W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-sw-meaning@w3.org > October 2003

Re: what matters is what's said, not what's meant

From: pat hayes <phayes@ihmc.us>
Date: Thu, 9 Oct 2003 18:53:15 -0500
Message-Id: <p06001f1bbbaba17a2a9f@[]>
To: Sandro Hawke <sandro@w3.org>, Bijan Parsia <bparsia@isr.umd.edu>
Cc: public-sw-meaning@w3.org

>  > On Thursday, October 9, 2003, at 09:50  AM, pat hayes wrote:
>>  [snip]
>>  > Suggestion: lets decide to NEVER make rules that require consistency.
>>  Hear hear.
>I was oversimplifying to focus on the difference between being
>consistent with someone else's content and asserting that person's
>In fact, I would recommend never saying something you *know* is
>inconsistent, and making a reasonable effort (which depends on your
>situation) to find out if it is.   I know, of course, that proving
>consistency is sometimes impossible and often impractical.

Well, OK, but I can think of times when it might make sense even to 
do that. Suggestion: rephrase this in terms of, when an inference is 
made, who is responsible for the conclusion? That is, if you do 
accept it (and act on it) whose affirmation are you relying on?

Focussing on that question, a few guidelines:

1. If you derive a conclusion from a contradiction, then nobody is 
responsible for it but you: a derivation from a contradiction adds no 
weight to the conclusion at all, so if you publish it then that is 
just like publishing a brand-new assertion; you, the publisher, can't 
appeal to any other authority.

2. Otherwise, if you derive a conclusion from something published by 
a source S  using valid inference methods, then you can attribute the 
conclusion to S.

3. If you derive a conclusion from information published by a 
collection of sources S1,... , Sn and they all attribute their 
conclusions to a source S, then you can attribute the conclusion to 
S. (But if you justify this conclusion then you have to name your 
sources and cite their attribution.) Note that this allows a kind of 
transitive closure, analogous to imports-closure but without the 
operational implications.

Im sure there are others, but the first one is enough to handle your 
case, since if I publish a contradiction, then its not going to be 
any SW-style use to anyone else: they can't use it to do anything 
that they couldn't do on their own.


>     -- sandro

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Received on Thursday, 9 October 2003 19:54:24 UTC

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