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RE: OWL "Sydney Syntax", structured english

From: John McClure <jmcclure@hypergrove.com>
Date: Wed, 29 Nov 2006 12:12:42 -0800
To: "Pat Hayes" <phayes@ihmc.us>
Cc: "Kaarel Kaljurand" <kaljurand@gmail.com>, "Dan Connolly" <connolly@w3.org>, "Anne Cregan" <annec@cse.unsw.edu.au>, <public-owl-dev@w3.org>
Message-ID: <MGEEIEEKKOMOLNHJAHMKCECDEDAA.jmcclure@hypergrove.com>

Pat,
It would truly be a shame to ignore the usefulness of verbs altogether. Not only
does Dan know Pat, but Dan once knew John, or Pat should know John, or Dan may
know Pat's brother, and so on.... currently RDF semantics only focuses on
present transitives apparently without any idea how to evolve to a more
"structured english syntax" that incorporates matters of time and conditions.

This is exactly the problem that I have been addressing the last few years.  In
Version 1 of the Legal-RDF ontology, I started with striped syntax, yielding for
example
  <Person rdf:ID='Scarecrow'>
     <has>
        <Brain/>
     </has>
  </Person>
defining Person and Brain as classes, and defining has, had, willHave, etc as
'properties'. But now, I am working on Version 2, with infinitely better
results, defining Brain as a TRUE property whose range is BrainMatter:
  <Person rdf:ID='Scarecrow'>
     <Brain lgl:verb='has'>
         <BrainMatter/>
     </Brain>
  </Person>

I provide background about all this at
http://aufderheide.info/lexmlwiki/index.php?title=Legal-RDF_Ontologies showing
also how I am tying RDF into ECMA languages (basically, just as Dan suggests in
another note).  Anyway, my point is that verbs are powerful linguistically for
solid semantic reasons -- these must be incorporated into reasoning tools but
most definitely NOT via the names of properties of classes of individuals...

Simply, I can't accept the assertion that the property set of a Person includes
a "hasBrain".
Thanks,
John

PS Most OWL properties are verb+preposition properties.  But it also defines
verb+noun properties -- eg hasValue.  And it defines verb-only properties -- eg
imports.  And it defines noun-only properties -- eg cardinality.  In other
words, it seems rather arbitrary what is best defined as a property and what is
best defined as a class.  RDF defines noun-only properties incidentally: type,
subject, predicate, object and domain are all nouns.  RDFS actually got the
confusion started -- subClassOf rather than superclass is a good example.
rdfs:label is a noun only.... all Dublin Core properties are nouns.... FOAF,
constantly made an exemplar by W3, is a bit of a mess in this regard IMHO.

PPS Negation is straight-forward under my approach

  <Person rdf:ID='Scarecrow'>
     <Brain lgl:verb='hasNot'>
         <BrainMatter/>
     </Brain>
  </Person>
Received on Wednesday, 29 November 2006 20:12:39 GMT

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