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Terms and statements (was: consensus and ownership)

From: Graham Klyne <GK@ninebynine.org>
Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2003 14:52:43 +0100
Message-Id: <>
To: "Thomas B. Passin" <tpassin@comcast.net>, public-sw-meaning@w3.org

At 08:47 16/10/03 -0400, Thomas B. Passin wrote:
>Graham Klyne wrote:
>>This idea of meaning being based in consensus also appears in the work by 
>>Quine that I mentioned the other week [1].
>>A possible difference in position would be that you talk about the 
>>meaning of a URI, where Quine's analysis suggest that it's not the 
>>individual terms but complete statements that have meaning.  (I think 
>>that's a point that Pat has been trying to press, too.)
>I think that individual terms _do_ have meaning for people.  For example, 
>the word "gravity" certainly has meaning for me.  It may well be that my 
>sense of its meaning comes mainly from a large collection of statments 
>that I have heard or uttered in the past - along with personal experience 
>- but nevertheless the term itself carries meaning for me.

So it may.  But we can never be sure that the meaning it has for you is the 
same as the meaning it has for, say, me.  What we can agree on, however, is 
some collection of statements using the term "gravity" that we both agree 
to be true.  To this extent, it seems that when we seek shared meaning, 
it's easier to find it in statements than in individual terms.


Graham Klyne
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Received on Thursday, 16 October 2003 10:06:11 UTC

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