Formal Ontology and Philosophical Content
on the Semantic Web

APA Symposium on Formal Ontology
and Philosophical Content on the Semantic Web

San Francisco, 28 March 2003

Christopher Menzel
Texas A&M University

Background to the Questions

The Questions

The above suggests a broader, "public service" question than the first of the advertized questions:

Should philosophers participate in the development of the Semantic Web? That is, should philosophers, as a discipline, actively engage in development, refinement, and maintenance of formal and applied ontologies and reasoning systems to enhance intelligent search on the World Wide Web?

The Original "Localized" Question

Should (can?) philosophers, as a discipline, build a formal ontology of philosophical concepts to enhance searching, linking, and cross-referencing of philosophical content on the World Wide Web?

This leads to the second question:

Should the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy project develop such a formal ontology for managing the metacontent in its reference work (i.e., for managing cross-references as entries come online or are changed, for building other thematic navigation tools, etc), or will statistical techniques in computational linguistics suffice?

The third question, briefly considered…

What do philosophers need to know about markup languages such as XML and XHTML?

Final question, not considered at all:

What should philosophers be doing about developing common practices, standards and tools for electronic publishing?

Christopher Menzel
Last modified: Fri Mar 28 17:54:20 CST 2003