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FOFIS Report Summary

Project ID: 6550
Funded under: FP6-MOBILITY
Country: Italy

Final Activity Report Summary - FOFIS (Formal Ontological Foundations for Information Systems)

The aim of the project was to construct a formal ontology of technical artefacts to be applicable in knowledge representation research. The project output consisted of a general semi-formal theory of artefacts and four more specialised formal subtheories.

The general framework defined artefacts as objects with four dimensions, namely teleological, intentional, epistemic and operative. The teleological dimension defined the purposes for which artefacts were designed. The intentional dimension covered the fact that any technical artefact was a result of manufacturing based on a kind of blueprint or plan. Moreover, the epistemic dimension accounted for the fact that any such manufacturing process was guided by scientific understanding of a given domain. On the other hand, the operative dimension characterised a technical artefact as an object whose functionalities were obtainable only because of the environmental conditions to be guaranteed by its users. This framework turned out to be spacious enough to express some relevant features of information objects, provided that the former were construed as in the theory of document genres.

The four specific results project results consisted of:
1. a first-order formal theory of design;
2. a formal model for functional decomposition;
3. a taxonomy of artefact functions based on a foundational ontology; and
4. an ontology of document genres.


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