Ontological commitments of frame-based knowledge representations
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In this paper, I shall assess the ontological commitments of frame-based methods of knowledge representation. Frames decompose concepts (statements, theories) into recursive attribute-value structures. The question is: are the attribute values in frames to be interpreted as universal properties or rather as tropes? I shall argue that universals realism and trope theory face similar complications as far as non-terminal values, i.e., values which refer to the determinable properties of objects, are concerned. It is suggested that these complications can be overcome if one is prepared to adopt an ontology of structured complexes. Such an ontology, in turn, is indifferent as to whether attribute values are interpreted as universals or as tropes.
KeywordsFrame theory Ontological commitment Universals realism Trope theory
This research was funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG). For comments and criticisms I am grateful to members of the Collaborative Research Centre 991 “The Structure of Representations in Language, Cognition, and Science,” as well as two anonymous reviewers of Synthese.
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