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Re: Social Meaning and RDF

From: Seth Russell <seth@robustai.net>
Date: Thu, 06 Feb 2003 06:57:02 -0800
Message-ID: <3E4277BE.6080801@robustai.net>
To: pat hayes <phayes@ai.uwf.edu>, www-rdf-comments@w3.org

Pat,

Wow, that's a mouthful ... glad you said it .. especially the part about  

   "Think of RDF as more like a simple, formalized,
    sharply defined  "natural language" for software agents, .."

.. which is something that I have believed from the very start ... :-)

However I continue to to troubled by:  

       And this is a real constraint, not just a form of words:
       for example, RDF really is monotonic, and that imposes
        some nontrivial conditions on *any* notion of RDF
        meaning, social or otherwise. " .  

I can't seem to wrap my pee brain around the idea that this restraint is 
useful in a nonmonotonic social world where truths are always popping in 
and out of existance.   From a layman's perspective could you elaborate 
on what this restraint really entails ?  How should we think about this 
as we are reading and writing RDF assertions ? 

I'm looking for answers to cases like this one:

Assume:
AgentA pubilishes an ontology where "Birds type FlyingThings".
AgentB publishes and ontology where "Penguins type Birds" and "Penguins 
type NotFlyingThings".
AgentC reads both ontologies adding the entailment "Penguins type 
FlyingThings" according to the MT.  

How is AgentD to remove the contradiction by communicating  to the 
aggregated ontonlgy in RDF ?    
If this is impossible (and I believe that it is), then how can RDF even 
be used for aggregating knowledge?

... my previous readings on this topic are  here:
http://robustai.net/papers/Monotonic_Reasoning_on_the_Semantic_Web.html

Seth Russell
http://radio.weblogs.com/0113759/


--- in response to this context  ----

pat hayes wrote:

>
> Peter, you and I both have a background in AI/KR, so I think I know 
> where you are coming from. We both have been steeped in the need to 
> avoid the gensym fallacy and the concomitant dangers of thinking there 
> is more in one's KR than there really is there, and the use of an MT 
> to provide the needed rigor to resist such errors. But that is all to 
> do with modelling belief: representing the private mental state of a 
> believing agent. The SW really is a different situation. RDF isn't 
> just going to be used by agents to think private thoughts with, it's 
> not a Fodorian Language of Thought; if anything, its more like a 
> language for agents to talk to one another with. You know the classic 
> 'grounding problem' for formal KR semantic theories? Well, RDF in use 
> is grounded by its surrounding context of use, and it may be only a 
> small part of something much larger, which is representing other 
> information in other ways. Think of RDF as more like a simple, 
> formalized, sharply defined "natural language" for software agents, 
> something whose chief function is for communication, not for thinking 
> with; and then observe that the software agents are also working in a 
> context which involves human and social 'agents'. We really do not 
> know what aspects of meaning might arise in the uses of RDF in such 
> contexts, and we don't really need to know: but we DO need to say, 
> normatively, that whatever they are, they ought to at least *respect* 
> the minimal constraints on meaning described by the formal MT, so that 
> the use of inference processes which depend on these constraints does 
> not destroy or distort these social or contextual aspects of meaning. 
> And this is a real constraint, not just a form of words: for example, 
> RDF really is monotonic, and that imposes some nontrivial conditions 
> on *any* notion of RDF meaning, social or otherwise.
>
>> , and thus could easily create documents holding the
>> organization liable for just about any imaginable consequence.
>
>
> The liability would be determined by the same social/commercial/legal 
> rules and conventions that govern normal human intercourse already. 
> The point at issue is only that the use of RDF inference somewhere in 
> the overall process should not be seen as cancelling or nullifying the 
> normal machinery of human communication (including communication via 
> the Web.) So RDF entailment can't possibly create new liabilities out 
> of a vacuum, but it can transmit liabilities which would have been 
> present anyway. You can't hide from your liabilities by saying: the 
> formal RDF inferences cancelled all that social stuff. Seems fair 
> enough to me.
>
>> In this
>> case I would have no choice but to tell Lucent Technologies not to 
>> deploy
>> any RDF applications.
>
>
> Well, that would be Lucent's loss, but I think you would be 
> over-reacting.
>
> Pat
>
Received on Thursday, 6 February 2003 09:57:39 GMT

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