Commonsense Knowledge, Ontology and Ordinary Language

Walid S. Saba

In this paper it will be demonstrated that a number of challenges in the semantics of natural language (e.g., metonymy, intensionality, copredication, nominal compounds, etc.) can be properly and uniformly addressed if semantics were grounded in an ontology that reflects our commonsense view of the world and the way we talk about it in ordinary language. Moreover, we will argue that our analysis of the semantics of various natural language phenomena will itself suggest how the ontological structure that seems to underlie all that we say in our everyday discourse might be discovered (rather than invented). Finally, and while our presentation is for the most part be theoretical in nature, we will briefly comment on our plans for the implementation of the ideas presented here, and the computational challenges one has to address in building an effective engine that can be used in various language processing tasks.

Keywords: Ontology, compositional semantics, commonsense knowledge, reasoning.