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Workshop on the Potential of Cognitive Semantics for Ontologies

From: Florian Probst <f.probst@uni-muenster.de>
Date: Mon, 16 Aug 2004 17:37:21 +0200
Message-ID: <4120D4B1.1090603@uni-muenster.de>
To: public-sws-ig@w3.org

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Workshop on the Potential of Cognitive Semantics for Ontologies

Torino, Italy, November 3rd, 2004


Held in conjunction with FOIS 2004,
the International Conference on Formal Ontologies in Information Systems

Featured Speakers

a. Peter Gärdenfors, Lund University Cognitive Science,
b. Joseph Goguen, University of California at San Diego, Computer
Science and Engineering, http://www.cs.ucsd.edu/users/goguen/

Workshop Theme

What do ontologies, as used in the semantic web and elsewhere, have to
do with meaning? In particular, where do their predicates get their
meanings? Semantics, no matter what formalisms are applied to it, is
ultimately a cognitive phenomenon: it refers to the meaning that symbols
have for human beings. It is determined by individual and cultural
factors, involving a human mind aware of the conventions of a language
community. Yet, the mental interpretation processes are not accessible
and the conventions of information communities are rarely meaningful to
agents in other communities. Ontology engineers therefore face the
problem of capturing enough of the cognitive as well as the social
contexts of information. However, information system ontologies
typically consist of networks or hierarchies of concepts to which
symbols can refer. Their axiomatizations are either self-referential or
point to more abstract, rather than more meaningful symbols. So, how do
the ontologies become meaningful?

Cognitive semantics, in its various flavors, is asking similar questions
for natural languages and symbol systems in general. It studies, among
other issues, what the embodied nature of language can tell us about how
we construct meanings, or what its socially situated nature says about
the constraints on language use. Cognitive scientists have developed
innovative and powerful notions that are potentially useful for
ontologies. Among them are:

 a. image schemas
 b. prototypes and radial categories
 c. basic level concepts
 d. primes and universals
 e. language games
 f. metaphors and metonymies
 g. idealized cognitive models
 h. mental spaces and conceptual blendings
 i. conceptual spaces
 j. frame semantics
 k. affordances
 l. conceptual similarity measures.

So far, there is only sparse work on information system ontologies that
takes any of these notions seriously, and even less that formalizes and
applies them fruitfully. This workshop will take stock of such
approaches and establish a research agenda for ontology design inspired
and informed by cognitive semantics. It will bring together researchers
in information system or natural language semantics with a formal or
cognitive background or both.

Position Papers

Anybody with an interest in the questions raised above is invited to
submit a position paper. Participation at the workshop is open to all
position paper authors who also register for the FOIS conference.
Extended abstracts of 800 - 1500 words should be sent by Email to
kuhn@uni-muenster.de on or before August 31, 2004. They will be made
available on the workshop web site, unless their authors instruct us
otherwise. Authors will be notified by September 15, 2004 whether their
position papers have been selected for presentation during the workshop.
Authors are invited to submit revised versions of their position papers
to a post-workshop review process, leading to a book or journal special
issue on research directions to make ontologies more meaningful.


Werner Kuhn, Martin Raubal, Florian Probst, Krzysztof Janowicz
Muenster Semantic Interoperability Lab (MUSIL)
Institute for Geoinformatics, University of Muenster, Germany

Further information

An introduction to the workshop topic with recommendations for further
reading is posted at
http://musil.uni-muenster.de/documents/WhyCogLingv1.pdf. It may be
updated occasionally.

All workshop communication will be by Email and through the workshop web
site at

Florian Probst
Institute for Geoinformatics (ifgi)
fon_________+251 83-30058
fax_________+251 83-39763
Received on Monday, 16 August 2004 15:37:23 UTC

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