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Re: Dealing with changing referents (was: Re: Working on glossary)

From: Pat Hayes <phayes@ai.uwf.edu>
Date: Thu, 13 Sep 2001 10:27:20 -0500
Message-Id: <p05101009b7c67f2f4a74@[205.160.76.210]>
To: "Jeremy Carroll" <jjc@hplb.hpl.hp.com>
Cc: w3c-rdfcore-wg@w3.org
>Pat:
>>  The RDF model theory as it stands simply does not support the notion
>>  of an URI meaning 'the current weather report'. There is no notion of
>>  'current'  or 'now' or 'at the time of accessing' in the semantics.
>
>I have tried to keep out of a discussion that seems to me to be a red
>herring.
>
>All human communication suffers from the problems being discussed here.
>
>In a more mathematical setting, such as the model theory, we tend to gloss
>over some of those problems, by making, generally false, assumptions, such
>as time-invariance.
>
>Saussaure and others have made the well-known division of the sign into the
>signifier and the signified, and we seem to be struggling over well worn
>paths.
>
>For me this boils down to:
>
>RDF makes statements using URI refs as its words, Resources are the things
>referred to by these words. All languages that try to refer to a wide range
>of things there are philosophical problems with how such reference happens.
>In practice, these problems should be ignored (except by professional
>philosophers). As in all languages, more or less anything can be referred to
>using a URI ref. RDF does not restrict the act of reference in any way. As
>in all languages, words that are intended to refer to inappropriate concepts
>will be found to be less than useful, but are not illegal.
>A concept that is practically useful is appropriate one that isn't useful is
>not appropriate.

All true, all true. Two small comments.
1. We have to worry about communication between machines as well as 
humans, and that seems to require playing by different (and 
'stricter') rules; and
2. One can give model theories for languages (eg tense logics) that 
have explicit temporal sensitivity. I see the longer-term issue being 
whether a future MT might want to *not* make this simplifying 
assumption, and to aim our work in that direction, or at least 
attempt to avoid saying anything that would hamper that future effort.

Also, to return to the glossary issue, I would like the glossary to 
reflect the technical work that has been done, rather than our hopes 
for the future.

Pat
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Received on Thursday, 13 September 2001 11:27:23 EDT

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