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Re: use/mention and reification

From: Graham Klyne <Graham.Klyne@MIMEsweeper.com>
Date: Tue, 22 Jan 2002 22:45:13 +0000
Message-Id: <>
To: Dan Brickley <danbri@w3.org>
Cc: Jan Grant <Jan.Grant@bristol.ac.uk>, Dan Connolly <connolly@w3.org>, RDFCore Working Group <w3c-rdfcore-wg@w3.org>
At 10:42 AM 1/22/02 -0500, Dan Brickley wrote:
>Can we try a variation on this example instead, please? For those who get
>the cultural reference ('clark kent' and 'superman' being two names for
>the same thing, although Lois doesn't know this) it seems to draw out the
>issues nicely. Borrowing from
>  http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/prop-attitude-reports/index.html#amb :
>         lois accepts "Superman is Strong"
>         (lois does not accept "Clark Kent is Strong")

I might argue that, in the point of view of the observer whose belief is 
being expressed, the symbols do NOT denote the same thing.  They may denote 
different facets of some common underlying entity, but they are still 
different facets that are denoted.

Or, to look at it another way, what are the statements that one might make?:

   Superman is a hero who saves the world
   Superman has superhuman vision

   Clark Kent is a run-of-the-mill newspaper reporter
   Clark Kent wears glasses, therefore probably has imperfect vision

I would say that there are a number of possible interpretations of Superman 
that might satisfy the first set of statements, but the same 
interpretations applied to Clark Kent would not satisfy the second 
set.  There are fewer possible interpretations thus applied that could 
satisfy both sets of statements.

So what is the RDF behind Lois' beliefs? (slipping into N3)...

    [ a foaf:Person ;
      foaf:name "Lois" ;
        { [ a foaf:Person ; foaf:name "Superman" ] es:is ex:Strong } ;
        { [ a foaf:Person ; foaf:name "Clark Kent" ] es:is ex:Strong }

This way of coding the information has the things whose interpretation is 
possibly local ("Superman", "Clark Kent") expressed as literals, not as URIs.

(I concede the above begs an understanding of what is meant by "{...}", and 
it seems plausible to suggest it's a collection of the reifications of the 
contained statements, which doesn't really answer the underlying question 
here.  BUT I think it does sidestep the issue of having the RDF 
interpretation of some label being bound to Lois' belief about the 
denotation of that label.)


Graham Klyne                    MIMEsweeper Group
Strategic Research              <http://www.mimesweeper.com>
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Received on Tuesday, 22 January 2002 18:04:08 UTC

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