Affiliations: Artificial Intelligence/Cognition Group, Department of Computer Science, Technical University of Munich, Boltzmannstr. 3, D-85748 Garching bei München, Germany. Tel.: +49(89) 289 17213; Fax: +49(89) 289 17207; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Abstract: This work introduces a formal framework for the social acquisition of ontologies which are constructed dynamically from overhearing the possibly conflicting symbolic interaction of autonomous information sources, and an approach to the pragmatics of communicated ontological axioms. Technically, the framework is based on distributed variants of description logic for the formal contextualization of statements w.r.t. their respective provenance, speaker's attitude, addressees, and subjective degree of confidence. Doing so, our approach demarcates from the dominating more or less informal approaches to context and provenance representation on the semantic web, and carefully distinguishes between communication attitudes such as public assertion and intention exhibited on the (semantic) web on the one hand, and mental attitudes such as private belief on the other. Furthermore, our framework provides formal means for the probabilistic fusion of controversial opinions, and presents a semantics of information publishing acts. Our approach provides an incomplex and genuinely social approach to knowledge acquisition and representation, and is thus expected to be widely applicable in fields such as the semantic web and social software, and possibly also in other distributed environments such as P2P systems.