CLIN 2005 Abstracts
  • Ontology and Language: Towards a Strongly-Typed Meaning Algebra
    Walid S. Saba (Department of Computer Science, American University of Technology (AUT), Byblos, Lebanon)
    In "Logic and Ontology", Cocchiarella (2001) convincingly argues for a view of "logic as a language" in contrast with the view of "logic as a calculus". In the latter, logic is viewed as an "abstract calculus that has no content of its own, and which depends on set theory as a background framework by which such a calculus might be syntactically described and semantically interpreted." In the view of "logic as a language", however, logic has content, and "ontological content in particular." This view however necessitates the use of type theory, as opposed to set theory as the background framework. It is this view that we advocate here, and in our opinion, problems in the semantics of natural language cannot be resolved until a logic that is grounded in type theory and predication (as opposed to set membership) is properly formulated.

    In this paper we demonstrate that a number of challenging problems in the semantics of natural language, such as the treatment of the so-called intensional verbs, and the semantics of nominal compounds, can be adequately resolved in the framework of compositional semantics, if a strongly-typed ontological structure is assumed. In addition to suggesting a proper treatment of nominal compounds and intensional verbs within the framework of compositional semantics, we briefly discuss the nature of this ontological type system and how it should be "discovered" rather than "invented".