Developing an Ontological Sandbox:

Investigating Multi-Level Modelling’s Possible Metaphysical Structures

One of the central concerns of the multi-level modelling (MLM) community is the hierarchy of classifications that appear in conceptual models; what these are, how they are linked and how they should be organised into levels and modelled. Though there has been significant work done in this area, we believe that it could be enhanced by introducing a systematic way to investigate the ontological nature and requirements that underlie the frameworks and tools proposed by the community to support MLM (such as Orthogonal Classification Architecture and Melanee). In this paper, we introduce a key component for the investigation and understanding of the ontological requirements, an ontological sandbox. This is a conceptual framework for investigating and comparing multiple variations of possible ontologies – without having to commit to any of them – isolated from a full commitment to any foundational ontology. We discuss the sandbox framework as well as walking through an example of how it can be used to investigate a simple ontology. The example, despite its simplicity, illustrates how the constructional approach can help to expose and explain the metaphysical structures used in ontologies, and so reveal the underlying nature of MLM levelling.


MULTI 2017, 4th International Workshop on Multi-Level Modelling, colocated with MODELS 2017, 19 September 2017, Austin, Texas


Chris Partridge (BORO Solutions, University of Westminster)
Sergio de Cesare (University of Westminster)
Andrew Mitchell (BORO Solutions)
Frederik Gailly (Ghent University, Belgium)
Mesbah A. Khan (Tullow Oil)