W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > semantic-web@w3.org > July 2010

Re: Subjects as Literals

From: Jeremy Carroll <jeremy@topquadrant.com>
Date: Tue, 06 Jul 2010 19:36:25 -0700
Message-ID: <4C33E829.8040707@topquadrant.com>
To: Hugh Glaser <hg@ecs.soton.ac.uk>
CC: Sampo Syreeni <decoy@iki.fi>, David Booth <david@dbooth.org>, Kingsley Idehen <kidehen@openlinksw.com>, "nathan@webr3.org" <nathan@webr3.org>, Pat Hayes <phayes@ihmc.us>, Toby Inkster <tai@g5n.co.uk>, Dan Brickley <danbri@danbri.org>, Linked Data community <public-lod@w3.org>, Semantic Web <semantic-web@w3.org>
  On 7/5/2010 3:40 PM, Hugh Glaser wrote:
> A particular problem in this realm has been characterised as
> S-P-O v. O-R-O and I suspect that this reflects a Semantic Web/Linked Data
> cultural difference,
<SNIP>
> You see this as a problem of having a literal in the "subject" position.
> I might equally decide it is a problem with having literal in the "object"
> position.
> Literals are literals wherever they appear - they have no deeper semantics,
> and they certainly do not identify anything other than the literal that they
> are, if that makes sense.
>>

<SNIP>
> Ah, perhaps the nub.
> The "subject" is no more the thing "being talked about" than the "object".
> I am not asking for symmetry of the grammar, if I understand what you mean.
> I am asking for the freedom to express the statements I want in the way I
> want, so that I can query the way I want.
> At the risk of repeating myself:
> If someone wants to say "666" foo:isTheNumberOf bar:theBeast
> and I have to tell them (as I do) ah, you can't say that, you need to
> introduce a resource numbers:666 rdfs:label "666". ...
> or  bar:theBeast foo:hasNumber "666"
> I actually feel pretty stupid, having told them that RDF represents
> relations in a natural and basic way.
> In fact, I always feel a bit embarrassed when I get to the bit in my slides
> that shows there are two sorts of triples, as I have just said that the
> triples are just a directed graph.

Just to mischievously throw a further linguistic spanner in the works ....
(maybe that's a troll alert)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ergative%E2%80%93absolutive_language

If we consider RDF as an ergative language, then the first position is 
necessarily an agent, and moreover, literals MUST NOT be agents

http://www.w3.org/2001/01/mp23

(My first research paper was on the Basque auxiliary verb, see Carroll 
and Abaitua 1990)

This would have interesting consequences for n-ary predicates

Jeremy
Received on Wednesday, 7 July 2010 02:36:59 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.1 : Tuesday, 1 March 2016 07:42:21 UTC