[Elsnet-list] === EXTENDED DEADLINE === FOIS-2004 Workshop on the Potential of Cognitive Semantics for Ontologies === EXTENDED DEADLINE ===

Jos Lehmann joslehmann at www.ip.rm.cnr.it
Tue Aug 31 17:29:34 CEST 2004

=== Apologies For Multiple Copies -- Please Distribute ===

FOIS-2004 Workshop on the Potential of Cognitive Semantics for Ontologies


Extended deadline for paper submissions: 

15 September 2004


Workshop on the Potential of Cognitive Semantics for Ontologies 

Torino, Italy, November 3rd, 2004


Held in conjunction with FOIS 2004, 
the International Conference on Formal Ontologies in Information Systems

Featured Speakers

  a.. Peter Gärdenfors, Lund University Cognitive Science, http://www.lucs.lu.se/People/Peter.Gardenfors/ 
  b.. Joseph Goguen, University of California at San Diego, Computer Science and Engineering, http://www.cs.ucsd.edu/users/goguen/ 
Workshop Theme

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. It is determined by individual and cultural factors, involving a human mind aware of the conventions of a language community. Yet, the mental interpretation processes are not accessible and the conventions of information communities are rarely meaningful to agents in other communities. Ontology engineers therefore face the problem of capturing enough of the cognitive as well as the social contexts of information. However, information system ontologies typically consist of networks or hierarchies of concepts to which symbols can refer. Their axiomatizations are either self-referential or point to more abstract, rather than more meaningful symbols. So, how do the ontologies become meaningful?

Cognitive semantics, in its various flavors, is asking similar questions for natural languages and symbol systems in general. It studies, among other issues, what the embodied nature of language can tell us about how we construct meanings, or what its socially situated nature says about the constraints on language use. Cognitive scientists have developed innovative and powerful notions that are potentially useful for ontologies. Among them are:

  a.. image schemas 
  b.. prototypes and radial categories 
  c.. basic level concepts 
  d.. primes and universals 
  e.. language games 
  f.. metaphors and metonymies 
  g.. idealized cognitive models 
  h.. mental spaces and conceptual blendings 
  i.. conceptual spaces 
  j.. frame semantics 
  k.. affordances 
  l.. conceptual similarity measures.
So far, there is only sparse work on information system ontologies that takes any of these notions seriously, and even less that formalizes and applies them fruitfully. This workshop will take stock of such approaches and establish a research agenda for ontology design inspired and informed by cognitive semantics. It will bring together researchers in information system or natural language semantics w ith a formal or cognitive background or both.

Position Papers

Anybody with an interest in the questions raised above is invited to submit a position paper. Participation at the workshop is open to all position paper authors who also register for the FOIS conference. Extended abstracts of 800 - 1500 words should be sent by Email to kuhn at uni-muenster.de on or before August 31, 2004. They will be made available on the workshop web site, unless their authors instruct us otherwise. Authors will be notified by September 15, 2004 whether their position papers have been selected for presentation during the workshop. Authors are invited to submit revised versions of their position papers to a post-workshop review process, leading to a book or journal special issue on research directions to make ontologies more meaningful.


Werner Kuhn, Martin Raubal, Florian Probst, Krzysztof Janowicz

Muenster Semantic Interoperability Lab (MUSIL)

Institute for Geoinformatics, University of Muenster, Germany


Further information

An introduction to the workshop topic with recommendations for further reading is posted at http://musil.uni-muenster.de/documents/WhyCogLingv1.pdf. It may be updated occasionally.

All workshop communication will be by Email and through the workshop web site at


Do not hesitate to contact kuhn at uni-muenster.de with any questions about the workshop.
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