A different perspective on canonicity

Wermelinger, Michel (1997). A different perspective on canonicity. In: Conceptual Structures: Fulfilling Peirce's Dream: Fifth International Conference on Conceptual Structures, ICCS'97 Seattle, Washington, USA, August 3–8, 1997 Proceedings, Lecture Notes in Computer Science (Lecture Notes in Computer Science), Springer, pp. 110–124.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/BFb0027912


One of the most interesting aspects of Conceptual Structures Theory is the notion of canonicity. It is also one of the most neglected: Sowa seems to have abandoned it in the new version of the theory, and most of what has been written on canonicity focuses on the generalization hierarchy of conceptual graphs induced by the canonical formation rules. Although there is a common intuition that a graph is canonical if it is "meaningful'', the original theory is somewhat unclear about what that actually means, in particular how canonicity is related to logic. This paper argues that canonicity should be kept a first-class notion of Conceptual Structures Theory, provides a detailed analysis of work done so far, and proposes new definitions of the conformity relation and the canonical formation rules that allow a clear separation between canonicity and truth.

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