Squared Outline: Ontologies

The upsurge in the scope and performances of artificial brains sometimes brings a new light on human cognition. Semantic layers and knowledge graphs offer a good example of a return to classics, in that case with Greek philosophers’ ontologies.

According to their philosophical origins, ontologies are systematic accounts of existence for whatever can make sense in an universe of discourse. From that starting point four basic observations can be made:

  1. Ontologies are structured set of names denoting symbolic (aka cognitive) representations.
  2. These representations can stand for whatever may be taken into consideration: terms (nothing is represented), ideas (sets of terms), instances of objects or phenomena, categories (sets of instances), documents.
  3. Ontologies are solely dedicated to the validity and internal consistency of the representations.
  4. Ontologies are not contingent on truth (epistemic) status, i.e external consistency. As a corollary,  they are not meant to support emprical purposes.

That makes models a refinement of ontologies as they are meant to be externally consistent and serve a purpose.

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