Project C: Axiomatics

Formal Specification of Spatial Concepts and Structures with Definitions and Axiomatic Characterizations

Christopher Habel , Carola Eschenbach , Lars Kulik , Ladina Tschander , Hedda Rahel Schmidtke

University of Hamburg , Department for Informatics

Duration: 1996 - 2002

Project homepage:

The investigation of spatial concepts is a central part of the research on spatial cognition. The interpretation of specific empirical results and the communication across research groups is possible only if the spatial concepts the research is based on are clearly specified and comparable. The project on Formal Specification of Spatial Concepts and Spatial  Structures investigates different options of specifying spatial concepts by formal means. The study of spatial concept systems focusses on the semantic interrelations between concepts in a geometric framework. The goal is a systematic formalization of inventories of spatial concepts that serve as a basis to describe the phenomena of spatial cognition and the results of empirical investigations in this field. As methodological background for the formal characterizations the axiomatic method is employed. The empirical basis of the research is the semantics of natural language expressions relating to space. In addition to the conception of the structure of space, the investigations concern aspects of the spatial structure of other domains that are reflected by the applicability of spatial language in these domains. The main groups of spatial concepts investigated are concepts of contact, shape, direction, orientation, motion, path, and the geometric structure of frames of reference. The linguistic expressions considered are shape nouns, projective and directional terms, and verbs of motion.

Approach: formalization
Areas of Research: linguistics; artificial intelligence; cognitive science
Topics: language; structure of representation

Project publications

Publications of project cooperations:

A - Motion
Q - Spatial Inference

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