Ontological Indeterminacy and the Semantic Web

Ontological Indeterminacy and the Semantic Web

Allen Ginsberg (The MITRE Corporation, USA)
Copyright: © 2008 |Pages: 30
DOI: 10.4018/jswis.2008040102
OnDemand PDF Download:
$37.50

Abstract

Ontological indeterminacy (OI) involves incompatible conceptual systems being applicable to a domain with equal empirical adequacy; a phenomenon familiar in philosophy, but also present in the sciences and everyday life. This article presents arguments and a detailed use-case showing how OI causes problems for what seems to be a widespread, if implicit, understanding of how semantic Web (SW) terms refer or have meaning, namely: the referent/meaning of a SW term is established through precise definitions given in a formal ontology. We show that this account is incompatible with the key requirement that SW terms/statements be similar in meaning to corresponding natural language terms/statements. We present a new account, based on a “meaning as use” philosophy of language, that avoids these problems by formalizing the distinction between the intention to use a term in a customary manner and the decision to adopt a formal theory that explains or explicates that usage.

Complete Article List

Search this Journal:
Reset
Open Access Articles: Forthcoming
Volume 13: 4 Issues (2017): Forthcoming, Available for Pre-Order
Volume 12: 4 Issues (2016)
Volume 11: 4 Issues (2015)
Volume 10: 4 Issues (2014)
Volume 9: 4 Issues (2013)
Volume 8: 4 Issues (2012)
Volume 7: 4 Issues (2011)
Volume 6: 4 Issues (2010)
Volume 5: 4 Issues (2009)
Volume 4: 4 Issues (2008)
Volume 3: 4 Issues (2007)
Volume 2: 4 Issues (2006)
Volume 1: 4 Issues (2005)
View Complete Journal Contents Listing