievements of what is now called “Ontology-Driven Conceptual Modeling”, from the first intuitions that originated the OntoClean methodology, to more recent contributions concerning ways of modeling part-of relations, roles, and generic relationships. I will then focus on some recent ideas I have been working on, emerging from practical experiences with public services and organizations, centered on the observation that the current practice of conceptual modeling tends to mainly focus on endurants (a.k.a. objects) and their relationships, with less attention given to perdurants (a.k.a. events and states).
I will defend a methodological approach called “Episode-centric Conceptual Modeling” that shifts the focus of attention from relationships to their truth-makers, considered indeed—in most cases—as maximal perdurants (i.e., episodes), and suggest some ways to account for the internal structure of such truth-makers, analyzing the different ways objects and their individual qualities are more or less directly involved in an episode. Finally, I will defend the vision of a new generation of conceptual modeling tools, able to perform an interactive critique of modeling choice on the basis of logical, ontological and linguistic criteria.
Computer programming is a human activity where subjective matters have been typically looked at as sources of error and trouble. Most computer programmers have tended to deal with computer meanings in terms of correctness and completeness, paying little attention to the role of their own interpretations of context and values while generating program code. Following the orientation of all semiotic approaches to human-computer interaction (HCI), Semiotic Engineering has brought HCI designers onto the stage where users interact with systems interfaces and proposed that the latter are in fact the designers' proxy in a computer-mediated communication that involves designers and users alike. In other words, there are more people to account for in HCI than just users.
Recently, we have been using Semiotic Engineering's conceptual tools to track the presence of human interpretation and intent in deeper layers of software. Interesting findings come from programs produced by users engaged in end user programming (EUP) activities. So, in this talk, I will introduce the main ideas of Semiotic Engineering and show how, especially when applied to EUP, they can lead to intriguing questions about the first-person in computer discourse and what he/she/it/they may mean to tell us in software codes.
This paper explores an alternative vision for upper ontologies which is more effective at facilitating the sharability and reusability of ontologies. The notion of generic ontologies is characterized through the formalization of ontological commitments and choices. Ontology repositories are used to modularize ontologies so that any particular upper ontology is equivalent to the union of a set of generic ontologies. In this way, upper ontologies are not replaced but rather integrated with other theories in the ontology repository.
We show that logic has more to offer to ontologists than standard first order and modal operators. We first describe some operators of linear logic which we believe are particularly suitable for ontological modeling, and suggest how to interpret them within an ontological framework. After showing how they can coexist with those of classical logic, we analyze three notions of artifact from the literature to conclude that these linear operators allow for reducing the ontological commitment needed for their formalization, and even simplify their logical formulation.
Material-spatial interdependence (mat-dep) is a type of dependence in which the physical extents of two entities are necessarily and mutually contingent, e.g. an object and its matter, or a hole and its host. Such dependence is commonly found amongst arrangements of physical entities, particularly in models of the natural environment. In this paper, we analyze and formally characterize mat-dep, and show how it augments the physical characterization of the containment, constitution, and hosting relations, primarily for development of a hydro ontology.
The relation between an object and its matter is fundamental to all physical sciences, and represented widely and diversely in scientific ontologies. An under-appreciated aspect of this relation is the emergence of voids at finer levels of physical granularity. In this paper we enhance the constitution relation to account for the presence of finer voids, and show how this helps delineate two forms of constitution that hold within and between granular levels. This enhanced notion of the constitution relation is characterized formally, and is applied to hydro ontology development.
Convexity predicates and the convex hull operator continue to play an important role in theories of spatial representation and reasoning, yet their first-order axiomatization is still a matter of controversy. In this paper, we present a new approach to adding convexity to a mereotopological theory with boundary elements by specifying first-order axioms for a binary segment operator s. We show that our axioms yield a convex hull operator h that supports, not only the basic properties of convex regions, but also complex properties concerning region alignment. We also argue that h is stronger than convex hull operators from existing axiomatizations and show how to derive the latter from our axioms for s.
Upper ontologies are sophisticated systems that require an expressive language to be properly formalized and correctly implemented. This paper provides a formal study of one of these ontologies, called YAMATO, by providing an axiomatization in first-order logic of part of the main system. YAMATO, which has been available in OWL for some years and is used in research projects as well as in applications, is quite rich in terms of categories and relations. The system is also interesting from its ontological perspective as it presents a different combination of ontological choices with respects to todays popular upper ontologies. Here we isolate a fairly compact fragment of this system that covers important categories, such as Process and Role, and relations, such as Enacting and CausallyContributing. The axiomatization is a first step towards the full exploitation of YAMATO in information and computational systems.
In the last decade, the debate about the ontological foundations of reified temporal logics (RTLs) has been relatively quiet, even though we think some problems still exist. In this paper, we identify some of these problems and propose (partial) solutions to them in a FOL framework. States are here characterized (at the syntactic level) as truth-makers of propositions—they reify true propositions—and events are built from states. These choices make the event-state distinction much crisper than the one characterized in terms of the (meta-)predicates HOLDS vs. OCCURS, which are necessary in RTLs but not in our theory. We also offer some epistemological arguments in favor of this choice.
The notion of participation as a relation between objects, activities, and time has been axiomatized in various ontologies. In this paper, we focus on three of these ontologies – PSL-Core, Gangemi's axioms, and DOLCE. We provide a verification of these participation ontologies by introducing ontologies for new classes of mathematical structures known as incidence bundles and incidence foliations. The new mathematical ontologies serve as reusable ontology design patterns for participation, and also are the basis for mappings between the different participation ontologies. Finally, we illustrate the concept of ontology transfer through the use of these ontology design patterns.
Artefacts (physical and institutional) are ubiquitous of our social environment. We live in a tight network of socio-technical systems, which are systems where agents interact with created objects. There is an increasing need for rigorous methods to model, specify, and reason about socio-technical systems in general, and about artefacts and their functions in particular. We propose a formal theory that serves at the conceptualization of artefacts and their manipulations: design, implementation, existence, use, and persistence.
In this paper we describe a formal ontological description of the Business Process Modelling Notation (BPMN), one of the most popular languages for business process modelling. The proposed ontology (the BPMN Ontology) provides a classification of all the elements of BPMN, together with the formal description of the attributes and conditions describing how the elements can be combined in a BPMN business process description. Using the classes and properties defined in the BPMN Ontology any BPMN diagram can be represented as an A-box (i.e., a set of instances and assertions on them) of the ontology: this allows the exploitation of ontological reasoning services such as consistency checking and query answering to investigate the compliance of a process with the BPMN Specification as well as other structural property of the process. The paper also presents the modelling process followed for the creation of the BPMN Ontology, and describes some application scenarios exploiting the BPMN Ontology.
In the context of business process modelling, the Business Process Model and Notation (BPMN) is a de-facto standard with more than 70 commercial tools that currently support its use. Amongst its main modelling constructs, BPMN includes activities and events. However, the focus of the standard is on providing an intuitive graphical language, rather than formal semantics specifications. This results in semantic ambiguities regarding the interpretation of its modelling constructs. We investigate whether the main building blocks of BPMN commit to an ontological theory of the domain entities at hand, eventually clarifying this commitment by the approach of ontological analysis.
We present a model of Newtonian forces and the causal relations they are involved in, applying Röhl & Jansen's model of disposition (extended with a relation between dispositions and their existential conditions), and show that this model fits with the intuition that force is the result of an interaction. We formalize forces as dispositions, dissociating field forces (which have local fields as existential conditions) from composite forces (which encompass contact forces). Finally, we hint at how this model could answer some classical philosophical difficulties concerning forces and dispositions.
In domains concerned with global change, achieving resilience in socio-ecological systems is highly desired; however making this concept operational in reality has been a struggle partly due to the conflation of the term by these domains. Although resilience is vastly researched in sustainability science, climate change and disaster management for some reason this concept is not dealt with from an ontological perspective. In this paper, the foundation for a formal theory of resilience is laid out. I propose that the common view of resilience as ‘the ability of a system to cope with a disturbance’ is a disposition that is realized through processes since resilience cannot exist without its bearer i.e. a system and can only be discerned over a period of time when a potential disturbance is identified. To this end, the constructs of the Basic Formal Ontology are applied to ground the proposed categorization of resilience. In so doing, I adhere to the notion of semantic reference frames by employing a top-level ontology to anchor the notion of resilience.
We present an ontological analysis of the notion of group agency developed by Christian List and Philip Pettit. We focus on this notion as it allows us to neatly distinguish groups, organizations, corporations – to which we may ascribe agency – from mere aggregates of individuals. We develop a module for group agency within a foundational ontology and we apply it to organizations.
In this paper, we propose a dynamic and flexible approach to ontology modularization inspired by the aspect-oriented programming paradigm in software development. Aspect-oriented programming provides formalisms for encapsulating a software system's functionality in self-contained modules, where each module represents a single requirement, along with meta-information on how to recombine the modules at runtime. The recombination requires second-order reasoning, but it can be shown that it is sufficient to interpret the second-order constructs under a Henkin semantics, reducing the problem to first-order logic. We demonstrate the applicability of the approach to the problem of modular ontologies by presenting a proof-of concept implementation for aspect-oriented OWL 2 ontologies. Furthermore, we show that the approach can be used as a substitute for metamodeling and may be helpful in preventing expensive refactoring operations in certain ontology integration scenarios.
The paper explores problems in ontology construction that arise due to the complex mapping between language and meaning. A new methodology is proposed, which combines a definitional approach using formal logic, with corpus-based statistical analysis of the use of terminology in natural language text. Underlying the approach is a semantic theory in which the notion of sense cluster plays a central role. Rather than having a single precise definition, the referent of a conceptual term is taken to be a sense cluster, modelled by a probability distribution over a set of precise definitions. This style of semantic specification pays heed to insights into the nature of language coming from philosophers such as Wittgenstein and his followers; but it also provides a framework supporting rigorous formal ontology development, which is often regarded as incompatible with the view of language suggested by Wittgenstein (in his later works).
Although the methodology is quite general, this paper will mainly draw its examples from the domain of spatial properties and relations, and will examine the complex correspondence between the spatial vocabulary of natural language and logically defined geometrical constraints.