A Theory of Social Agentivity and its Integration into the Descriptive Ontology for Linguistic and Cognitive Engineering

Edward Heath Robinson
International Journal on Semantic Web and Information Systems 2011 7(4): pp. 62–86
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Social_AgentivityThe agentivity of social entities has posed problems for ontologies of social phenomena, especially in the Descriptive Ontology for Linguistic and Cognitive Engineering (DOLCE) designed for use in the semantic web. This article elucidates a theory by which physical and social objects can take action, but that also recognizes the different ways in which they act. It introduces the “carry” relationship, through which social actions can occur when a physical action is taken in the correct circumstances. For example, the physical action of a wave of a hand may carry the social action of saying hello when entering a room. This article shows how a system can simultaneously and in a noncontradictory manner handle statements and queries in which both nonphysical social agents and physical agents take action by the carry relationship and the use of representatives. A revision of DOLCE’s taxonomic structure of perdurants is also proposed. This revision divides perdurants into physical and nonphysical varieties at the same ontological level at which endurants are so divided.