• 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
  •  397
    Naive physics
    Philosophical Psychology 7 (2). 1994.
    The project of a 'naive physics' has been the subject of attention in recent years above all in the artificial intelligence field, in connection with work on common-sense reasoning, perceptual representation and robotics. The idea of a theory of the common-sense world is however much older than this, having its roots not least in the work of phenomenologists and Gestalt psychologists such as K hler, Husserl, Schapp and Gibson. This paper seeks to show how contemporary naive physicists can profit…Read more
  •  397
    Ontological realism: A methodology for coordinated evolution of scientific ontologies
    with Werner Ceusters
    Applied ontology 5 (3): 139-188. 2010.
    Since 2002 we have been testing and refining a methodology for ontology development that is now being used by multiple groups of researchers in different life science domains. Gary Merrill, in a recent paper in this journal, describes some of the reasons why this methodology has been found attractive by researchers in the biological and biomedical sciences. At the same time he assails the methodology on philosophical grounds, focusing specifically on our recommendation that ontologies developed fo…Read more
  •  396
    Truthmakers, Truthbearers and the Objectivity of Truth
    with Artur Rojszczak
    In Jaako Hintikka (ed.), Philosophy and Logic: In Search of the Polish Tradition, Kluwer. pp. 229-268. 2003.
    The aim of this paper is to show that the account of objective truth taken for granted by logicians at least since the publication in 1933 of Tarski’s “The Concept of Truth in Formalized Languages” arose out of a tradition of philosophical thinking initiated by Bolzano and Brentano. The paper shows more specifically that certain investigations of states of affairs and other objectual correlates of judging acts, investigations carried out by Austrian and Polish philosophers around the turn of the…Read more
  •  395
    Amongst the entities making up social reality, are there necessary relations whose necessity is not a mere reflection of the logical connections between corresponding concepts? We distinguish three main groups of answers to this question, associated with Hume and Adolf Reinach at opposite extremes, and with Searle who occupies a position somewhere in the middle. We first set forth Reinach’s views on what he calls ‘material necessities’ in the realm of social entities. We then attempt to show tha…Read more
  •  395
    The Ontology for Biomedical Investigations
    with Anita Bandrowski, Ryan Brinkman, Mathias Brochhausen, Matthew H. Brush, Bill Bug, Marcus C. Chibucos, Kevin Clancy, Mélanie Courtot, Dirk Derom, Michel Dumontier, Liju Fan, Jennifer Fostel, Gilberto Fragoso, Frank Gibson, Alejandra Gonzalez-Beltran, Melissa A. Haendel, Yongqun He, Mervi Heiskanen, Tina Hernandez-Boussard, Mark Jensen, Yu Lin, Allyson L. Lister, Phillip Lord, James Malone, Elisabetta Manduchi, Monnie McGee, Norman Morrison, James A. Overton, Helen Parkinson, Bjoern Peters, Philippe Rocca-Serra, Alan Ruttenberg, Susanna-Assunta Sansone, Richard H. Scheuermann, Daniel Schober, Larisa N. Soldatova, Christian J. Stoeckert, Chris F. Taylor, Carlo Torniai, Jessica A. Turner, Randi Vita, Patricia L. Whetzel, and Jie Zheng
    PLoS ONE 11 (4). 2016.
    The Ontology for Biomedical Investigations (OBI) is an ontology that provides terms with precisely defined meanings to describe all aspects of how investigations in the biological and medical domains are conducted. OBI re-uses ontologies that provide a representation of biomedical knowledge from the Open Biological and Biomedical Ontologies (OBO) project and adds the ability to describe how this knowledge was derived. We here describe the state of OBI and several applications that are using it, …Read more
  •  394
    In their paper “Sixteen Days” Barry Smith and Berit Brogaard try to answer the question: when does a human being begin to exist? In this paper we will address some methodological issues connected with this exercise in ontology. We shall begin by sketching the argument of “Sixteen Days”. We shall then attempt to characterize what is special about the ontological realism of “Sixteen Days” as contrasted to the linguistic constructivism which represents the more dominant current in contemporary anal…Read more
  •  393
    BFO-based ontology enhancement to promote interoperability in BIM
    with Justine Flore Tchouanguem, Mohamed Hedi Karray, Bernard Kamsu Foguem, Camille Magniont, and F. Henry Abanda
    Applied ontology 16 (4). 2021.
    Building Information Modelling (BIM) is a process for managing construction project information in such a way as to provide a basis for enhanced decision-making and for collaboration in a construction supply chain. One impediment to the uptake of BIM is the limited interoperability of different BIM systems. To overcome this problem, a set of Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) has been proposed as a standard for the construction industry. Building on IFC, the ifcOWL ontology was developed in order…Read more
  •  390
    In Asbjørn Steglich-Petersen (ed.), Metaphysics: Five Questions, Automatic Press. pp. 143-158. 2010.
    Attempts to trace a unifying thread of ontological realism extending through 1. my early writings on Frege, Brentano, Husserl, Wittgenstein, Ingarden and (with Kevin Mulligan and Peter Simons) on truthmakers; 2. work on formal theories of the common-sense world, and on mereotopology, fiat objects, geographical categories, and environments (with David Mark, Roberto Casati, Achille Varzi), to 3. current work on applied ontology in biology and medicine, and on the theory of document acts and on the…Read more
  •  390
    Description Logics are nowadays widely accepted as formalisms which provide reasoning facilities which allow us to discover inconsistencies in ontologies in an automatic fashion. Where ontologies are developed in modular fashion, they allow changes in one module to propogated through the system of ontologies automatically in a way which helps to maintain consistency and stability. For this feature to be utilized effectively, however, requires that domain ontologies be represented in a normalized…Read more
  •  389
    Topological foundations of cognitive science
    In Carola Eschenbach, Christopher Habel & Barry Smith (eds.), Topological Foundations of Cognitive Science, Graduiertenkolleg Kognitionswissenschaft. pp. 3-22. 1994.
    This is a revised version of the introductory essay in C. Eschenbach, C. Habel and B. Smith (eds.), Topological Foundations of Cognitive Science, Hamburg: Graduiertenkolleg Kognitionswissenschaft, 1994, the text of a talk delivered at the First International Summer Institute in Cognitive Science in Buffalo in July 1994
  •  387
    Per Husserl, come per Bolzano, la logica e una dottrina della sdenza. Husserl prende pero piu sul serio l'idea che le teorie scientifiche siano costituite dagli atti mentali di soggetti conoscenti. Quella che segue e un' esposizione della concezione husserliana della logica e della scienza, fondata appunto sugli atti; essa approdera a una delineazione dell'idea husserliana di «ontologia formale».
  •  385
    Philosophie, Politik und Wissenschaftliche Weltauffassung
    Grazer Philosophische Studien 58 (1): 1-22. 2000.
    Die Entwicklung der Philosophie in Österreich unterscheidet sich in markanter Weise von der Hauptlinie der philosophischen Entwicklung in Deutschland. Dabei fällt bei der österreichischen Philosophie vor allem die konsequente Orientierung an den Wissenschaften auf. In der philosophiegeschichtlichen Forschung sind für diese Besonderheit der österreichischen Philosophie z. B. von Otto Neurath, Rudolf Haller, Friedrich Stadier und J.C. Nyiri verschiedene Erklärungen vorgeschlagen worden. In diesen …Read more
  •  381
    A unified theory of truth and reference
    with Berit Brogaard
    Logique Et Analyse 43 (169-170). 2000.
    The truthmaker theory rests on the thesis that the link between a true judgment and that in the world to which it corresponds is not a one-to-one but rather a one-to-many relation. An analogous thesis in relation to the link between a singular term and that in the world to which it refers is already widely accepted. This is the thesis to the effect that singular reference is marked by vagueness of a sort that is best understood in supervaluationist terms. In what follows we show that the superva…Read more
  •  379
    Real Estate: Foundations of the Ontology of Property
    In Heiner Stuckenschmidt, Erik Stubjkaer & Christoph Schlieder (eds.), The Ontology and Modelling of Real Estate Transactions, Ashgate. pp. 51-67. 2003.
    Suppose you own a garden-variety object such as a hat or a shirt. Your property right then follows the ageold saw according to which possession is nine-tenths of the law. That is, your possession of a shirt constitutes a strong presumption in favor of your ownership of the shirt. In the case of land, however, this is not the case. Here possession is not only not a strong presumption in favor of ownership; it is not even clear what possession is. Possessing a thing like a hat or a shirt is a rath…Read more
  •  378
    Why AI will never rule the world (interview)
    with Luke Dormehl and Jobst Landgrebe
    Digital Trends. 2022.
    Call it the Skynet hypothesis, Artificial General Intelligence, or the advent of the Singularity — for years, AI experts and non-experts alike have fretted (and, for a small group, celebrated) the idea that artificial intelligence may one day become smarter than humans. According to the theory, advances in AI — specifically of the machine learning type that’s able to take on new information and rewrite its code accordingly — will eventually catch up with the wetware of the biological brain. In t…Read more
  •  373
    Two Idealisms: Lask and Husserl
    with Karl Schuhmann
    Kant Studien 84 (4): 448-466. 1993.
    Neo-Kantianism is common conceived as a philosophy ‘from above’, excelling in speculative constructions – as opposed to the attitude of patient description which is exemplified by the phenomenological turn ‘to the things themselves’. When we study the work of Emil Lask in its relation to that of Husserl and the phenomenologists, however, and when we examine the influences moving in both directions, then we discover that this idea of a radical opposition is misconceived. Lask himself was influenc…Read more
  •  373
    Granular Spatio-Temporal Ontologies
    In AAAI Symposium: Foundations and Applications of Spatio-Temporal Reasoning (FASTR), . pp. 12-17. 2003.
    We propose an ontological theory that is powerful enough to describe both complex spatio-temporal processes (occurrents) and the enduring entities (continuants) that participate therein. The theory is divided into two major categories of sub-theories: (sub-) theories of type SPAN and (sub-)theories of type SNAP. These theories represent two complementary perspectives on reality and result in distinct though compatible systems of categories. In SNAP we have enduring entities such as substances,…Read more
  •  371
    A Theory of Granular Partitions
    In M. Duckham, M. F. Goodchild & M. F. Worboys (eds.), Foundations of Geographic Information Science, Taylor & Francis. pp. 117-151. 2003.
    We have a variety of different ways of dividing up, classifying, mapping, sorting and listing the objects in reality. The theory of granular partitions presented here seeks to provide a general and unified basis for understanding such phenomena in formal terms that is more realistic than existing alternatives. Our theory has two orthogonal parts: the first is a theory of classification; it provides an account of partitions as cells and subcells; the second is a theory of reference or intentional…Read more
  •  370
    The Industrial Ontologies Foundry proof-of-concept project
    with Evan Wallace, Dimitris Kiritsis, and Chris Will
    In Ilkyeong Moon, Gyu M. Lee, Jinwoo Park, Dimitris Kiritsis & Gregor von Cieminski (eds.), Advances in Production Management Systems. Smart Manufacturing for Industry 4.0, Ifip. pp. 402-409. 2018.
    The current industrial revolution is said to be driven by the digitization that exploits connected information across all aspects of manufacturing. Standards have been recognized as an important enabler. Ontology-based information standard may provide benefits not offered by current information standards. Although there have been ontologies developed in the industrial manufacturing domain, they have been fragmented and inconsistent, and little has received a standard status. With successes in de…Read more
  •  370
    Ontology is currently perceived as the solution of first resort for all problems related to biomedical terminology, and the use of description logics is seen as a minimal requirement on adequate ontology-based systems. Contrary to common conceptions, however, description logics alone are not able to prevent incorrect representations; this is because they do not come with a theory indicating what is computed by using them, just as classical arithmetic does not tell us anything about the entities …Read more
  •  369
    Against idiosyncrasy in ontology development
    In B. Bennett & C. Fellbaum (eds.), Formal Ontology in Information Systems (FOIS), Ios Press. pp. 15-26. 2006.
    The world of ontology development is full of mysteries. Recently, ISO Standard 15926 (“Lifecycle Integration of Process Plant Data Including Oil and Gas Production Facilities”), a data model initially designed to support the integration and handover of large engineering artefacts, has been proposed by its principal custodian for general use as an upper level ontology. As we shall discover, ISO 15926 is, when examined in light of this proposal, marked by a series of quite astonishing defects, whi…Read more
  •  367
    The 2006 Upper Ontology Summit Joint Communiqué
    with Leo Obrst, Patrick Cassidy, Steve Ray, Dagobert Soergel, Matthew West, and Peter Yim
    Applied ontology 1 (2): 203-211. 2006.
    On March 14-15, 2006, at the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Gaithersburg, MD there took place the first Upper Ontology Summit (UOS). This was a convening of custodians of several prominent upper ontologies, key technology participants, and interested other parties, with the purpose of finding a means to relate the different ontologies to each other. The result is reflected in a joint communiqué, directed to the larger ontology community and the general public, and ex…Read more
  •  367
    Ontology and the Future of Dental Research Informatics.
    with Louis J. Goldberg, Alan Ruttenberg, and Michael Glick
    Journal of the American Dental Association 141 (10): 1173-75. 2010.
    How do we find what is clinically significant in the swarms of data being generated by today’s diagnostic technologies? As electronic records become ever more prevalent – and digital imaging and genomic, proteomic, salivaomics, metabalomics, pharmacogenomics, phenomics and transcriptomics techniques become commonplace – fdifferent clinical and biological disciplines are facing up to the need to put their data houses in order to avoid the consequences of an uncontrolled explosion of different way…Read more
  •  366
    In this paper we propose a formal theory of partitions (ways of dividing up or sorting or mapping reality) and we show how the theory can be applied in the geospatial domain. We characterize partitions at two levels: as systems of cells (theory A), and in terms of their projective relation to reality (theory B). We lay down conditions of well-formedness for partitions and we define what it means for partitions to project truly onto reality. We continue by classifying well-formed partitions along…Read more
  •  364
    In the visual representation of ontologies, in particular of part-whole relationships, it is customary to use graph theory as the representational background. We claim here that the standard graph-based approach has a number of limitations, and we propose instead a new representation of part-whole structures for ontologies, and describe the results of experiments designed to show the effectiveness of this new proposal especially as concerns reduction of visual complexity. The proposal is develop…Read more
  •  363
    I shall attempt in what follows to show how mereology, taken together with certain topological notions, can yield the basis for future investigations in formal ontology. I shall attempt to show also how the mereological framework here advanced can allow the direct and natural formulation of a series of theses – for example pertaining to the concept of boundary – which can be formulated only indirectly (if at all) in set-theoretic terms.
  •  362
    Publications by Barry Smith
    Cosmos + Taxis 4 (4): 67-104. 2017.
  •  359
    Strengths and Limitations of Formal Ontologies in the Biomedical Domain
    Electronic Journal of Communication, Information and Innovation in Health 3 (1): 31-45. 2009.
    We propose a typology of representational artifacts for health care and life sciences domains and associate this typology with different kinds of formal ontology and logic, drawing conclusions as to the strengths and limitations for ontology in a description logics framework. The four types of domain representation we consider are: (i) lexico-semantic representation, (ii) representation of types of entities, (iii) representations of background knowledge, and (iv) representation of individuals. W…Read more
  •  358
    Against Idealism: Johannes Daubert vs. Husserl's Ideas I
    with Karl Schuhmann
    Review of Metaphysics 38 (4): 763-793. 1985.
    In manuscripts of 1930-1 Johannes Daubert, principal member of the Munich board of realist phenomenologists, put forward a series of detailed criticisms of the idealism of Husserl’s Ideas I. The paper provides a sketch of these criticisms and of Daubert’s own alternative conceptions of consciousness and reality, as also of Daubert’s views on perception, similar, in many respects, to those of J. J. Gibson.
  •  357
    Quantum mereotopology
    with Berit O. Brogaard
    Annals of Mathematics and Artificial Intelligence 36 (1): 153-175. 2002.
    Mereotopology faces problems when its methods are extended to deal with time and change. We offer a new solution to these problems, based on a theory of partitions of reality which allows us to simulate (and also to generalize) aspects of set theory within a mereotopological framework. This theory is extended to a theory of coarse- and fine-grained histories (or finite sequences of partitions evolving over time), drawing on machinery developed within the framework of the so-called ‘consistent hist…Read more