Language, logic and ontology: Uncovering the structure of commonsense knowledge

The purpose of this paper is twofold: (i) we argue that the structure of commonsense knowledge must be discovered, rather than invented; and (ii) we argue that natural language, which is the best known theory of our (shared) commonsense knowledge, should itself be used as a guide to discovering the structure of commonsense knowledge. In addition to suggesting a systematic method to the discovery of the structure of commonsense knowledge, the method we propose seems to also provide an explanation for a number of phenomena in natural language, such as metaphor, intensionality, and the semantics of nominal compounds. Admittedly, our ultimate goal is quite ambitious, and it is no less than the systematic ‘discovery’ of a well-typed ontology of commonsense knowledge, and the subsequent formulation of the longawaited goal of a meaning algebra.
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