03 July 2005

Components of Ontology: Entities

Entities, as defined in 05E-SIW-045, are divided up into several possible classes - objects, actions, events (objects with a time component), and phenomena.

[I think that the interesting thing here is phenomena. After all, entities relate to each other through relations, yet phenomena are the objects of relations (or perhaps the subjects) that denote and decry change of state. Whether it is an action, an emotion, an environmental change, or an affectation on the nature of some other entity - phenomena are almost always defined within the the context of the effects they bring about on other entities. This intrigues me, from the point of view of phenomena being part of a system. Are they, in essence, each special case relations that relate an entity to the new state that the phenomena describes? Not sure. I'm not even sure if I have stated that correctly, but it still interests me.]

Again, from the description in the Toulouse paper, entities are comprised of concepts. I find it interesting how, if looked at in an object oriented fashion, that the structure of Entities constructed of Concepts allows for some Concepts to be part of many different Entities. What is more interesting (and making for some challenges) is that some entities, if defined within two seperate system, but that are modeling the same real life concept, might be composed of not only a divergent list of concepts, but possibly a completely seperate list of concepts. Ouch. That certainly makes the goal of semantic interoperability much harder to accomplish. It also makes the role of a central referential data model that allows for translation between seperate ontologies - much more difficult.

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