yamato sharply distinguishes itself from other existing upper ontologies in the following respects. Most importantly, yamato is designed with both engineering and philosophical minds. yamato is based on a sophisticated theory of roles, given that the world is full of roles. yamato has a tenable theory of functions which helps to deal with artifacts effectively. Information is a ‘content-bearing’ entity and it differs significantly from the entities that philosophers have traditionally discussed. Taking into account the modern society in which a (...) flood of information occurs, yamato has a sophisticated theory of informational objects. Quality and quantity are carefully organized for the sake of greater interoperability of real-world data. The philosophical contribution of yamato includes a theory of objects, processes, and events. Those features are illustrated with several case studies. These features lead to the intensive application of yamato in some domains such as biomedicine and learning engineering. (shrink)
Humans are always interested in distinguishing natural and artificial entities although there is no sharp demarcation between the two categories. Surprisingly, things do not improve when the second type of entities is restricted to the arguably more constrained realm of physical technical artifacts. This paper helps to clarify the relationship between natural entities and technical artifacts by developing a conceptual landscape within which to analyze these notions. The framework is developed by studying three definitions of technical artifact which arise from (...) different perspectives. All these perspectives share two intuitions: that technical artifacts are physical objects that exist by human intervention; and that technical artifacts are entities to be contrasted to natural entities. Yet the perspectives are different in the way they spell out these intuitions: the relevant human intervention may range from intentional selection to intentional production; and the contrast between technical artifacts and natural entities may be introduced by a constitution relation or by defining properties that set technical artifacts apart. The three perspectives are compared and their similarities and dissimilarities are explored with the help of ontological analysis. (shrink)
The goal of this paper is two-fold: first, to emphasize causality in disease ontology and knowledge representation, presenting a general and cursory discussion of causality and causal chains; and second, to clarify and develop the River Flow Model of Diseases (RFM). The RFM is an ontological account of disease, representing the causal structure of pathology. It applies general knowledge of causality using the concept of causal chains. The river analogy of disease is explained, formal descriptions are offered, and the RFM (...) disease definition is refined by describing causal chains in terms of causal relations. The definition is updated to coincide with the actual RFM classes found in its upper-level ontology, YAMATO, which brings to light some challenges in developing both YAMATO and the RFM. The RFM is also discussed in relation to another ontological account of disease. Strategies are offered toward interoperability between these theories. (shrink)
This special issue of Applied Ontology is devoted to the foundation, the comparison and the application of functional theories in all areas, with particular attention to the biological and engineering domains. It includes theoretical and technical contributions related to the description, characterization, and application of functions.