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

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Mike Brenner <mikeb@xxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sat, 05 Jun 2004 15:35:13 -0400
Message-id: <40C22071.66930036@xxxxxxxxx>
Hi Adam,    (01)

I am willing to accept that my question addresses linguistics,
and I hope you will help me out by telling me what word
the ontology community would use instead of my word
"literal meaning".    (02)

By "literal meaning" I mean formal, precise, unambiguous, complete
definitions of the meaning of phrases/words. This is in contrast to
their "true meaning" which involves mapping those literal meaning
to multiple, partial contexts where the defintions are so 
imprecise as to be only approximately correct, somewhat ambiguous,
and definitely incomplete.    (03)

I suspect that I don't know the difference between the semantic
meaning of phrases in linguistics and the semantic meaning
of phrases in ontology.    (04)

(My semantics mostly comes from Wittgenstein.)    (05)

Since I want to clearly make this distinction in a way that
is most understandable to the people working on Ontology
tools, I would appreciate any help in correcting my vocabulary
to normalize it to the ontology used by the ontology community.    (06)

Thanks,    (07)

Mike    (08)

Adam Pease wrote:
>    I think you may be addressing linguistics, rather than ontology.  The
> notions of "literal" meaning only has significance in the interpretation of
> linguistic objects.  Ontology is concerned with formal definition of
> precise and unambiguous terms.  One way to address this issue is to map a
> large lexicon to a formal ontology.  Words with the same meaning are
> clustered together.  Polysemous words can appear in more than one
> cluster.  That's what we've done in mapping the WordNet lexicon to the SUMO
> ontology.  <http://www.ontologyportal.org>    (09)

mike brenner wrote:    (010)

> >I would like to become familiar with ontology tools
> >capable of expressing more than simple "literal" meaning.
> >
> >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.
> >
> >Thus, 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.
> >
> >Mike Brenner    (011)

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