Giancarlo Guizzardi


Copacabana A

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In recent years, there has been a growing interest in the application of Foundational Ontologies, i.e., formal ontological theories in the philosophical sense, for providing real-world semantics for business modeling languages, as well as theoretically sound foundations and methodological guidelines for evaluating and improving the individual models produced using these languages. The lack of properly developed ontological foundations has an empirically demonstrated negative impact for business modeling and in a way that is perceived by practitioners. In this talk, I will discuss the formal notion of ontological commitment and its relation to semantics, and I will argue for the inevitability of such a commitment for any language that has a real-world semantics (and not merely a formal semantics). Moreover, I will discuss a particular ontology-driven conceptual modeling approach that has been employed over the years to address recurrent problems in the literature of business modeling. These problems range from issues dealing with fundamental modeling aspects (e.g., objects, events and their relations, dispositions, static and dynamic taxonomic structures, role-playing, intrinsic and relational properties, mereological structures) to complex aspects of representing social reality (e.g., goals, services, capabilities, commitments, liabilities, organizational structures and social roles). Finally, I would like to discuss how the development of a well-founded ontological theory about these categories and their ties opens up a number of possibilities for addressing practical issues in business modeling including for: the evaluation, (re) design and integration of business modeling languages; the ontologically consistent representation of events in structural models (information models); the principled integration between structural and dynamic viewpoints in business process modeling.