Center for Interdisziplinary Research

Ontology and Cognition

Date: 23. - 26. Februar
Scientific Organizers: Carola Eschenbach (Hamburg), Christopher Habel (Hamburg), Wolfgang Heydrich (Bielefeld) und Hannes Rieser (Bielefeld)

Ontology – as a field of Philosophy – has a tradition of approximately 2500 years. Its underlying question "What exists? What is?" has found its way into other cognitive sciences during the last decades in more specific forms related to a cognitive agent: A linguistic variant of the theme is "What are the entities we speak about using natural language?", central for Cognitive Psychology is the question "What are the entities we perceive and reason about?" and Artificial Intelligence has to solve the problem "What is represented in a formal system?" For all variants mentioned, the investigations and answers have to be based on terms of languages (natural or formal) or concepts as the building blocks of categorization and reasoning. Simply put: Without clarifying the meaning of "mouse", "electron" or "species", statements as "Mice exist", "Electrons exist" or "Species exist" are not disputable. Thus, the central debate of the symposium concerned the question of the interdependencies of the semantics of languages, representational abilities of (mental) concepts and the entities and categories of entities in the real world. It was mainly based on the role of cognitive agents in ontology: is the structure of the world what determines the structure of our representations or is the structure of the world imposed by the structure of our conceptual system?

Nicholaus Asher (Austin, TX), Ansgar Beckermann (Bielefeld), Roberto Casati (Paris), Thorsten Dietsche (Hamburg), Johannes Dölling (Leipzig), Peter Gärdenfors (Lund), Simon Garrod (Glasgow), Nicola Guarino (Padova), Ulrike Haas-Spohn (Konstanz), Bernhard Jung (Bielefeld), Hans Kamp (Stuttgart), Barbara Kaup (Hamburg), Peter Kühnlein (Bielefeld), Lars Kulik (Hamburg), Josef Meyer-Fujara (Stralsund), Michael Oliva Cordoba (Hamburg), Hedda Rahel Schmidtke (Hamburg), Peter Simons (Leeds), Barry Smith (Buffalo, NY), Markus Stepanians (Hamburg), Mark Textor (Hamburg), Barbara Tversky (Stanford, CA)

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