Autonomous Agents and Multi-Agent Systems

, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 70–112 | Cite as

Norms and plans as unification criteria for social collectives

  • Aldo GangemiEmail author


Based on the paradigm of Constructive Descriptions and Situations, we introduce NIC, an ontology of social collectives that includes social agents, plans, norms, and the conceptual relations between them. Norms are distinguished from plans, and their relations are formalized. A typology of social collectives is also proposed, including collection of agents, knowledge community, intentional collective, and normative intentional collective. NIC, represented as a first-order theory as well as a description logic for applications requiring automated reasoning, provides the expressivity to talk about the contexts (social, informational, circumstantial, and conceptual), in which collectives make and produce sense within the interplay of plans and norms.


Ontology Social agent Norm Plan Collective Intentionality Context Multiagent system Social relation Knowledge community Semantic web 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Baker, C. F., Fillmore, C. J., & Lowe, J. B. (1998). The Berkeley framenet project. In Proceedings of the 1998 International Conference on Computational Linguistics (COLING-ACL), pp. 86–90.Google Scholar
  2. Bartlett F. (1932). Remembering: An experimental and social study. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge Google Scholar
  3. Boella G. and van der Torre L. (2007a). Norm negotiation in multiagent systems. International Journal of Cooperative Information Systems, 16(1): 97–122 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Boella G. and van der Torre L. (2007b). The ontological properties of social roles in multi-agent systems: Definitional dependence, powers and roles playing roles. Artificial Intelligence and Law Journal, 15(3): 201–221 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Boella G., Verhagen H. and van der Torre L. (2006). Introduction to normative multiagent systems. Computational and Mathematical Organization Theory, 12(2–3): 71–79 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bottazzi E., Catenacci C., Gangemi A. and Lehmann J. (2006). From collective intentionality to intentional collectives: an ontological perspective. Cognitive Systems Research–Special Issue on Cognition and Collective Intentionality, 7: 2–3 Google Scholar
  7. Bratman M.E. (1992). Shared cooperative activity. The Philosophical Review, 101(2): 327–341 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chi M., Glaser R. and Farr M. (1988). The nature of expertise. Erlbaum, Hillsdale, NJ Google Scholar
  9. Churchland P.S., Ramachandran V.S. and Sejnowski T.J. (1994). A critique of pure vision. In: Koch, C. and Davis, J. (eds) Large scale neuronal theories of the brain, pp 23–60. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA Google Scholar
  10. Cocchiarella, N. (2004). Denoting concepts. Reference and the logic of names, classes as many, groups and plurals.
  11. Cohen R. and Schnelle T.E. (1986). Cognition and fact–materials on Ludwik Fleck. Reidel, Dordrecht Google Scholar
  12. Dauben J.W. (1979). Georg cantor: His mathematics and philosophy of the infinite. Princeton University Press, Princeton zbMATHGoogle Scholar
  13. Devlin K. (1993). The joy of sets: Fundamentals of contemporary set theory. Springer-Verlag, New York zbMATHGoogle Scholar
  14. Dugac P. (1976). Richard Dedekind et les fondements des mathematiques. J. Vrin, Paris zbMATHGoogle Scholar
  15. Fleck, L. (1936,1986). The problem of epistemology. In R. Cohen & T. Schnelle (Eds.), Cognition and fact—Materials on Ludwik Fleck (pp. 79–112). Dordrecht: Reidel.Google Scholar
  16. Gangemi, A., Borgo, S., Catenacci, C., & Lehmann, J. (2005a). Task taxonomies for knowledge content. Deliverable D07 of the Metokis Project.
  17. Gangemi, A., & Catenacci, C. (2006). A constructive ontology of descriptions and situations. Technical report, ISTC-CNR.
  18. Gangemi, A., Guarino, N., Masolo, C., & Oltramari, A. (2001). Understanding top-level ontological distinctions. In H. Stuckenschmidt (Ed.), Proceedings of the IJCAI Workshop on Ontologies and Information Sharing.Google Scholar
  19. Gangemi, A., & Mika, P. (2003). Understanding the semantic web through descriptions and situations. In R. Meersman et al. (Eds.): CoopIS/DOA/ODBASE (pp. 689–706). Springer.Google Scholar
  20. Gangemi, A., Sagri, M. T., & Tiscornia, D. (2005b). A constructive framework for legal ontologies. In Law and the Semantic Web, Vol. LNCS 3369 (pp. 97–124). Springer.Google Scholar
  21. Gelati J., Rotolo G., Sartor G. and Governatori G. (2004). Normative autonomy and normative co-ordination: Declarative power, representation, and mandate. Artificial Intelligence & Law Journal, 12: 53–81 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Gibbs J. (1965). Norms: The problem of definition and classification. The American Journal of Sociology, 70: 586–594 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Gilbert M. (1992). Social facts. Princeton University Press, Princeton NJ Google Scholar
  24. Grossi, D., Meyer, J., & Dignum, F. (2006). Counts-as: Classification or constitution? An answer using modal logic. In Proceedings of Deontic Logic and Artificial Normative Systems (vol. 4048), 8th International Workshop on Deontic Logic in Computer Science (ΔEON’06) (pp. 115–130), Springer LNCS.Google Scholar
  25. Hart H. (1961). The concept of law. Clarendon Press, Oxford Google Scholar
  26. Karmiloff-Smith A. (1994). Précis of ‘Beyond modularity: A developmental perspective on cognitive science’. Behavioral and Brain Science, 17(4): 693–706 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. King P. (2004). The metaphysics of Peter Abelard. In: Guilfoy, K. and Brower, J. (eds) The Cambridge companion to Abelard. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, New York Google Scholar
  28. Köhler W. (1947). Gestalt psychology. Liveright, New York Google Scholar
  29. Kuhn T.S. (1962). The structure of scientific revolutions. The University of Chicago University Press, Chicago Google Scholar
  30. Lakoff G. and Johnson M. (1999). Philosophy in the flesh: The embodied mind and its challenge to western thought. Basic Books, New York Google Scholar
  31. Lehmann J. and Gangemi A. (2007). An ontology of physical causation as a basis for assessing causation in fact and attributing legal responsibility. Artificial Intelligence & Law Journal, 15: 301–321 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Light P. and Butterworth G.E. (1992). Context and cognition: Ways of learning and knowing. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Hillsdale, NJ Google Scholar
  33. Link G. (1983). The logical analysis of plurals and mass terms: A lattice-theoretical approach. In: von Stechow A. (eds) Meaning, use and interpretation of language, pp 302–323. Walter de Gruyter, Berlin Google Scholar
  34. Marcus R.B. (1993). Classes, collections, assortments and individuals. In: Marcus, R.B. (eds) Modalities: Philosophical essays, pp 90–100. Oxford University Press, New York Google Scholar
  35. Masolo, C., Gangemi, A., Guarino, N., Oltramari, A., & Schneider, L. (2004a). WonderWeb EU Project Deliverable D18: The WonderWeb library of foundational ontologies.
  36. Masolo C., Vieu L., Bottazzi E., Catenacci C., Ferrario R., Gangemi A. and Guarino N. (2004b). Social roles and their descriptions. In: Dubois, D., Welty, C., and Williams, M.A. (eds) Principles of Knowledge Representation and Reasoning, Proceedings of the Ninth International conference KR 2004, pp 267–277. AAAI Press, Whistler, Canada Google Scholar
  37. McCarthy L.T. (2002). Ownership: A case study in the representation of legal concepts. Artificial Intelligence & Law Journal, 10: 135–161 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Minsky, M. (1975). A framework for representing knowledge. In P. Winston (Ed.), The psychology of computer vision. McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  39. Moore M.S. (2002). Legal reality: A naturalist approach to legal ontology. Law and Philosophy, 21(6): 619–705 Google Scholar
  40. Motik B. (2007). On the properties of metamodeling in owl. Journal of Logic and Computations, 17(4): 617–637 CrossRefMathSciNetzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  41. Oberle, D., Mika, P., Gangemi, A., & Sabou, M. (2004). Foundations for service ontologies: Aligning OWL-S to DOLCE. In Proceedings of the World Wide Web Conference (WWW2004), volume Semantic Web Track.Google Scholar
  42. OWL (2004). OWL Web ontology language family of specifications.
  43. Piaget J. (1968). Six psychological studies. Vintage, New York Google Scholar
  44. Quine W. (1980). On what there is. In From a Logical Point of View. 2nd Edn. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  45. Reynolds C.W. (1987). Flocks, herds and schools: A distributed behavioral model. Computer Graphics, 21(4): 25–34 CrossRefMathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  46. Russell B. and Whitehead A.N. (1910). Principia mathematica. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK zbMATHGoogle Scholar
  47. Sagri, M., Tiscornia, D., & Gangemi, A. (2004). An ontology-based approach for representing “bundle-of-rights”. In M. Jarrar & A. Gangemi (Eds.), Proceedings of the Second International Workshop on Regulatory Ontologies at OTM2004. Springer.Google Scholar
  48. Sartor, G. (1991). Legal reasoning and normative conflicts. In J. Breuker, R. DeMulder, & J. Hage (Eds.), Legal knowledge based systems JURIX 91: Model-based legal reasoning, the foundation for Legal Knowledge Systems.Google Scholar
  49. Searle J.R. (1969). Speech acts: An essay on the philosophy of language. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge Google Scholar
  50. Searle J.R. (1983). Intentionality. An essay in philosophy of mind. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge UK Google Scholar
  51. Searle J.R. (1995). The construction of social reality. Free Press, New York Google Scholar
  52. Simons P. (1987). Parts: A study in ontology. Clarendon Press, Oxford Google Scholar
  53. Stanzione M. (1990). Epistemologie Naturalizzate. Roma, Bagatto Google Scholar
  54. Talmy L. (2003). Toward a cognitive semantics. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA Google Scholar
  55. Tuomela R. (1995). The importance of us: A philosophical study of basic social notions. Stanford University Press, Stanford Google Scholar
  56. Tuomela R. (2003). Collective acceptance, social institutions and social reality. The American Journal of Economics and Sociology, 62(1): 123–165 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Tuomela R. and Balzer W. (2003). Social institutions, norms and practices. In Social Order in Multiagent Systems. Kluwer, Dordrecht Google Scholar
  58. von Neumann J. (1967). An axiomatization of set theory. In: Van Heijenoort J. (eds) From Frege to Gödel; A source book in mathematical logic, 1879–1931. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA Google Scholar
  59. Wright G. (1963). Norm and action : A logical enquiry. Routledge and Kegan Paul, London Google Scholar
  60. von Whorf, B. (1956). Language, thought, and reality: Selected writings of Benjamin Lee Whorf. MIT Press.Google Scholar
  61. Wooldridge M.J. (2000). Reasoning about rational agents. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA., London zbMATHGoogle Scholar
  62. Zeman J.J. (1982). Peirce on Abstraction. The Monist, 65: 211–222 Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Cognitive Science and TechnologyItalian National Research CouncilRomeItaly

Personalised recommendations