Is there a named area of study
which considers the specifically process of of interpreting a sign together
with the shared knowledge needed by two agents who communicate (using signs)?
At one extreme, Agent 1
goes into a grocer's shop, and presses buttons on Agent 2 for "3",
"red", and "apples", and a simple mechanical system
delivers the fruit. Here the knowledge is all on Agent 1's side, and includes
both the semantics of "3", "red", and "apples",
and knowledge about vending machines.
At the other extreme, the
two agents are people, say an American tourist having got off the Paris RER
in one of the suburbs, and an Algerian shop keeper. In this, the American
uses knowledge about common social systems, and therefore identifies the
context "shop" and so knows the appropriateness of attempting to
buy apples. On the other, the shop keeper identifies the probable language
from knowledge of a range of languages, translates the phrasing to a probable
match "Trois" "Pommes" and "Rouge" (including
allowing for different syntactical structures in each language), and so on.
Here both agents use a considerable amount of knowledge to be able to
communicate at all. (The complete sequence of "Hungarian Tourist
Guide" sketches by Monty Python can be used to extend the argument).
The reason for the
question is that the semantic web relies on symbols which are effectively
decoded in advance (are the fixed buttons in the first example or URIs in
RDF). A major goal of the semantic web is to broker communication between
agents which either use common symbols or equivalent symbols (sameAs).
However, the business processes which stand behind such operations ground the
symbols in the artefacts and actions of the systems operating those
processes. Communication is reliably only if the symbols used by both agents
are grounded in the same way - I note that a number of the arguments on this
forum seem to be between two camps, one assuming that the grounding problem
is trivial, the other assuming that it is extremely difficult. Therefore I am
looking for a razor that can cut between the "ontologies as a formal
system" and "ontology term grounding" parts of the discussion,
and so ensure that both parts are solved.
I should also throw in my
view is that the ontology classes used by a business process are exactly those
classes which label the alternative routes onward from a decision process,
and therefore define the grounding of terms.