GOL: A general ontological language

In Chris Welty & Barry Smith (eds.), Formal Ontology in Information Systems (FOIS). New York: ACM Press. pp. 34-46 (2001)
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Every domain-specific ontology must use as a framework some upper-level ontology which describes the most general, domain-independent categories of reality. In the present paper we sketch a new type of upper-level ontology, which is intended to be the basis of a knowledge modelling language GOL (for: 'General Ontological Language'). It turns out that the upper- level ontology underlying standard modelling languages such as KIF, F-Logic and CycL is restricted to the ontology of sets. Set theory has considerable mathematical power and great flexibility as a framework for modelling different sorts of structures. At the same time it has the disadvantage that sets are abstract entities (entities existing outside the realm of time, space and causality), and thus a set-theoretical framework should be supplemented by some other machinery if it is to support applications in the ripe, messy world of concrete objects. In the present paper we partition the entities of the real world into sets and urelements, and then we introduce several new ontological relations between these urelements. In contrast to standard modelling and representation formalisms, the concepts of GOL provide a machinery for representing and analysing such ontologically basic relations.



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Barry Smith
University at Buffalo

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