SIGIA-L Mail Archives: [Sigia-l] Question about the use of the term 'ontology'
[Sigia-l] Question about the use of the term 'ontology'
* Ruth Kaufman
| [reification vs representation in topic maps]
| Hmm, I liked that the term "reification" was used. That made sense
| to me, although I'm sure not that many people know what reification
| is, and I am fairly new to the concept, myself. As I understand it,
| reification and representation are not mutually exclusive. Something
| may be reified by being represented by something else. It is reified
| *as* it is represented. I would say that reification is a process
| that the "subject" undergoes, whereas representation is a task of
| the newly formed sign, in this example, the Topic.
I think what you're describing here is the term "reification" as it's
used in philosophy, but unfortunately there is a computer science
meaning of the term that's completely different, and the original
standard conflated the two.
So "reification" is still used, but it now means something different:
<URL: http://www.isotopicmaps.org/sam/sam-model/#d0e952 >
| I'm not sure if this tangent will prove useful, so that's where I'll
| leave it.
| Okay. In this sense, the subjects are only represented by topics and
| not reified as topics :-). If they were truly reified, then there
| wouldn't be 100% disjoint, I don't think.
Could be. I never fully understood the meaning of the term in
philosophy, so I can't tell. The conflict with the computer science
meaning made it unsuitable for my purposes, so I just left it there.
| What I mean by 'reify' is the process by which something whose
| natural state is not concrete (e.g., a notion, a cultural
| generalization, a collective memory, a value, a sense of self, a way
| of being...) manifests some aspect of itself, or is somehow
| denoted, in a concrete way (e.g., a term, a picture, a
Hmmmm. In that case it seems like you could restate your original
"I'd think that subject-based classifications reify ontologies"
"I'd think that ontologies are one form of subject-based
If so, I agree.
| Perhaps, if "becomes" is an association type. However this implies
| an agent (how does one thing become another?) It appears that topic
| maps, as well as other subject-based classifications, are
| 1-dimensional with respect to processes and sequence. What I think
| is missing from a lot of our representation conventions is a sense
| of transformation. This could be another thread altogether.
I think it is. :-)
Lars Marius Garshol, Ontopian <URL: http://www.ontopia.net >
GSM: +47 98 21 55 50 <URL: http://www.garshol.priv.no >
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: Fri Jun 03 2005 - 03:48:43 EDT