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Re: Comment on the concepts document

From: Frank Manola <fmanola@mitre.org>
Date: Tue, 22 Oct 2002 14:24:16 -0400
Message-ID: <3DB597D0.3F2B7132@mitre.org>
To: Graham Klyne <Graham.Klyne@mimesweeper.com>
CC: RDF core WG <w3c-rdfcore-wg@w3.org>

Graham--

This text is OK with me.  One nit:  substitute "denials" for "denals" in

> (e.g. citations, denals or illustrations).

--Frank


Graham Klyne wrote:
> 
> Frank,
> 
> OK, I think I've now got something closer to what you're suggesting.  My
> proposed section 2.3.2 now looks like this (specifically, the first 3
> paragraphs).
> 
> [[
> 2.3.2 Social meaning
> 
> RDF/XML documents, i.e. encodings of RDF graphs, can be used to make
> representations of claims or assertions about the 'real' world.  But
> not every RDF/XML document does so.
> 
> While the formal semantics of an RDF statement (triple) is that of a
> distinct assertion, individual RDF statements may convey meaning that
> is partly determined by the circumstances in which they are used.  For
> example, in English, a statement "I don't believe that George is a
> clown" contains the words "George is a clown", which, considered in
> isolation, have the form of an assertion that George exhibits certain
> comic qualities.  However, considering the whole sentence, no such
> assertion is considered to be made.
> 
> Similarly, a collection of RDF statements having an assertional form
> could be presented in a context that they are not understood to be
> stating a truth.  Thus, there is a distinction between RDF expressions
> that are asserted, and those that are not.
> 
> When an RDF graph is asserted in the web, its publisher is saying
> something about their view of the world. Such an assertion should be
> understood to carry the same social import and responsibilities as an
> assertion in any other format. A combination of social (e.g. legal) and
> technical machinery (protocols, file formats, publication frameworks)
> provide the contexts that fix the intended meanings of the vocabulary
> of some piece of RDF, and which distinguish assertions from other uses
> (e.g. citations, denals or illustrations).
> 
> The technical machinery includes protocols for transferring information
> (e.g. HTTP, SMTP) and file formats for encapsulating and labelling
> information (e.g. MIME, XML). A media type, application/rdf+xml [RDF-
> MIME-TYPE] is being registered for indicating the use of RDF/XML as
> distinct from some other XML that happens to look like RDF. Issuing an
> HTTP GET request and obtaining data with a "200 OK" response code is a
> technical indication that the received data was published at the
> request URI; but data received with a "404 Not found" response cannot
> be considered to be similarly published information.
> 
> The social machinery includes the form of publication: publishing some
> unqualified statements on one's World Wide Web home page would
> generally be taken as an assertion of those statements. But publishing
> the same statements with a qualification, such as "here are some common
> myths", or as part of a rebuttal, would likely not be construed as an
> assertion of the truth of those statements. Similar considerations
> apply to the publication of assertions expressed in RDF.
> 
> Noting that there is no single human opinion about the truth of some
> statements, the graph may further contain commentary for human
> interpreters to indicate the realm of human interpretation that should
> be applied. This means a graph may contain "defining information" that
> is opaque to logical reasoners. This information may be used by human
> interpreters of RDF information, or programmers writing software to
> perform specialized forms of deduction in the Semantic Web.
> 
> When a user invokes an application that uses RDF, there is also a
> social and technical context of invocation that determines some set of
> RDF assertions that will be assumed to be true: the application itself,
> and any RDF files that are passed to it. Garbage-in, garbage-out
> applies: if the initial assumed facts are wrong or meaningless, the
> results will have little value. No specific mechanisms for deciding or
> evaluating the validity of any such assertions are defined here.
> ]]
> 

-- 
Frank Manola                   The MITRE Corporation
202 Burlington Road, MS A345   Bedford, MA 01730-1420
mailto:fmanola@mitre.org       voice: 781-271-8147   FAX: 781-271-8752
Received on Tuesday, 22 October 2002 14:28:09 EDT

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