Practicality in, reality out? Sort of

Kuhn’s style in addressing ontologies differed from that of Smith and Mark’s. His article is more comprehensible, as it has more focus and attempts to cover less ground. However, I did find the articles to successfully complement one another. The main scope of Kuhn’s article, focuses on “problem-solving world knowledge” (with an emphasis on operations and domain theories), rather than “problem solving methods or reasoning”, is a step in the right direction (616). If ontologies will be diversified, inquiring about knowledge similarities and differences in various fields is appropriate. The step-by-step explanation given through the German traffic code text analysis was useful to organize the (at times) overwhelming and meticulous aspects of ontologies. Kuhn was critical and elaborate when discussing the limitations involved in textual language processes and future challenges of ways ontologies will be utilized in geographical space.

He argued for the representation of reality in geographical information to be prioritised less than what we do with that information. More specifically, how it is practical and what the user needs are. Even though I agree with the article, that practicality is a key factor in the development of textual ground, reality represented in geographic space should not be completely ignored. This is due to the lack of clarity to support the notion of the inability of ontologies be task-dependent. Hence, Chandarasekaran’s (1998) statement, “what kinds of things actually exist should not depend on what we want to do with that knowledge”. However, the various characteristics of reality of a domain which belong to a specific ontology (through identification and the written form), depends on the particular tasks the ontology is being built for (Chandarasekaran’s, 1998). Kuhn finds this to be critical to what can be achieved in practice. I believe a combination between practicality and reality would be most effective as the two are both substantial to ontological use in the geographic realm.

-henry miller

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