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Relations, O-roles and applied ontology

Francesco Orilia


Relational facts are best understood by appealing in a most general fashion to o-roles, i.e., ontological counterparts of the thematic roles appealed to in linguistics, such as agent, patient, instrument, theme, source, goal, and the like. Once relatedness is appropriately appreciated and o-roles enter the picture, the way relational facts are represented in first-order logic (FOL) appears inadequate and adjustments are called for. However, applied ontology still typically relies on FOL and on the conception of relations encapsulated in it. Some programmatic ideas are then put forward with the intent of going beyond FOL in this respect and promoting the search for a set of o-roles to be acknowledged in top-level or foundational ontologies.


Relations; thematic roles; first-order logic; applied ontology.

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