FOIS Keynote: A Computational, Meta-Ontological Framework

Speaker: Edward N. Zalta

This is not a talk about Protege, although Protege is a kind of "meta-ontological" framework (i.e., one that helps us to represent arbitrary ontologies) implemented in a computational setting. Instead, I will be describing a formal, axiomatic theory of abstract objects and relations and the implementation of that theory in an automated reasoning engine. The axiomatic theory, among other things, generates the "right" domains of objects and relations if given a story or theory as input, i.e., the objects and relations generated will "have" the properties attributed to them in the story or theory. The abstract objects and relations in the resulting ontology serve, for example, as the meanings of such names as "Frodo Baggins", "the null set", and predicates like "hobbit" and "is a member of", if given the Lord of the Rings or Zermelo-Fraenkel set theory as input. The meta-ontology results from the fact that the abstract objects and relations can be generated from any story, theory, or set of principles taken as given. The background theory is therefore a kind of "ontology-generating device" that is not domain specific. Once we implement the background axiomatic theory in an automated reasoning environment, we can compute over the abstract individuals and relations and draw inferences about them.

Edward N. Zalta is a Senior Research Scholar at the Center for the Study of Language and Information at Stanford University. He obtained an honors B.A. from Rice University in 1975, and a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Massachusetts/Amherst in 1981. His research specialties include metaphysics and formal ontology, the philosophy of mathematics, computational metaphysics, philosophy of language, and intensional logic. Zalta has published two books (*Abstract Objects: An Introduction to Axiomatic Metaphysics*, D. Reidel, 1983; and *Intensional Logic and the Metaphysics of Intentionality*, MIT Press, 1988), as well as articles in the Journal of Philosophy, Mind, Journal of Philosophical Logic, Bulletin of Symbolic Logic, Journal of Logic and Computation, and elsewhere. Zalta also designed the online Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy and serves as its Principal Editor.

Local Organizers

Stefan Schulz
Catalina Martínez
Markus Kreuzthaler

Institute for Medical
Informatics, Statistics
and Documentation

Medical University of Graz

Auenbruggerplatz 2
8036 Graz, Austria

stefan.schulz [at]


Jul 31: ICBO + FOIS photos online

Jul 16: ICBO + FOIS brochure published

Jul 3: FOIS posters published

Jun 25: Preliminary ICBO and FOIS programs online

Mar 21: Online Registration open

Mar 20: Accepted FOIS Papers announced

Mar 5: Accepted ICBO Papers announced

Feb 10: Early Career Symposium announced

Feb 1: ICBO and FOIS workshops and tutorials announced

FOIS deadline extended to Feb 12, 2012 (strict)

Jan 25: ICBO workshops and tutorials online .

Maintainer: Stefan Schulz