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

To: Mike Brenner <mikeb@xxxxxxxxx>
Cc: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Internet Business Logic <ibl@xxxxxxxx>
Date: Sat, 05 Jun 2004 12:15:03 -0400
Message-id: <40C1F187.2030709@xxxxxxxx>
Mike -

You wrote...

...I would like a "true meaning", by which I mean
a clustering of information showing how the literal meaning 
maps to the multiple contexts. That mapping 
includes constraints, dependencies, and effects 
from partially defined and partially related chains of symbols.

...I don't see meaning as related to conceptual forms in
the mind of the reader, but rather to physical forms which
are the context in which the communication takes place.

Your first para above sounds right on, but in the second para you are perhaps ruling out something crucial -- something that could be ruled in without affecting para one.

There's a practical, nuts-and-bolts problem with "I don't see meaning as related to conceptual forms in the mind of the reader".  Consider a situation in which a manufacturer's machine does business with a machine belonging to a retailer.  The two machines could propose to arrive at all kinds of intricate deals with each other.  

If the manufacturer's and retailer's business people are to understand, and approve or block such deals, there has to be a reliable way of placing valid conceptual forms in the minds of those people.  Having them read RDF, or having a technical person read RDF for them, simply will not do. In contexts other than manufacturing, lives -- rather than dollars -- could be at risk.

In the real world, one widely used way of placing valid conceptual forms in peoples' minds is the English language.

The "Semantic Web Presentation" at www.reengineeringllc.com explores a tight coupling of reasonably human-friendly English to technical ontology notations, and proposes a solution in an implemented system.    

There may be better solutions, but least the proposed one can serve as a straw man.  

				Cheers,  -- Adrian

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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