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Building Ontologies With Basic Formal Ontology$
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Robert Arp, Barry Smith, and Andrew D. Spear

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780262527811

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262527811.001.0001

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Principles of Best Practice I: Domain Ontology Design

Principles of Best Practice I: Domain Ontology Design

(p.43) 3 Principles of Best Practice I: Domain Ontology Design
Building Ontologies With Basic Formal Ontology

Robert Arp

Barry Smith

Andrew D. Spear

The MIT Press

We introduce four ontology design principles: realism, perspectivalism, fallibilism, and adequatism. Realism is the view that reality exists independently of our ways of representing it. Perspectivalism is the view that there can be multiple equally correct ways of representing the same reality. Fallibilism is the view that all representations (thus: all theories, all ontologies) should be viewed as being revisable. Adequatism is the view that no one perspective on reality – for example one at the level of granularity of microphysics – is privileged over all others. Each rests on a certain view about how reality is structured and so best represented. Each therefore has consequences concerning how one should go about designing an ontology. We outline four further ontology design principles having to do with reuse, balancing utility and realism, open-endendness in the ontology design process, and “low-hanging fruit”. We provide on this basis an overview of the ontology design process.

Keywords:   Principles of ontology design, realism, perspectivalism, fallibilism, adequatism, granularity, empty names

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