[Elsnet-list] Gary H. Merrill debates Smith and Cuesters' notion on ontological realism in new issue of Applied Ontology

Astrid Engelen a.engelen at iospress.nl
Thu Jul 15 15:52:25 CEST 2010

Gary H. Merrill debates Smith and Cuesters' notion on ontological realism in new issue of Applied Ontology
Article Ontological realism: Methodology or misdirection? by Gary H. Merrill freely available

We are happy to inform you that issue 5:2 (2010) of the journal Applied Ontology is now online at www.applied-ontology.org. The issue features three high-quality papers:
Ontological realism: Methodology or misdirection? / Gary H. Merrill (DOI 10.3233/AO-2010-0076) 
An ontological anaysis of states: Organizations vs. legal persons / E.H. Robinson (DOI 10.3233/AO-2010-0077) 
A note on ontology localization / P. Cimiano, E. Montiel-Ponsoda, P. Buitelaar, M. Espinoza and A. Gomez-Perez (DOI 10.3233/AO-2010-0075)
Given its relevance for the field of ontology engineering, the first paper Ontological realism: Methodology or misdirection? (DOI 10.3233/AO-2010-0076, Gary H. Merrill), an analysis of the implications of Ontological Realism from the applied ontology, has been made freely available online http://iospress.metapress.com/content/j3324564p5l33863/.
For several years, Barry Smith and Werner Cuesters have made the strong plea that ontologies should be developed from a realist perspective, such that the entities in an ontology refer directly to entities in reality. Smith and Cuesters have advocated the notion of realism quite forcefully in the biological community, where the OBO Foundry represents a collection of reference ontologies that adhere to a number of principles, among them the realist perspective. Smith and Cuesters have been extremely successful in persuading a large cadre of ontology developers to adhere to this point of view. 
Merrill's article makes a head-on attack on Smith and Cuesters' approach, with strong arguments and strong wit. This paper is essential reading for anyone who is interested in the philosophical underpinnings of ontology engineering in general and in the OBO Foundry in particular.
Meanwhile, Barry Smith and Werner Cuesters are busy preparing a response to the paper by Merrill, which promises to make a head-on counterattack, with equally strong arguments and strong wit. Smith and Cuester's response to the Merrill paper will be published in the next issue of Applied Ontology.
Merrill has promised to respond to the rebuttal from Smith and Cuesters. Smith and Cuesters have already asked to refute Merrill's rebuttal. 
This debate on the essence of ontology for e-science is fundamental and important to everyone concerned with the subject matter of the journal. 
About Applied Ontology
Applied Ontology - An Interdisciplinary Journal of Ontological Analysis and Conceptual Modeling is a journal whose focus is on information content in its broadest sense. As the subtitle makes clear, two broad kinds of content-based research activities are envisioned: ontological analysis and conceptual modeling. The former includes any attempt to investigate the nature and structure of a domain of interest using rigorous philosophical or logical tools; the latter concerns the cognitive and linguistic structures we use to model the world, as well as the various analysis tools and methodologies we adopt for producing useful computational models, such as information systems schemes or knowledge structures.
Nicola Guarino 
Laboratory for Applied Ontology (LOA), ISTC-CNR 
Insitute for Cognitive Sciences and Technologies 
National Research Council 
Via alla Cascata, 56/C 
38100 Povo (Trento) 
Tel.: +39 0461 314871 
Email: guarino at loa-cnr.it 

Mark A. Musen 
Stanford University 
Stanford Center for Biomedical Informatics Research 
251 Campus Drive, MSOB X-215 
Stanford, CA 94305-5479 
Tel.: +1 650 725 3390 
Email: musen at stanford.edu
The current issue 5:2 (2010) is available as of now through http://iospress.metapress.com/content/v03j6210r6w7/ 
About IOS Press
Commencing its publishing activities in 1987, IOS Press (www.iospress.nl) serves the information needs of scientific and medical communities worldwide. IOS Press now (co-)publishes over 100 international journals and about 130 book titles each year on subjects ranging from computer sciences and mathematics to medicine and the natural sciences.
IOS Press continues its rapid growth, embracing new technologies for the timely dissemination of information. All journals are available electronically and an e-book platform was launched in 2005.
Headquartered in Amsterdam with satellite offices in the USA, Germany, India and China, IOS Press has established several strategic co-publishing initiatives. Notable acquisitions included Delft University Press in 2005 and Millpress Science Publishers in 2008. 

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