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RE: No Standard Semantic Web Pragmatics?

From: John Black <JohnBlack@deltek.com>
Date: Sun, 13 Jun 2004 09:59:04 -0400
Message-ID: <CBEA695878CA104ABC6E74C6B176927507BD32@DLTKVMX2.ads.deltek.com>
To: "Sandro Hawke" <sandro@w3.org>, "Peter F. Patel-Schneider" <pfps@research.bell-labs.com>
Cc: <public-sw-meaning@w3.org>

> From: Sandro Hawke
> Sent: Friday, June 11, 2004 8:30 AM
> From Peter F. Patel-Schneider:
> > In any case, there are indeed already more-or-less standard 
> ways of doing
> > much of what you appear to want.
> I'm inclined to agree.
> > From: "John Black" <JohnBlack@deltek.com>
> > Subject: No Standard Semantic Web Pragmatics?
> > Date: Thu, 10 Jun 2004 18:17:54 -0400
> > 
> > > So here is what it looks like to me.
> > > 
> > > A general purpose communication system, where:
> > > 
> > > There is no standard way to tell whether whoever is doing it is 
> > > asserting, denying, quoting, or just experimenting with those 
> > > statements.
> >
> > Again, why not the usual situation in the rest of the web?  
> The contents of
> > Semantic Web web pages are asserted, just like other web 
> pages.  Yes, no
> > Semantic Web language currently allows for denying, or 
> quoting, or other
> > relationships between agents and propositions, but this may change.

I don't agree that the default illocutionary force of a web page is 
truth functional assertion of its propositions. The number of counter 
examples must number in the millions. Here are a few: 

Sunset - http://www.nevis.columbia.edu/~hires/pictures/sunset.jpg 
true? or false? Neither, for there are no propositions.

"<foaf:Person rdf:about="#Peter_Frederick_Patel-Schneider">
  <rdf:type rdf:resource="#PerfectBeing" />" 
- http://www-db.research.bell-labs.com/user/pfps/ 
asserted? No, an example of what could happen if you were required 
to believe everything said by the owner of a URI you used.

"302.0 Homosexuality is a type of 
Sexual Deviation" - http://www.wolfbane.com/icd/icd8h.htm.
asserted now? No, a historical record of what the World Health 
Organization believed in 1965.

If you could somehow generalize or abstract or average (and I 
doubt it makes any sense at all to do so) I would say the default 
illocutionary force of a web page was more that of 
the demonstratives, "this stuff", or "this exists", like pointing, 
with the indexical or demostrative resolved by the context of web 
machinery. Or when included on a web page, the most that could be 
said of the illocutionary force of an embedded URI is "that stuff" 
or "this stuff isRelatedTo that stuff."

As a side note, I have a personal suspicion about the genesis of 
one of the ideas behind RDF. The sole evidence for it is that it 
explains (to me, at least) one of the more surprising notions that 
has been advanced about RDF, that the predicate carries the meaning. 
I suspect that after the web was created the creators looked at it 
and thought that it was good. An amazing amount of things can be 
done with just the simple relation of 'isRelatedTo'. Then they said, 
"But can't we do better than just to say this resource 'isLinkedTo' 
that resource? Couldn't we make the relation 'isLinkedTo' (or 
'isRelatedTo') carry more meaning. We should be able to say, 
'isLinkedToAsCreatorOf' or 'isLinkedToAsTheDateOf'. And instead 
of creating the link by embedding one URI in a document identified 
by another URI, lets give that more meaningful 
'isLinkedToAsCreateorOf' a URI name so that the meaning of the 
relation expressed can actually be looked up on the web as well." 
Sorry for the digression and for the error if I am mistaken.

And the absence of "...easy access to disagreements...", the 
ability to disagree with, deny, or refute propositions, as has been 
convincingly argued on this list, is of profound importance.


> >(http://www.wiwiss.fu-berlin.de/suhl/bizer/SWTSGuide/carroll-ISWC2004.pdf)
> > appears to me to fit right into what you want.  

I agree. The development of assertion described in this paper would 
be a great place to start.

John Black

> > > John Black
> > Peter F. Patel-Schneider

> -- sandro
Received on Sunday, 13 June 2004 09:59:05 UTC

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