Higgs bosons, mars missions, and unicorn delusions: How to deal with terms of dubious reference in scientific ontologies

Stefan Schulz, Mathias Brochhausen, Robert Hoehndorf

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Proceeding (Non-Journal item)

12 Citations (SciVal)

Abstract

Realist ontologies claim to represent what exists. Scientific discourse, however, often contains non-referring terms when describing hypotheses, plans, or ideas. We present a framework in which a realist ontology is embedded in an description logics theory, which is indifferent regarding the existence of class members, and which may include representational units for representing various kinds of non-referring terms. Using a taxonomy of terminological units we are able to distinguish between different kinds of classes in the description logics theory and to identify classes as unsatisfiable, which are put as the extensions of non-referring terms. We also demonstrate how discourse using non-referring terms can be represented without departing from the principle of realist ontologies. An example OWL file can be downloaded from: http://purl.org/steschu/misc/ICBO2011.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Second International Conference on Biomedical Ontology
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jul 2011
Event2nd International Conference on Biomedical Ontology - Buffalo, United States of America
Duration: 26 Jul 201130 Jul 2011

Conference

Conference2nd International Conference on Biomedical Ontology
Country/TerritoryUnited States of America
CityBuffalo
Period26 Jul 201130 Jul 2011

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