• University at Buffalo
    Department of Philosophy
    Biomedical Informatics
    Computer Science and Engineering
    Distinguished Professor, Julian Park Chair
University of Manchester
Department of Philosophy
PhD, 1976
APA Eastern Division
Buffalo, New York, United States of America
  •  546
    In Silico Approaches and the Role of Ontologies in Aging Research
    with Georg Fuellen, Melanie Börries, Hauke Busch, Aubrey de Grey, Udo Hahn, Thomas Hiller, Andreas Hoeflich, Ludger Jansen, Georges E. Janssens, Christoph Kaleta, Anne C. Meinema, Sascha Schäuble, Paul N. Schofield, and Others
    Rejuvenation Research 16 (6): 540-546. 2013.
    The 2013 Rostock Symposium on Systems Biology and Bioinformatics in Aging Research was again dedicated to dissecting the aging process using in silico means. A particular focus was on ontologies, as these are a key technology to systematically integrate heterogeneous information about the aging process. Related topics were databases and data integration. Other talks tackled modeling issues and applications, the latter including talks focussed on marker development and cellular stress as well as …Read more
  •  545
    The goal of the Department of Defense Net-Centric Data Strategy is to improve data sharing throughout the DoD. Data sharing is a critical element of interoperability in the emerging system-of-systems. Achieving interoperability requires the elimination of two types of data heterogeneity: differences of syntax and differences of semantics. This paper builds a path toward semantic uniformity through application of a disciplined approach to ontology. An ontology is a consensus framework representin…Read more
  •  543
    Searle and De Soto: The New Ontology of the Social World
    In Barry Smith, David Mark & Isaac Ehrlich (eds.), The Mystery of Capital and the Construction of Social Reality, Open Court. pp. 35-51. 2008.
    Consider a game of blind chess between two chess masters that is recorded in some standard chess notation. The recording is a representation of the game. But what is the game itself? This question is, we believe, central to the entire domain of social ontology. We argue that the recorded game is a special sort of quasi-abstract pattern, something that is: (i) like abstract entities such as numbers or forms, in that it is both nonphysical and nonpsychological; but at the same time, (ii) through i…Read more
  •  538
    Provides a survey of the development of speech act theory from Aristotle through Reid and Peirce to Edmund Husserl, Anton Marty, Johannes Daubert, Adolf Reinach, and finally to Austin and Searle. A special role is played by Husserl's theory of objectifying acts (meaning, roughly, acts of naming or stating) and of the efforts by his followers to extend this theory to cover phenomena such as questioning and commanding. These efforts culminated in the work of Adolf Reinach, who developed the first …Read more
  •  538
    Reinach’s essay of 1911 establishes an ontological theory of logic, based on the notion of Sachverhalt or state of affairs. He draws on the theory of meaning and reference advanced in Husserl’s Logical Investigations and at the same time anticipates both Wittgenstein’s Tractatus and later speech act theorists’ ideas on performative utterances. The theory is used by Reinach to draw a distinction between two kinds of negative judgment: the simple negative judgment, which is made true by a negative…Read more
  •  534
    We provide an overview of Searle's contributions to speech act theory and the ontology of social reality, focusing on his theory of constitutive rules. In early versions of this theory, Searle proposed that all such rules have the form 'X counts as Y in context C' formula – as for example when Barack Obama (X) counts as President of the United States (Y) in the context of US political affairs. Crucially, the X and the Y terms are here identical. A problem arises for this theory for cases involvi…Read more
  •  529
    How to Do Things with Documents
    Rivista di Estetica 50 179-198. 2012.
    This essay is a contribution to social ontology, drawing on the work of John Searle and of Hernando de Soto. At the center of the argument is the proposition advanced by de Soto in his Mystery of Capital to the effect that many of the entities which structure our contemporary social reality are entities which exist in virtue of the fact that there are (paper or digital) documents which support their existence. I here develop de Soto’s argument further, focusing specifically on the ontological pr…Read more
  •  528
    Enriching the Functionally Graded Materials (FGM) Ontology for digital manufacturing
    with Munira Mohd Ali, Ruoyu Yang, Binbin Zhang, Francesco Furini, Rahul Rai, and J. Neil Otte
    International Journal of Production Research 59 (18): 5540-5557. 2021.
    Functionally graded materials (FGMs) have been used in many different kinds of applications in recent years and have attracted significant research attention. However, we do not yet have a commonly accepted way of representing the various aspects of FGMs. Lack of standardised vocabulary creates obstacles to the extraction of useful information relating to pertinent aspects of different applications. A standard resource is needed for describing various elements of FGMs, including existing applic…Read more
  •  524
    The Planteome database: an integrated resource for reference ontologies, plant genomics and phenomics
    with Laurel Cooper, Austin Meier, Marie-Angélique Laporte, Justin L. Elser, Chris Mungall, Brandon T. Sinn, Dario Cavaliere, Seth Carbon, Nathan A. Dunn, Botong Qu, Justin Preece, Eugene Zhang, Sinisa Todorovic, Georgios Gkoutos, John H. Doonan, Dennis W. Stevenson, Elizabeth Arnaud, and Pankaj Jaiswal
    Nucleic Acids Research 46 (D1). 2018.
    The Planteome project provides a suite of reference and species-specific ontologies for plants and annotations to genes and phenotypes. Ontologies serve as common standards for semantic integration of a large and growing corpus of plant genomics, phenomics and genetics data. The reference ontologies include the Plant Ontology, Plant Trait Ontology, and the Plant Experimental Conditions Ontology developed by the Planteome project, along with the Gene Ontology, Chemical Entities of Biological Inte…Read more
  •  519
    The National Center for Biomedical Ontology
    with Mark A. Musen, Natalya F. Noy, Nigam H. Shah, Patricia L. Whetzel, Christopher G. Chute, and Margaret-Anne Story
    Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association 19 (2): 190-195. 2012.
    The National Center for Biomedical Ontology is now in its seventh year. The goals of this National Center for Biomedical Computing are to: create and maintain a repository of biomedical ontologies and terminologies; build tools and web services to enable the use of ontologies and terminologies in clinical and translational research; educate their trainees and the scientific community broadly about biomedical ontology and ontology-based technology and best practices; and collaborate with a variet…Read more
  •  512
    Fiat objects
    Topoi 20 (2): 131-148. 2001.
    Human cognitive acts are directed towards entities of a wide range of different types. What follows is a new proposal for bringing order into this typological clutter. A categorial scheme for the objects of human cognition should be (1) critical and realistic. Cognitive subjects are liable to error, even to systematic error of the sort that is manifested by believers in the Pantheon of Olympian gods. Thus not all putative object-directed acts should be recognized as having objects of their own. …Read more
  •  504
    A Spatio-Temporal Ontology for Geographic Information Integration
    International Journal for Geographical Information Science 23 (6): 765-798. 2009.
    This paper presents an axiomatic formalization of a theory of top-level relations between three categories of entities: individuals, universals, and collections. We deal with a variety of relations between entities in these categories, including the sub-universal relation among universals and the parthood relation among individuals, as well as cross-categorial relations such as instantiation and membership. We show that an adequate understanding of the formal properties of such relations – in pa…Read more
  •  499
    Law and eschatology in Wittgenstein's early thought
    Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 21 (1-4). 1978.
    The paper investigates the role played by ethical deliberation and ethical judgment in Wittgenstein's early thought in the light of twentieth?century German legal philosophy. In particular the theories of the phenomenologists Adolf Reinach, Wilhelm Schapp, and Gerhart Husserl are singled out, as resting on ontologies which are structurally similar to that of the Tractatus: in each case it is actual and possible Sachverhalte which constitute the prime ontological category. The study of the relati…Read more
  •  497
    Where humans can manipulate and integrate the information they receive in subtle and ever-changing ways from context to context, computers need structured and context-free background information of a sort which ontologies can help to provide. A domain ontology captures the stable, highly general and commonly accepted core knowledge for an application domain. The domain at issue here is that of the life sciences, in particular molecular biology and bioinformatics. Contemporary life science resear…Read more
  •  496
    National Center for Biomedical Ontology: Advancing biomedicine through structured organization of scientific knowledge
    with Daniel L. Rubin, Suzanna E. Lewis, Chris J. Mungall, Misra Sima, Westerfield Monte, Ashburner Michael, Christopher G. Chute, Ida Sim, Harold Solbrig, M. A. Storey, John D. Richter, Natasha Noy, and Mark A. Musen
    Omics: A Journal of Integrative Biology 10 (2): 185-198. 2006.
    The National Center for Biomedical Ontology is a consortium that comprises leading informaticians, biologists, clinicians, and ontologists, funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Roadmap, to develop innovative technology and methods that allow scientists to record, manage, and disseminate biomedical information and knowledge in machine-processable form. The goals of the Center are (1) to help unify the divergent and isolated efforts in ontology development by promoting high quality op…Read more
  •  494
    Logic and the Sachverhalt
    The Monist 72 (1): 52-69. 1989.
    Those who conceive logic as a science have generally favoured one of two alternative conceptions as to what the subject-matter of this science ought to be. On the one hand is the nowadays somewhat old-fashioned-seeming view of logic as the science of judgment, or of thinking or reasoning activities in general. On the other hand is the view of logic as a science of ideal meanings, 'thoughts', or 'propositions in themselves'. There is, however, a third alternative conception, which enjoyed only a …Read more
  •  493
    The cornucopia of formal-ontological relations
    with Pierre Grenon
    Dialectica 58 (3). 2004.
    The paper presents a new method for generating typologies of formal-ontological relations. The guiding idea is that formal relations are those sorts of relations which hold between entities which are constituents of distinct ontologies. We provide examples of ontologies (in the spirit of Zemach’s classic “Four Ontologies” of 1970), and show how these can be used to give a rich typology of formal relations in a way which also throws light on the opposition between threeand four-dimensionalism.
  •  490
    The Protein Ontology: A structured representation of protein forms and complexes
    with Darren Natale, Cecilia N. Arighi, Winona C. Barker, Judith A. Blake, Carol J. Bult, Michael Caudy, Harold J. Drabkin, Peter D’Eustachio, Alexei V. Evsikov, Hongzhan Huang, Jules Nchoutmboube, Natalia V. Roberts, Jian Zhang, and Cathy H. Wu
    Nucleic Acids Research 39 (1). 2011.
    The Protein Ontology (PRO) provides a formal, logically-based classification of specific protein classes including structured representations of protein isoforms, variants and modified forms. Initially focused on proteins found in human, mouse and Escherichia coli, PRO now includes representations of protein complexes. The PRO Consortium works in concert with the developers of other biomedical ontologies and protein knowledge bases to provide the ability to formally organize and integrate repres…Read more
  •  489
    The ontology of language is concerned with the relations between uses of language, both overt and covert, and other entities, whether in the world or in the mind of the thinking subject. We attempt a first survey of the sorts of relations which might come into question for such an ontology, including: relations between referring uses of expressions and their objects, relations between the use of a (true) sentence and that in the world which makes it true, relations between mental acts on the one…Read more
  •  486
    Definitions in ontologies
    with Selja Seppälä, Alan Ruttenberg, and Yonatan Schreiber
    Cahiers de Lexicologie 109 (2). 2016.
    Definitions vary according to context of use and target audience. They must be made relevant for each context to fulfill their cognitive and linguistic goals. This involves adapting their logical structure, type of content, and form to each context of use. We examine from these perspectives the case of definitions in ontologies.
  •  486
    Ten Conditions on a Theory of Speech Acts
    Theoretical Linguistics 11 (3): 309-330. 1984.
    It is now generally recognized that figures such as Reid, Peirce, and Reinach formulated theories of speech acts avant la lettre of Austin and Searle, in Reid and Reinach’s cases under the heading ‘theory of social acts’. Here we address the question as to what conditions would have to be satisfied for such theories to count as ‘theories of speech acts’ in the now familiar sense.
  •  485
    John Searle: Od aktów mowy do rzeczywistości społecznej
    Roczniki Filozoficzne 51 (1): 265-292. 2003.
    Polish translation of "John Searle: From Speech Acts to Social Reality", We provide an overview of Searle's contributions to speech act theory and the ontology of social reality, focusing on his theory of constitutive rules. In early versions of this theory, Searle proposed that all such rules have the form 'X counts as Y in context C' formula – as for example when Barack Obama (X) counts as President of the United States (Y) in the context of US political affairs. Crucially, the X and the Y te…Read more
  •  482
    with Werner Ceusters and Rita Temmerman
    Studies in Health Technology and Informatics 116 647-652. 2005.
    The last two decades have seen considerable efforts directed towards making Electronic Health Records interoperable through improvements in medical ontologies, terminologies and coding systems. Unfortunately, these efforts have been hampered by a number of influential ideas inherited from the work of Eugen Wüster, the father of terminology standardization and the founder of ISO TC 37. We here survey Wüster’s ideas – which see terminology work as being focused on the classification of concepts in…Read more
  •  482
    Applying the Realism-Based Ontology-Versioning Method for Tracking Changes in the Basic Formal Ontology
    with Selja Seppälä and Werner Ceusters
    In P. Garbacz & O. Kutz (eds.), Formal Ontology in Information Systems (FOIS 2014), Ios Press. pp. 227-240. 2014.
    Changes in an upper level ontology have obvious conse-quences for the domain ontologies that use it at lower levels. It is therefore crucial to document the changes made between successive versions of ontologies of this kind. We describe and apply a method for tracking, explaining and measuring changes between successive versions of upper level ontologies such as the Basic Formal Ontology (BFO). The proposed change-tracking method extends earlier work on Realism-Based Ontology Versioning (RBOV) …Read more
  •  479
    Controlled vocabularies in bioinformatics: A case study in the Gene Ontology
    with Anand Kumar
    Drug Discovery Today: Biosilico 2 (6): 246-252. 2004.
    The automatic integration of information resources in the life sciences is one of the most challenging goals facing biomedical informatics today. Controlled vocabularies have played an important role in realizing this goal, by making it possible to draw together information from heterogeneous sources secure in the knowledge that the same terms will also represent the same entities on all occasions of use. One of the most impressive achievements in this regard is the Gene Ontology (GO), which is …Read more
  •  475
    An Introduction to Ontology
    In Donna Peuquet, Barry Smith & Berit O. Brogaard (eds.), The Ontology of Fields: Report of the Specialist Meeting held under the auspices of the Varenius Project, National Center For Geographic Information and Analysis. pp. 10-14. 1998.
    Analytical philosophy of the last one hundred years has been heavily influenced by a doctrine to the effect that one can arrive at a correct ontology by paying attention to certain superficial (syntactic) features of first-order predicate logic as conceived by Frege and Russell. More specifically, it is a doctrine to the effect that the key to the ontological structure of reality is captured syntactically in the ‘Fa’ (or, in more sophisticated versions, in the ‘Rab’) of first-order logic, where …Read more
  •  473
    Handbook of metaphysics and ontology (edited book)
    with Hans Burkhardt
    Philosophia Verlag. 1991.
    The Handbook of Metaphysics and Ontology reflects the conviction that the history of metaphysics and current work in metaphysics and ontology can each throw valuable light on the other. Thus it is designed to serve both äs a means of making more widely accessible the results of recent scholarship in the history of philosophy, and also äs a unique work of reference in reladon to the metaphysical themes at the centre of much current debate in analyüc philosophy. The work contains more man 450 shor…Read more
  •  467
    We propose a definition of capability as a class intermediate between function and disposition as the latter are defined in Basic Formal Ontology (BFO). A disposition inheres in a material entity and is realized in a certain kind of process. An example is the disposition of a glass to break when struck, which is realized when it shatters. A function is a disposition which is (simply put) the rationale for the existence of its bearer. To say for example that a water pump has the function to pump …Read more
  •  464
    Mental and behavioral disorders represent a significant portion of the public health burden in all countries. The human cost of these disorders is immense, yet treatment options for sufferers are currently limited, with many patients failing to respond sufficiently to available interventions and drugs. High quality ontologies facilitate data aggregation and comparison across different disciplines, and may therefore speed up the translation of primary research into novel therapeutics. Realism-based…Read more