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.
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