Cognitive Semantics

W. Kuhn. Why information science needs cognitive semantics – and what it has to offer in return, March 2003.

The author is well grounded on the semantics of geographic information. The notes describe the author’s point of view on cognitive semantics. His first approach is to give a background review of theoretical approach to the matter. Then he specifies that he likes the “action” approach, following which actions are seen as first–class entities. Pragmatics describes the rules for such actions. Semantics can be seen as a conventialised pragmatics. Syntax adds markers to help disambiguate expressions where context has already done so.

The author points to the concept of semantic interoperability to define a more sensible agreements across interfaces. This goes far beyond the simple syntactic agreement proposed by XML and the semantic web in general.

The author reports six tenets of Cognitive Semantics as defined by Peter G{“a}rdenfors:

1. Meaning is conceptualization in a cognitive system
2. Conceptual structures are embodied
3. Semantic elements are constructed from geometrical or topological structures
4. Cognitive models are primarily image-schematic. Image-schemas are transformed by metaphoric and metonymic operations.
5. Semantics is primary to syntax and partly determines it
6. Concepts show prototype effects

Regarding point 2., it is my idea that the ontology construction is actually embodied following the person interaction into the system.

Some core ideas are then listed by the author. Conceptualizations is defined as the cognitive activity of constituting our apprehension of the world. It is a dynamic concept. They are constructed. They can be constructed in multiple ways.

Features Bundles combine behavior with a list of attributes and the blending between them.

Image schemas are schematic and imagistic concepts which are abstracted from pre-cenceptual bodily experience, function as constituents of more complex notions, and provide the structure projected metaphorically to more abstract domains. For us to comprehend and reason about there must be pattern and order to our actions, perceptions, and conceptions. Image schemas can be subject to transformation: mappings from some aspects o schemas to others. maybe the Agent can operate this transformation.

Mental Spaces are general patterns set up and invoked while we talk, listen, write and read. Maybe a mental space may be represented/metaphorised with a workspace of all the elements called or invoked by the user.

Blendings refers to a mental space configuration in which elements of two input spaces are projected into a third space, the blend, which thus contains elements of both but is distinct from either one.

The language of thought hypothesis claims that meanings can be described by combining semantic primitives. These primitives are universal.

Some of many open questions:
1. Are image schemas scale–free?
2. What concepts are amenable to grounding?