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Paper 25
Title:Formal Ontology and Principles of Knowledge Organisation State of the Art and Future Appplications - a work in progress report
Paper:PDF
Category:Organization of Knowledge, Meta Data
Keywords:
Formal ontology
Top level ontology
Axiomatic method
Abstract:Dipl. Ing. Heiner Benking, Council on Global Issues, Toronto, Berlin. Harrer Wissenstransfer, Graz, Berlin.

Prof. Dr. nat. habil. Heinrich Herre, Research Group Formal Concepts, Institute for Informatics, Research Group Ontologies in Medicine and Life Science, Institute for Medical Informatics, Statistics and Epidemiology, University of Leipzig, heinrich.herre@imise.uni-leipzig.de


In the present paper we give an overview on formal ontology and its application for knowledge formation and organization. We use the term formal ontology to name an area of research which is becoming a science similar as formal or mathematical logic. Formal ontology is concerned with the systematic development of axiomatic theories describing forms, modes, and views of being of the world at different levels of abstraction and granularity.
Ten years ago an ontological basic project was established at the University of Leipzig which is called Integrative Framework for Development and Application of Ontologies (IFDAO), [He 2010]. This framework consists of a top level ontology, called General Formal Ontology (GFO), and a methodological system for ontology development and modeling [He 2010]. Further aspects in-clude the building of a library of core ontologies and domain specific ontologies, and the applica-tion of these ontologies in various areas.

Formal ontology combines the methods of mathematical logic with principles of philosophy, but also with the methods of artificial intelligence and cognitive science. At the most general level of abstraction, formal ontology is concerned with those categories that apply to every area of the world. The application of formal ontology to domains at different levels of generality yields organ-ized knowledge systems which are called, according to the level of abstraction, Top Level Onto-logies or Foundational Ontologies, Core Domain or Domain Ontologies. Top level or foundation-al ontologies apply to every area of the world, in contrast to the various Generic, Domain Core or Domain Ontologies, which are associated to more restricted fields of interest. The core of the methodological system is the onto-axiomatic method which integrates the axio-matic method with a top-level ontology. Data, information, and knowledge are available in various levels of detail, from rough data, to metadata and metaknowledge.
Metadata are used to de-scribe data, hence, they add more precise meaning to data, the semantics of which remains of-ten underspecified. Since the metadata itself must be specified by some formal representation, the meaning of which should be explained, we arrive at an infinite regress which must be brought to an end by some basic principle In the onto-axiomatic method this infinite regress is blocked by using a top level ontology that provides the most basic layer for a semantic foundation. Finally, the meaning of the top level ontology’s categories and relations is established by the axiomatic method, introduced in mathematics by D. Hilbert [Hi 1918].

The IFDAO-framework, the principles of which are summarized and sketched in the currentpaper,was successfully applied to various domains, among others, in biology and medicine [Hoe 2007], [He 2011], in the theory of space and time [Bau 2012], and in software engineering [Hoe 2009]. Since the methods are generic, they can be applied to any domain of interest.
The already achieved successful applications of these methods encourage us to investigate other fields with vague subject areas around socio-economic, ecological and cultural applications, and their respective meta-levels of survey knowledge and orientation knowledge schemes.

Revisiting Nicolai Hartmann, Carl Ritter (General Geography) 1 , Richard Hartshorne, Konstantinos Apostolos Doxiadis (ekistic grid) and related schema/models by the author 2 and, last but not least, the work by Paul Weiss and Stephen Jay Kline is helpful to explore the the current boundaries of the Problem Space, and to understand and envisage the need to transcend them. The authors are convinced that the solution space should be expanded by making use of extensional, embodied reference models which all allow to index, overlay, lump, and connect “bodies”, fields and patterns of knowledge, as an additional approch to hierarchical tree structures of conventional repositories. This joint paper takes note of the crisis of conventional classification in times of Google and mag-netic portals, knowbots, automated queries and opaque ranking and explores and examines methods and means for collective indexing and orientation at different levels of granularity and abstraction, cross-sector and transdisciplinary applications across spatial and spacial, temporal and cultural dimensions. See Wiki-Data, Wiki-Context and other collaboratory proposals within the cultural creative commons “open domain scene”. We believe that the approach of levels of reality, of graduated conceptualizations, and the onto-axiomatic method, on which GFO is based, provides a sufficient expressive framework to contribute to the next generation of organization and development of knowledge-schemes.In this first preliminary abstract we have no space for further references. An extended collection of publications [Ben1990-2012] and resources also mentioning related materials and projects is in progress, please check the link mentioned below.

Bibliography
[Hoe 2009] Hoehndorf, R., Ngonga Ngomo, A.-C., Herre, H. 2009. Developing Consistent and Modular Soft-
ware Models with Ontologies. Proceedings of The 8th International Conference on Software Methodologies, Tools and Techniques (SOMET-2009), 2009.
[He 2006] Herre, H., and B. Heller. 2006a. Semantic foundations of medical information systems based on top-level ontologies. Journal of Knowledge-Based Systems 19(2):107–115.
[Hi 1918] Hilbert, D. (1918). Axiomatisches Denken. Mathematische Annalen, 78:405–415.
[He 2010] Herre, H. (2010). General Formal Ontology (GFO) : A foundational ontology for conceptual
modelling. In Theory and Applications of Ontology. Vol. 2 Poli, R. and Obrst, L. (ed.), Springer.
[He 2011] Herre, H., Hoehndorf, R., Kelso, J., Loebe, F. Schulz, S. 2011. OBML - Ontologies in
Biomedicine and Life Sciences. BMC Biomedical Semantics
[Hoe 2007] Hoehndorf, R., Loebe, F., Poli,R., Herre, H., Kelso, J.. GFO-Bio. A New Approach to Integrating Ontologies, Applied Ontology, 2009
[Bau 2012] Baumann, R., Loebe, F., Herre, H. 2012 Ontology of Time in GFO Proceedings of the 7 th International Conference on Formal Ontology in Information Systems, FOIS 2012, Graz, Austria.
[Ben 1990-2012] a collection of links instead of a list of references to be made available a.s.a.p. at www.benking.de/systems/isko-potsdam2013/ : ICSU-CODATA 1995-2005, Konrad Lorenz Emergence Series, Worldview Compositions 1997, ISKO Granada 2002, The construction and ethics of shared frames of references TKE '96 Terminology and Knowledge Engineering, CONCEPT AND CONTEXT MAPPING - TOWARDS COMMON FRAMES OF REFERENCE TKE 1999 BRIDGING & SWITCHING REPRESENTATIONS IN ORDER SYSTEMS: Reflections about Multi-Media Repositories, Maps,
Filters, Portals, Harmonization, and Switching System, FID 100: KNOWLEDGE ORGANIZATION: TOWARD THE 21st CENTURY Concept and Context mapping: Towards Common Frames of Reference (all contributions are highly recommended) International Encyclopedia of Systems and Cybernetics newterms, Cognitive Panorama, mindscapes, cognitive spaces, … Please check the growing list of literature mentioned above including links to the ICC- Systematifier (Ingetraut Dahlberg, the Functional Classification (FC) (Anthony Judge), the SUMS navigation and indexing system (Kim Veltman) and the SDP and Digital Peters and HyperHistory project (PDF).

1 See a recent presentation at and discussions around “exploring the digital future”, Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society, presentation: Learnings from Alexander von Humboldt and Carl Ritter towards the Grand Global Communication Challenges….tinyurl.com/internet-society and the publications [Ben 1990-2012] about a global Embodied Covenant and SuperSigns and Superstructures.

2 Pointers to possibilities: Ekistics, Dymaxion World and Eco-Cube http://weturn.org/pointers-to-possibilities.html
Time:Dec 16, 14:14 GMT
Address:Heiner Benking PoBox 410926 Berlin 12119 Germany
Authors
first namelast nameemailcountryorganizationWeb sitecorr
HeinerBenkingheiner@benking.deGermanyCouncil on Global Issues, Toronto, Berlin

Reviews

Review 2
Overall evaluation:3: (strong accept)
Reviewer's confidence:3: (medium)
Relation to conference theme:5: (excellent)
Theoretical background:5: (excellent)
Methodological background:4: (good)
Topicality of discussed problem:5: (excellent)
Kind of presentation:4: (good)
Review:The paper proposes the onto-axiomatic method, goes back to its origins and describes it as a generic ontology in contrast to domain specific ontologies. By applying it a connection of different domains should be possible. The evidence of this outcome by onto-axiomatic method based information systems should be demonstrated in the talk. In so far it is importand to give arguments why a meta-ontology is necessarily more objective and connects different ontology domain without information loss. Especially the non-natural sciences need some good examples or even proofs. A more simple introduction into the problematic and proposed methodology seems helpful, instead of using catchwords (like magnetic portals, knowbots, automated queries, opaque ranking), whose role in the given abstract becomes not clear. Is the talk preferrably in English or in German?
Review 1
Overall evaluation:2: (accept)
Reviewer's confidence:2: (low)
Relation to conference theme:4: (good)
Theoretical background:4: (good)
Methodological background:4: (good)
Topicality of discussed problem:4: (good)
Kind of presentation:4: (good)
Review:Although I am not an expert in formal ontology it seems to me that the paper at hand is well conceived. Since the authors have to expect that not all members of the audience will be familiar with formal ontology they should consider to spend at least a few minutes of their presentation to provide for a brief introduction of formal ontology.