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RE: PROV-ISSUE-337 (agent-and-entity): agent should not be a subclass of entity [prov-dm]

From: Miles, Simon <simon.miles@kcl.ac.uk>
Date: Tue, 3 Apr 2012 09:21:58 +0100
To: Provenance Working Group <public-prov-wg@w3.org>
Message-ID: <FE37361E55FDC343A27E119DFB7785BB40B542CC6F@KCL-MAIL04.kclad.ds.kcl.ac.uk>
Hello Luc,

I agree with agency (here, responsibility) being independent of the nature of the agent. I also like the suggested definition.

In particular, I'd say the WG does not want to tie itself to one side of philosophical debates regarding responsibility - it is just not something we should be concerning ourselves with in a provenance standard. By allowing responsibility to be ascribed to individuals and not to actions, we are taking (and having to defend) a stance that is not particular to provenance. If Bob ran away because Alice shouted, then was "Alice" responsible or was "Alice shouting" responsible, or both? Was the First World War responsible for the death of millions, or was it the individuals who instigating the battles, or both? Or can we, in PROV, avoid deciding :-)

For the sake of explanation, I think we could find a better example of a responsible activity than collaboration. An act of collaboration is an activity, but a collaboration itself could be considered an entity.

thanks,
Simon

Dr Simon Miles
Senior Lecturer, Department of Informatics
Kings College London, WC2R 2LS, UK
+44 (0)20 7848 1166

Requirements for Provenance on the Web:
http://eprints.dcs.kcl.ac.uk/1399/
________________________________________
From: Provenance Working Group Issue Tracker [sysbot+tracker@w3.org]
Sent: 02 April 2012 22:53
To: public-prov-wg@w3.org
Subject: PROV-ISSUE-337 (agent-and-entity): agent should not be a subclass of entity [prov-dm]

PROV-ISSUE-337 (agent-and-entity): agent should not be a subclass of entity [prov-dm]

http://www.w3.org/2011/prov/track/issues/337

Raised by: Luc Moreau
On product: prov-dm

Currently, prov-dm defines agent as follows:

An agent is a type of entity that bears some form of responsibility for an activity taking place. An agent is a particular type of Entity. This means that the model can be used to express provenance of the agents themselves.

While it is nice to be able to express the provenance of agents, it is not obvious to me that agents should always be entities.  In fact, they could be activities.

Consider a collaboration activity, to which several agents ag1, ag2, ..., agn are associated. Why can't we see it as an agent too?
activity(collaboration)
wasAssociatedWith(collaboration,agi,contract)

agent(collaboration)
wasAttributed(nice-piece-of-work,collaboration)


So, I would propose the following alternative definition:


An agent is something that bears some form of responsibility for an activity taking place.

A given agent may be a particular type of Entity or Activity. This means that the model can be used to express provenance of the agents themselves.


Looking at prov-o, I notice that they have already defined an agent as subclass of owl:Thing.
Received on Tuesday, 3 April 2012 08:23:12 GMT

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