General Formal Ontology (GFO)
1.2 General Organization of ISFO
There is currently a debate regarding the
organization of a foundational ontology.
Some argue that it should be a single, consistent structure, while others
argue that a foundational ontology should be a partial ordering of theories,
some of which may be insconsistent with theories not situated on the
same partial ordering path (42).
Foundational ontologies may differ with respect to
their basic categories and relations (i.e., their vocabulary), with respect
set of axioms formulated about their vocabulary or with respect to both
the basic vocabulary and the axioms. If two ontologies have the same
basic categories and relations, then the question arises which
axioms should be included in the axiomatization.
We adopt a restricted version of the partial
ordering approach. We want to use only few
categorial systems (vocabularies), but
we allow for a multitude of different axiomatizations.
The investigation of a system
of axioms with respect to its possible consistent extensions and of
other meta-logical properties is an interesting
research topic of its own. It is our opinion that different views of
the world can be sustained, though over time we expect that
the number will be reduced to a few such views, mainly based on
According to our pluralistic approach ISFO exhibits an integrated and
evolutionary system of foundational ontologies. These ontologies
are compared and interrelated using methods of translation
and interpretation. Furthermore, there should be sufficient flexibility
to allow enough room for modifications
and changes, by including new ontologies, and cancelling old (or parts of
ISFO is intended to be organized into three levels such that
any of its foundational
ontologies has an abstract top level (ATO),
an abstract core level (ACO), and a basic
We assume that every ACO contains the basic items of
categories and individuals, and the relations
Concerning the abstract top level, we see mainly two ontologies associated
with it: set theory and mathematical category theory.