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Re: Are generic resources intentional?

From: Alan Ruttenberg <alanruttenberg@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 28 May 2009 13:40:42 -0400
Message-ID: <29af5e2d0905281040n65bfaf62o6a30b72a1d85dbd8@mail.gmail.com>
To: Pat Hayes <phayes@ihmc.us>
Cc: Jonathan Rees <jar@creativecommons.org>, AWWSW TF <public-awwsw@w3.org>
Hi Pat,

I don't see how switching from intent to artifact helps anything,
rather the opposite in my experience. First, "agency" seems to me to
be something equally of the mind, and second all practical efforts
that I've made in conjunction with OBI (Ontology of Biomedical
Investigation) haven't panned out.

I think in the end we are going to have a mind involved and if we are
we might as well deal with the source then trying to track down the
effects without reference to the locus. Seems like in practice that
there are going to be fewer things that are difficult to define in the
the end if we bite the bullet on "intent" being difficult to define,
accept it as a primitive for now, and work forward.

However, I will admit to not being a trained philosopher, and if you
think that there is a good document that makes it clear what artifact
and agency are, then I'm game for a read.

That said, I will respond to the substance of Jonathan's message in a
separate email.


On Thu, May 28, 2009 at 9:46 AM, Pat Hayes <phayes@ihmc.us> wrote:
> Reading this, seems to me (provisionally) that "having intent" might be
> rephrased as "being an artifact"; that is, existing as the result of agency
> of some kind rather than a natural process. (?) If so, that might be a nice
> connection with some traditional philosophical distinctions that have stood
> the test of time; and it avoids having to say what intent "is". And it has
> the advantage, I'd suggest, of focusing on the thing rather than the innards
> of the mind of its creator, which is always going to be a black box/hole.
> Pat
> On May 28, 2009, at 7:48 AM, Jonathan Rees wrote:
>> I've been puzzling over the question of how two generic-resources can
>> have the same trace by virtue of a difference in meaning, e.g. the use
>> case Tim gives where he and I both work at Burger King for a week and
>> end up with identical-looking time sheets (same trace), that are
>> really distinct generic-resources simply because of properties not
>> reflected in the traces.
>> Allow me to call this difference "intent" - I won't define this but
>> Alan, don't jump all over me, build on what I say. It is the missing
>> dimension, the resource's "essential characteristic" that is not
>> conveyed in any wa-representation.
>> I don't know what "intent" is ontologically; I use the word as a
>> placeholder. It has to be quite broad, so that it allows me to say
>> that the GR named by
>> http://random.org/integers/?num=100&min=1&max=100&col=5&base=10&format=html&rnd=new
>> has "intent" - namely the web site author's intent to satisfy the
>> world's hunger for white noise. Generally, we have grandfathered all
>> "web pages" just by saying that none of them are accidental
>> (unintentional) - someone went to the trouble of registering a domain
>> name, setting up a server, and deploying content. We also get Moby
>> Dick, since someone went to the trouble of writing it - it didn't fall
>> from the sky. And we get Finnegan's Wake and Beethoven's 7th for the
>> same reason even though know one knows what message they convey.
>> But I think "intent" can explain another use case Tim has given. He is
>> adamant that numbers, such as the 46th Mersenne prime, are not
>> information resources. I was puzzled by his refusal because it seems
>> very clear to me that all of its essential characteristics *can* be
>> conveyed in a message; I just did so. But if we set aside the AWWW
>> definition of IR, and instead talk about the Tim-derived GR model, we
>> can say that something that has a wa-representation that is a numeral
>> designating the 46th Mersenne prime is a perfectly fine GR, since the
>> *intent* is to communicate the digits of the 46th Mersenne prime;
>> while the number itself does not carry any intent and is therefore not
>> a GR.
>> More generally, "intent" explains why GRs are contingent on the real
>> world, as opposed to being purely mathematical constructions, while
>> still being able to withstand any Xiaoshu-like attempts at giving them
>> mass and phsyical location.
>> If we can determine that
>> (a) "intent" is not vacuous, and
>> (b) "intent" is the *only* way that generic-resources can differ,
>> other than in their traces
>> then we will have a complete characterization of generic resources: GR
>> = trace + intent.
>> I read this and find "intent" to be very similar to "phlogiston", but
>> remember that chemistry had its origins in alchemy.
>> Jonathan
>> Appendix: Use cases
>> 1.
>> http://random.org/integers/?num=100&min=1&max=100&col=5&base=10&format=html&rnd=new
>>  - yes
>> 2. Moby Dick  -yes
>> 3. Beethoven's 7th  - yes
>> 4. 46 Mersenne Prime  - no
>> 5. A 19th-century publication that has no URI yet (possibly ever) - yes
>> 6. data:text/plain,intent_depends_on_context  - no? (doesn't imply
>> intent; only names a trace)
>> 7. function from time and request to representation - no (doesn't
>> imply intent; only names a trace)
>> 8. "network data object" a la RFC 2616 - some of them, yes, if you
>> take this to mean "generic resource deployed on a network"
>> 9. "network service" a la RFC 2616 - ?
>> ...
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Received on Thursday, 28 May 2009 17:41:41 UTC

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