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Re: [ontolog-forum] Looking forward at the past

To: "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Schiffel, Jeffrey A" <jeffrey.a.schiffel@xxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 6 Oct 2008 12:55:15 -0500
Message-id: <ECF42862FCA16D41BFA98F8C45F0955405723AFA@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>

> From: Mike Bennett
> Is the approach you describe related to the system of "Norms and
Affordances" described by > James Backhouse of the London School of
Economics? He and some colleagues have built a
> semantics system called "NORMA" which, to my initial casual reading of
it, has a similar
> approach to what you describe. It has been used to analyse encryption
policies and the 
> like. See e.g. "Searching for Meaning - Performatives and Obligations
in Public Key 
> Infrastructures" (Tseng and Backhouse 2000), in which I now notice
there are also 
> references to your work. So I guess you are familiar with the NORMA
work?    (01)

References to norms, affordances, and other elements of organizational
semiotics can be a bit hard to dig out, since many are published in
conference proceedings that may not be widely available. Here are a few
that are:    (02)

Gazendam, H. W. M., & Liu, K. (2004). The Evolution of Organisational
Semiotics. In J. Filipe, & Liu, (Ed.), 7th International Workshop on
Organisational Semiotics, Setubal, Portugal, July 19-20: Proceedings.
(pp. 1-11).    (03)

Gazendam, H. (2004, March 23). Organizational semiotics: A state of the
art report [Electronic Version]. SemiotiX, 1. Available from
http://www.semioticon.com/semiotix.    (04)

Salter, A. (2001). Semantic modelling and a semantic normal form.
(School of Computing Technical Report SOCTR/01/01): Staffordshire
University.    (05)

Stamper, R., Liu, K., Hafkamp, M., & Ades, Y. (2000). Understanding the
roles of signs and norms in organizations -- A semiotic approach to
information systems design. Behavior & Information Technology, 19(1),
15-27.    (06)

> I see that related work also references Gibson on affordances (in D.
> Norman, "Affordances and
> I looked at Backhouse's work a while ago, but I could not see how to
relate it to other
> work in AI and logic, such as the works often referenced in here. The
approach is very
> different, so that for example I could not see how you would take a
model in NORMA and
> provide an OWL- or frames-based ontology containing the same material.
OWL- and frames-
> based ontologies define what "is" (based on a decision by the modeller
as to what is 
> appropriate), whereas the affordances approach seems to treat
everything as arising 
> from the agency of the entity which experiences it, if I understand it
right.    (07)

The key to computability is in semantic normal forms. When natural
language texts (along with the affordances) can be stated in SNF, then
the resulting well-structured format may be stored in your favorite
data- or knowledge base. Then you can do what you like.    (08)

There are a number of SNF formats, including role your own. An
affordance, for those not familiar with the term, is a pattern of
behavior in a culture. Patterns of behavior, whether called affordances
or somethig else, have been considered in several disciplines. Gregory
Bateson examined them from a anthropology perspective, from which they
made their way into general systems. They are also common in traditional
semiotics, including the Saussure branch. The are studied in psychology,
although I'm not familiar with that literature.    (09)

Regards,    (010)

-- Jeff Schiffel     (011)

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