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Re: Back to HTTP semantics

From: Pat Hayes <phayes@ihmc.us>
Date: Mon, 15 Jun 2009 12:58:17 -0500
Cc: Jonathan Rees <jar@creativecommons.org>, David Booth <david@dbooth.org>, AWWSW TF <public-awwsw@w3.org>
Message-Id: <92E4352C-93A7-4362-ACA3-B140FF78BE7B@ihmc.us>
To: "Williams, Stuart (HP Labs, Bristol)" <skw@hp.com>

On Jun 15, 2009, at 9:56 AM, Williams, Stuart (HP Labs, Bristol) wrote:

> Hello Pat,
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Pat Hayes [mailto:phayes@ihmc.us]
>> Sent: 15 June 2009 15:24
>> To: Williams, Stuart (HP Labs, Bristol)
>> Cc: Jonathan Rees; David Booth; AWWSW TF
>> Subject: Re: Back to HTTP semantics
>> On Jun 15, 2009, at 3:49 AM, Williams, Stuart (HP Labs,
>> Bristol) wrote:
>>> Hello Jonathan,
>>>> -----Original Message-----
>>>> From: public-awwsw-request@w3.org
>>>> [mailto:public-awwsw-request@w3.org] On Behalf Of Jonathan Rees
>>>> Sent: 15 June 2009 02:38
>>>> To: David Booth
>>>> Cc: Pat Hayes; AWWSW TF
>>>> Subject: Re: Back to HTTP semantics
>>>> On Fri, Jun 12, 2009 at 9:59 AM, David
>> Booth<david@dbooth.org> wrote:
>>>>> Hold on, that's *way* overstated.  While Pat may not agree that  
>>>>> URI
>>>>> ownership gives *absolute* authority in establishing the referent
>>>>> of a
>>>>> URI -- and I agree with that, as described in "The URI Lifecycle  
>>>>> in
>>>>> Semantic Web Architecture" http://dbooth.org/2009/lifecycle/ --  
>>>>> it is
>>>>> quite clear that URI ownership at least has a very strong  
>>>>> *influence*.
>>>> This is an empirical question that would be difficult to  
>>>> evaluate. By
>>>> "matters" I probably meant something more rigorous than what you
>>>> thought I meant. To conclude that webarch "identification" ought  
>>>> to be
>>>> aligned with RDF "interpretation" requires reading between the  
>>>> lines,
>>>> since it's never explicitly stated normatively for HTTP or AWWW
>>>> (neither of which talk about RDF) or in RDF semantics (which has no
>>>> reference to the web). If someone takes on some RDF as a result of
>>>> nose-following, they probably do so because they choose to, not
>>>> because any spec they've seen tells them to.
>>> So... what effect does a normative reference from the RDF specs to
>>> the URI spec have?
>>> 	http://www.w3.org/TR/rdf-mt/#ref-2369
>>> 	http://www.w3.org/TR/rdf-concepts/#ref-uris
>>> 	http://www.w3.org/TR/rdf-syntax-grammar/#ref-uri
>>> FWIW: I have always taken those references as establishing the link
>>> between URI as opaque names as presented directly in the RDF specs.,
>>> and what one might regard as the 'normal' interpretation of URIs on
>>> the web.
>> I don't read them as making any such link. They are simply references
>> to establish, in the usual way of references in written technical
>> prose, what certain terms of art are intended to mean. So the RFC2369
>> reference in RDFMT establishes, normatively, that when the body prose
>> of RDFMT uses the phrase "URI", it means by that what RFC2369 means  
>> by
>> it, and not, say, to refer to the University of Rhode Island. BUt  
>> that
>> does not in itself establish the kind of link that you imply here,
>> which has to do with RDFMT treating URIs as names which refer in some
>> way established or influenced by RFC2369. In fact, RDFMT explicilty
>> denies this, in its own normative prose. As far as RDF semantics is
>> concerned, apart from  one or two corner cases (reification and
>> seeAlso), the Web could not exist at all and nothing would be
>> different.
> Fair enough... I won't argue about this, though I would say that the  
> meme that RDF interpretration of URI are constrained by what might  
> be called the Web natural interpretation is not original to me.

I understand. The RDFWG was of course aware of it and it came up  
explicitly in the OWL debates under the rubric of "social meaning". It  
was probably the most contentious issue we faced, so much so that we  
decided to formally postpone it: but I was on the side of those who  
wanted to give some guidance (in can't be more than that) in the spec  
itself. But what I was reacting to in this thread was your claim that  
the normative references **themselves** address this possible link of  
meaning. They don't.

> Whilst I can understand and appreciate the denial that you mention  
> in RDFMT with respect to the formalism presented there in - leaving  
> interpretation unconstrained by the web itself - I think there are  
> many who see interpretation implicitly constrained in that way when  
> one joins the logical system RDF with the pragmatics of the web.

Yes, of course, but the point is that there isnt (yet) anything  
normative said about any such joining. Some folk feel that, as a  
matter of principle, there should not be. I disagree, but the issue is  
extremely contentious. Which is why I tend to get anal at suggestions  
that the RDF MT implies things about it simply by referring to RFC2369.

> Eg. If in RDF one were to use http://www.w3.org as a reference to my  
> left foot, there would be an inconsistency in the total system even  
> that were not so from the RDF interpretation alone.

Well, you need to say what you mean by 'inconsistency' here.  
Apparently you aren't using the term in its logical sense. What sense  
are you using it in? You seem to be pointing along a road to a new  
research area, which should probably be called 'web semantics' or (I  
prefer) 'blogic'. But this requires some new science that hasn't been  
done yet.

>>> Without such normative references I'd agree that there is nothing to
>>> drive such a conclusion... but with them... Roughly speaking I'd
>>> regard the normative references as constrainting the RDF
>>> intepretation of URIs with the 'normal' web interpretation of URIs
>>> (at least for those that have the latter).
>> Those references don't constrain the RDF interpretation of URIs in  
>> any
>> way at all. Not a smidgeon. In any case, RFC2369 simply does not  
>> speak
>> of interpretations of URIs, or indeed of any semantic issues.
> :-) - RFC2396 and friends and various social registration processes  
> set up a social system by which URIs become bound to things.

Bound to, but not referring to. And not many kinds of thing.

> But... I guess that comes down to what Jonathan called "reading  
> between the lines".
> Many of the early URI scheme specifications describe that binding in  
> very operationalised terms (the FTP URI scheme is as good example -  
> see http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc1738, section 3.2 and  
> subsections). In the light of our other exchanges I think that FTP  
> URI would be seen as designating a 'container' rather than its  
> 'content'.

And I don't think it says much about how URIs can refer to people,  
relationships, etc. etc.


>> Pat
>>> Maybe I misunderstand the effects or intended effects of normative
>>> reference.
>>> <snip/>
>>>> Jonathan
>>>>> --
>>>>> David Booth, Ph.D.
>>>>> Cleveland Clinic (contractor)
>>>>> Opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not
>>>>> necessarily
>>>>> reflect those of Cleveland Clinic.
>>> Stuart
>>> --
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> IHMC                                     (850)434 8903 or
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>> 40 South Alcaniz St.           (850)202 4416   office
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>> phayesAT-SIGNihmc.us       http://www.ihmc.us/users/phayes
> Stuart
> --

IHMC                                     (850)434 8903 or (650)494 3973
40 South Alcaniz St.           (850)202 4416   office
Pensacola                            (850)202 4440   fax
FL 32502                              (850)291 0667   mobile
phayesAT-SIGNihmc.us       http://www.ihmc.us/users/phayes
Received on Monday, 15 June 2009 17:59:12 UTC

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