The ontologist advice

Why bioinformatics back on Aristotle now

Pre-new metaphysics is of particular use in information science. Because she is closely oriented to everyday life as today’s scientific classification systems. And their formal basic concepts are sometimes better than structure for databases than the axioms of modern logic. Therefore, the Leipziger IFomis is for the development of programs that are used in biomedical research, the physical treatment practice and the epidemic pravention via data analysis, on Aristotle and Thomas from Aquin.

Platon is the famous teacher of the Aristotle. But Aristotle is a thankful schooler. To the things that you can still learn from Aristotle today, the contestation of this well-known fact is obvious. At least Aristotle says that the word "is" in the sentence "Platon is the famous teacher of the Aristotle" misrepresentation. "Platon" and "The famous teacher of the Aristotle" are not identical. Arger still: Aristotelian viewed, exists the "Astate teachers of Aristotle" not at all. Because this description teaching Aristotle, does not refer to no object with its own creature, so not on Plato, but on a quasi-random mixture of famousness and teaching.

Nodes in the network of the realitat

Behind this assertion, which is a bit strange for today’s reader, system is. Aristotle rejects it, by name, according to the Common Sense nominalist reading, as independent of its name. "Platon" and "The most famous teacher" are not only verbal printouts for Aristotle, which are independent of these terms (and independently of terms overhead) existing reference. Aristotelian thought, it concerns exactly different: the terms, and not the things "behind the terms" are that, which truly constitutes the realitat.

So far, the like abscuting nutrient has so far been almost exclusively for philosophy historians. Now the computer science is accessed on it — the Institute for Formal Ontology and Medical Information Science (IFOMIS), which was founded in 2002 at the University of Leipzig, which has been located since September 2004 at the University of Saarland and is demanded by the Volkswagenstiftung.

The problem of "Soilest teachers of Aristotle" is directly relevant to the so-called Gene Ontology. Gene Ontology is an attempt to develop controlled vocabulary of terms for creating computer databases, which are used by biologists to describe cell components, biological processes and molecular functions. The terms in question are organized by the division into classes and subclasses hierarchically and interconnected.

During the presentation of these terms and conceptual releases in a computer and software programmer lacking logic, such as Barry Smith, the Grounder and Head of the IFomis writes in the short-mentioned Blackwell Guide to the Philosophy of Computing and Information (Blackwell 2004), just the applicable Aspects of Aristotelian metaphysics a special help.

How to build a classification system

What Aristotle namely two thousand years ago above "true" and "unfamiliar" Has claimed to a bioinformatic database world, whose material components consist mainly of nodes in classification systems, coarse part. "Straight teacher of Aristotle" are equally unsuitable as "parents", "Development processes" or "Catalysts", To act as such nodes. Only those general terms come into question for this function, which are also classes — biological classes.

Generally, it is paying off in the admission procedure for membership in the elite entity "Great" Rigoros. The use of general terms, which are not classes, is easy to fake conclusions: in 427 before Christ was a young name in Athens "Platon" born. But it is missed to pull the conclusion that it already already the "Astate teachers of Aristotle" came to the world — because as such, Platon was not known in 427. Such complications are avoided if one belongs to those things, on the Aristotle, no "knowledge" It is possible, from the outset a post in the node network of a conceptual system refused.

The problem blurred descriptions

Another advantage of Aristotelian metaphysics or "ontology", How to say since the seventeenth century is that it is stronger associated with the concrete relations of objects in certain object areas than the formalized basic terring today’s logic. This also focuses on the mesocosmos: on the area of counter and living beings mean roughly, which constitutes the main spectrum of our everyday experience.

This is due for the purposes of the IFOMIS insofar as a rough part of medical documents and 98 percent of all electronically available information are written in natural language. Their intact "cauliflower", "shot", "crusty", "pink" or "pious" are not random disarmed; Your accuracy belongs to your being. In the attempt to define the designated objects sharply, they have the tendency to just disappear — such as the foot of a mountain, from which one can never say where he is actually.

Ontologies for every purpose

To deal with such terms, Smith and his colleagues are already working on a variety of expert attiations. In some areas Aristotle has already done preliminary work with considerations via places (Physics IV), chair (DE Partius Animalium I, 1) and Stulpnasige (Metaphysics VI, 1). Continue today with the ontology of landscape forms, as you Smith in the essay do Mountains Exist? reduced, or punches, the Roberto Casati and Achille C. Varzi already developed in 1994 in her book Holes and other superficialites (with press), with embryontology and ontology of blood prere, right or economics.

Part of this work is embedded in the international project Wonderweb for the development of information scientific base drawnologies. In addition, the IFOMIS is a cooperation with the Belgian-American company Language COMPUTING — a company that offers problem-based word processing in the areas of health care and pharmaceutical market and expand this offer to other areas and industries.

"With gross joy", says Werner Ceusters, director of Language Computing, he had taken note of the scientists from the IFomis did not scare himself, "If necessary, deviate from the main stream of research." For this purpose, the IFOMIS has just recently procured an American Thomas of Aquin Researcher: Michael Gorman from Catholic University in Washington, DC was aft as a scholarship holder of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in Leipzig. With considerations for the revision of the categories of creatures and substance, he has contributed to his human formatics progress — as a grateful Schuler of the Aristotle.

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