# Re: Comments on ioctl (was: Re: big issue (2001-09-28#13))

From: Pat Hayes <phayes@ai.uwf.edu>
Date: Mon, 8 Oct 2001 20:00:13 -0500
Message-Id: <p0510101bb7e7f9e9b16a@[205.160.76.193]>
To: Jan Grant <Jan.Grant@bristol.ac.uk>

```>On Fri, 5 Oct 2001, Pat Hayes wrote:
>
>>  >I've been thinking along very similar lines. See
>>  >http://ioctl.org/rdf/literals
>>  >which has a mix of related ideas, some good, some bad, some wrong.
>>
>>  Let me pick up on one of them and chew on it: the idea that a literal
>>  is a self-denoting entity. This is a very appealing idea, and it
>>  works for strings, but I don't think it can be made to work (without
>>  modification) for any other kinds of literal.  In particular, one of
>>  your examples is 'the number 12'. But numbers are denoted by
>>  numerals, not numbers; numerals, not numbers, are the syntactic
>>  labels that we use to label graph nodes. So I take it that the
>>  intention in treating '12' as a "literal number" is in fact that the
>>  *numeral* '12' is the literal, and that its interpretation is fixed
>>  to be the number 12 (that is, the number whose prime factors are 2,2
>>  and 3; the square root of 144; denoted variously by the numerals '12'
>>  in decimal, '1100' in binary, and '14' in octal). But in none of
>>  these cases is the numerical literal *identical* to its
>>  interpretation.
>
>Actually, I had a stronger notion, which was that conceptually, the
>number (not a numeral representation) should be the "label" in a graph.

Ah, that is a nice idea. It has some odd consequences, though. Graphs
with number labels cannot be stored inside computers, send over
packet-switched networks, printed, etc... They have to be Platonic
graphs, not data structures. And why stop at numbers? ;-)

>	(Forgive an argument by analogy, but
>	We accept concepts like "the set { 1, 2, 3 }" which is
>	conceptually a set of numbers, not numerals)
>
>So it really _is_ the number 1 labelling a node in the graph.
>
>However, any concrete realisation of such an RDF graph must, of course,
>use a representation (be it numeral or otherwise); this is true whether
>it's an "RDF database" or an "RDF/XML serialisation". If it makes any
>sense, I'd like to separate the two notions.

Hmm. That gives us an extra layer of representation, which I find
clunky. There is the lexicalisation which encodes the
graph-in-the-machine which represents the abstract graph which
describes the interpretation....

>Talk is cheap: free, as in beer. As in Real Ale, not that Budweiser rubbish.

I am proud to tell you that here in Pensacola, not half a mile from
my house, is McGuires, the first micro-brewery in the US and still
the maker of the best Red, Irish Pale Ale and stout you will find
within 3000 miles.

Pat

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Received on Monday, 8 October 2001 21:00:21 UTC

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