13th International Conference on Conceptual Structures
Conceptual Structures: Common Semantics for Sharing Knowledge

July 18-22, 2005, Kassel, Germany

Pragmatic Support for Collaborative Inquiry

July 17, 10:00-13:00

10:00-11:30: Tutorial by G. Richmond, M. Keeler, A. de Moor, H. Pfeiffer
11:30-11:45: Coffee Break
11:45-13:00: Workshop - Collaboration Game

To be successful, collaboratory testbeds must be based on pragmatic principles, which require that users play a significant role in the development of the tools that are to improve the conduct of their inquiry. User-driven development can be facilitated in the framework of game that formalizes their collaboration with technology developers to make explicit their tool needs. The workshop proposed will be introduced by a preparatory tutorial to explain the context of the game.

The tutorial will explain how Trikonic (|>*k), an applied science outlined by C.S. Peirce as trichotomic , developed by G. Richmond as a category navigation system, in conjunction with the Group Report Authoring Support System (GRASS) developed by A. de Moor as a tool for collaborative reporting, can facilitate and motivate the playing of the game of Harmonizing Assertions (HA), proposed by M. Keeler as a framework for conducting collaborative inquiry among testbed participants who are conducting an investigation of Peirce's manuscripts.

The workshop will focus on difficulties in the investigation of Peirce's manuscripts, which can be formulated in what Keeler calls the Manuscript Reconstruction Game (MRG), a specific application of HA. As a group of researchers engage in an investigation of selected manuscripts, their MRG game will be facilitated by the Trikonic navigation system and the GRASS report authoring tool. The outcome will be a group report of the inquiry process and its hypothetical findings.


The principal purpose of the workshop is to conduct an exercise that integrates particular tools and strategies by which collaborative inquiry might effectively progress (pragmatically). Based on the outcome, evaluations and improvements will begin.

Structure of the Tutorial and Workshop

The one-hour tutorial introduces the three elements to be integrated in the two-hour workshop: Trikonic, Harmonizing Assertions, and Group Report Authoring Support System. Based on the tutorial presentations and exercises, workshop participants will engage in the game and report their findings.

  1. The |>*k element: G. Richmond introduces a diagrammatic approach to trichotomic, and demonstrates a tool for facilitating progressive analysis-synthesis using Peirce's category theory as content.
  2. The HA element: M. Keeler explains a Peirce-Brandom framework for conducting collaborative inquiry as a game and demonstrates its operation in the context of collaborative investigation based on Peirce's manuscripts.
  3. The GRASS element: A. de Moor introduces the GRASS tool for group reporting. The theoretical underpinnings of GRASS are considered, and tutorial participants learn to use the tool in collaboratively authoring a report.

All three elements will be brought together in the workshop, where participants will conduct a collaborative exercise.

Please also have a look at the PORT website, where additional information, materials, etc. will be placed in the following weeks.

Intended Audience

The workshop should attract anyone wishing to learn more about the implications of pragmatism for virtual community development. The HA game facilitated by GRASS can accommodate as many as are interested. Workshop participants will be asked to continue authoring the report throughout the conference. At the end of the conference, a discussion will be held to assess participants' experience of the game.

Participants must sign up in advance for the tutorial and workshop so that materials can be prepared accordingly.

Planning Committee

Gary Richmond, USA , (Chair)
Aldo de Moor, Belgium
Mary Keeler, USA
Heather Pfeiffer, USA

Gary Richmond, USA , (Chair)
Gary Richmond teaches Critical and Creative Thinking in the Philosophy and Critical Thinking area of the Humanities Department at LaGuardia College of the City University of New York. He is keenly interested in the philosophy of Charles Peirce especially as it relates to the possible co-evolution of man and machine (D. Engelbart) and towards a Pragmatic Web. Currently he is developing |>*k (trikonic) which proposes a diagrammatic and, eventually, electronic way of systematically representing Peirce's category theory as interpreted semeiotically. He is especially interested in its possible application as an element in a suite of principles and tools expressing a peircean perspective meant to catalyze the growth of collaboratories and other virtual communities. He lives in Manhattan's Greenwich Village.

Aldo de Moor, Brussels
Aldo de Moor is a senior researcher at STARLab, Vrije Universiteit Brussels. From 1999-2004, he was an assistant professor at Infolab, Dept. of Information Systems and Management, Tilburg University, the Netherlands. Aldo's research interests include the evolution of virtual communities, argumentation technologies, Language/Action theory, conceptual graph theory, ontologies, and meaning negotiation.

Mary Keeler, USA
Mary Keeler is Research Associate at the University of Washington's Center for Advanced Research Technology in the Arts and Humanities. She directs the collaborative Peirce On-line Resource Testbed (PORT) project to design a computer-mediated network research environment, based upon the collected writings of Charles S. Peirce, the philosopher and scientist whose work in logic is the theoretical basis for knowledge processing systems. With academic background in telecommunications, philosophy, and anthropology, she has conducted research for the past decade focused on creating a digital resource of Peirce's manuscripts, archived in the Houghton Library at Harvard. PORT's purpose is to develop and promote the use of network-linked testbeds (effective partnerships among scholars and technology developers) to study the many interrelated requirements (for systems and interface design, editing, publishing, and archiving) in a model collaboratory to support cross-discipline and world-wide research.

Heather Pfeiffer, USA
Heather D. Pfeiffer is a PhD student at New Mexico State University in the Computer Science Department. Her dissertation thesis, that she hopes to complete by the end of 2005, is on modifiying data structures and algorithms to improve and make more efficient the reasoning operations of projection and maximal join when using a Conceptual Structures knowledge base. She is working to setup an actual user-centered testbed to put Peirce's theory concerning stages of inquiry into action and create an equal "playing field" for both users and developers. Heather lives with her husband and two children in the wonderful southwest town of Las Cruces, New Mexico, where she is actively into music and the theatre.