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Re: [ontolog-forum] What do ontologies have to do with meaning?

To: "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Adam Pease <adampease@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 03 Jun 2004 16:27:31 -0700
Message-id: <>
   I'm kind of surprised at the workshop text.  This is an issue that has 
been debated at length for decades in computer science, and over a century 
if one expands to semiotics.  Some researchers like Rodney Brooks take a 
strong situatedness view that symbols must be ultimately grounded in the 
physical world to have meaning.  Others take a "brain in a vat" view that 
meaning, and by extension, intelligence, need not be situated.  Ultimately 
I view this as an interesting but unresolvable philosophical debate, 
without much impact on practical ontology building, and on which I wonder 
whether much additional light might be shed.  Building systems, whether 
situated or not, is unlikely to address this issue.  In fact, I'd venture 
that this is the sort of topic which can have a substantial negative impact 
by distracting from the practical tasks of building and using ontologies.
   I'll go back to my grumpy guy cave now :-)    (01)

Adam    (02)

At 07:21 PM 6/3/2004 -0400, Internet Business Logic wrote:
>Hi All --
>In case you have not already seen it, there is a very interesting call for 
>workshop papers [1].
>The workshop theme begins:
>"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. ...."
>This is a question that is also raised at a nuts-and-bolts level in [2], 
>where a technical, implemented answer is attempted.
>Any thoughts or pointers about [1] and/or [2] ?    Peter -- is this a 
>suitable topic for an extended discussion on this forum?
>                                                 Thanks in advance,  -- Adrian
>[1] http://fois2004.di.unito.it/workshops.html
>[2] "Semantic Web Presentation" at www.reengineeringllc.com
>Internet Business Logic  --  online at www.reengineeringllc.com
>Reengineering LLC,  PO Box 1412,  Bristol,  CT 06011-1412,  USA
>Phone 860 583 9677     Mobile 860 830 2085     Fax 860 314 1029
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