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[ontolog-forum] Paragraphs & Purple Numbers [was - Re: What do ontologi

To: cassidy@xxxxxxxxx, "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Peter Yim <peter.yim@xxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 04 Jun 2004 09:56:19 -0700
Message-id: <40C0A9B3.1060706@xxxxxxxx>
Great response, Pat.    (01)

Once again, may I request/suggest that you (and ALL posters') help by 
inserting an extra (blank) line in between paragraphs. With that, and 
purple numbers, it will enable future access and retrieval to a 
paragraph level granularity.    (02)

Thanks in anticipation.    (03)

-ppy    (04)

P.S. This may not mean much now. We are fashioning this collaborative 
work environment  along the line of thinking of Doug Engelbart's DKR 
(dynamic knowledge repository). When our knowledge access structure 
are in better shape (hopefully sometime in the future), this will mean 
a lot more.  Tx.  -ppy
--    (05)

Patrick Cassidy wrote Fri, 04 Jun 2004 12:33:16 -0400:    (06)

> I agree with Adam that this question seems to be an odd topic for a 
> workshop.
> For me the practical answer is very simple, and to go beyond that
> doesn't seem to have much purpose.  It may be true that a lot
> of people who are just starting to create ontologies don't
> really grasp how one specifies conceptual content using
> axioms to define predicates -- but that would be a topic
> for a tutorial, not a workshop.    (07)

>    It is hard to avoid the question completely because in discussions
> of knowledge representation generally and ontology in particular,
> the term "meaning" is used a lot, expected to be interpreted in
> its intuitive sense, but it is natural for readers to wonder
> if there is a specific definition.    (08)

>    When I say "meaning" I mean this: a text carries information
> that allows an intelligent reader (human or machine) to make
> alternative **choices** based on the structure of text -- words,
> images, and and format.  The document content symbolizes conceptual
> structures in the mind of the agent that created the text.  The more
> information a text has, the more choices are enabled, and the more
> (quantitative) meaning the text has. The information content depends
> on the intention of the agent constructing the text, since it might not
> be interpretable by any other agent (if, e.g., encoded in  a private
> code). The "meaning" itself is ***the set of conceptual structures in the
> mind of the creating agent that are symbolized by
> the text and its format***.  When the agent reading the text
> determines that the symbols refer to a specific set of conceptual
> structures, and these are the same as the conceptual structures
> in the mind of the creating agent, the reading agent has
> correctly interpreted the "meaning".  An agent can determine
> the meaning of some parts of a text and not others.
> Determining the meaning (conceptual structures) of any part
> of the text enables the reading agent to make choices based on
> that information.   An ontology provides a formal set of symbols
> for conceptual structures which, if used by both the
> agent creating a text and the agent reading a text, allows
> the reading agent to reproduce the conceptual structures
> which were in the mind of the creating agent and were
> encoded in those symbols.  The predicates get meaning by their
> definitional implications using axioms, which provide symbols
> whose relation to fundamental conceptual structures is widely
> understood.    (09)

>    To contrast this, we know that file transfer protocols can
> take a file on one computer and create a copy on another computer.
> When the protocol creates an exact copy and the action of the
> receiving computer does not depend on any element of content
> of the file, the computer does not use any element of
> "meaning" encoded in the file.    (010)

>     But as soon as the computer reading a file can make some
> **choice of actions** depending on the content of the file,
> it has interpreted the file in some way and can be said to
> have used some element of "meaning" in the file.  This can
> be very trivial, as when a transfer protocol converts
> cr-lf line ends to lf or vice-versa.  In such a case,
> the computer has interpreted one part of the format, which
> is (or could be) part of the meaning of a file.  So there
> is a continuum of meaning, from the very trivial to the
> very complex.    (011)

>    At a slightly more complex level, a computer might receive
> a file labeled "invoice" and because of that label, search for
> the fields labeled "amount due" and "pay to", and then
> print a check in the amount due to the payee named.
> The computer has then interpreted some elements of
> meaning encoded in the text.  If the computer also scans the
> line item fields in the invoice to determine whether
> the items received are those the invoice says were
> sent, it is interpreting other elements of meaning in
> the invoice.    (012)

>    This is a very practical use of the term -- the meaning of a
> text is the set of conceptual structures that the creating agent
> intends it to symbolize, provided that the agent has encoded that
> meaning (the conceptual structures) correctly.    (013)

>     I don't think we need a conference to debate these issues.
> If it gets much more complicated than the above, then, as Adam
> says, the discussion would get too philosophical and distract
> from the practical tasks.
>     Pat
> ======================================================    (014)

> Adam Pease wrote Thu, 03 Jun 2004 16:27:31 -0700:
>> Folks,
>>   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 :-)
>> Adam    (015)

>> At 07:21 PM 6/3/2004 -0400, Internet Business Logic wrote:    (016)

>>> Hi All --
>>> In case you have not already seen it, there is a very interesting 
>>> call for workshop papers [1].
>>> The workshop theme begins:    (017)

>>> "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. ...."    (018)

>>> This is a question that is also raised at a nuts-and-bolts level in 
>>> [2], where a technical, implemented answer is attempted.    (019)

>>> 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    (020)

>>> [1] http://fois2004.di.unito.it/workshops.html    (021)

>>> [2] "Semantic Web Presentation" at www.reengineeringllc.com
>>> --     (022)

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