on January 22, 2010 by Michel Dumontier in Peer Review, Comments (0)

Review of What is an ontology?

This is a review of What is an ontology?

This well written article spans both logical and philosophical considerations in Ontology so as to provides insight into the kinds of entities that are believed to exist and how we might formally represent them and the basic relations that may exist between them.

The discussion on relations relating to identity (transformedInto, derivedFrom) necessitates further explanation. Are the criterion for identity embedded in physical continuity or in the conscious self? Indeed, we observe that a from develops from a tadpole, the idea lies in the material *largely* persisting spatiotemporally, and that the gain and loss of parts (and the corresponding qualities) is gradual and acceptably identity-preserving.  Yet, we wonder whether the addition of even a single atom to a molecule through some chemical reaction maintains identity. To what extent does the gain or loss of parts become sufficiently important that it requires the distinction of forming a new entity? Perhaps more challenging is if we were to replace a person’s brain with another, we might perceive them to be the same individuals throughout the operations, but would this criterion for identity change if consciousness followed the brain? Then what might we say of identity? Important questions indeed for formal ontology and the representation of biological knowledge.

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