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Re: Can RDF say anything about anything?

From: pat hayes <phayes@ai.uwf.edu>
Date: Tue, 11 Feb 2003 16:11:31 -0600
Message-Id: <p05111b3aba6f1a2ac8ad@[]>
To: fmanola@mitre.org
Cc: pfps@research.bell-labs.com, bwm@hplb.hpl.hp.com, www-rdf-comments@w3.org

>I know this thread has died down, but I'd like to get some clarification
>on exactly what needs fixing in the Primer.  The Primer doesn't say (I
>don't know how to interpret "indicate") "that RDF can be used to let
>anyone 'say anything they want about existing resources' ".  What the
>Primer says, following some examples, is "These examples also illustrate
>one of the basic architectural principles of the Web, which is that
>anyone should be able say anything they want about existing resources
>[BERNERS-LEE98]."  That seems like a reasonable statement under the
>circumstances (part of the circumstances being that the Primer is
>clearly not describing a rule that is to be applied by an RDF/XML
>parser).  Are there problems with the actual statement in the Primer?

I think the problem might be with any form of words like "able say 
anything they want". In one way of understanding these words, they 
mean something like, "not prohibited from saying anything they feel 
like saying using the formalism, on any topic they choose", which of 
course is so harmless as an observation that it hardly seems worth 
saying. But in another way of understanding those words is "enabled 
by the formalism to have the ability to express any proposition" 
which is an absurd claim. I think the words were meant in something 
close to the first sense, but are being read in something close to 
the second sense.


>"Peter F. Patel-Schneider" wrote:
>>  From: Brian McBride <bwm@hplb.hpl.hp.com>
>>  Subject: Re: Can RDF say anything about anything?
>>  Date: Fri, 31 Jan 2003 06:51:29 +0000
>>  > At 09:48 30/01/2003 -0500, Peter F. Patel-Schneider wrote:
>>  >
>>  > >Can RDF say anything about anything?
>>  > >
>>  > >The RDF documents are contradictory on this point.  The Primer indicates
>>  > >that RDF can be used to let anyone ``say anything they want 
>>about existing
>>  > >resources'' with no exception for the resources used by RDF.  [Section
>>  > > 3.2] Concepts says
>>  > >that ``RDF is an open-world framework that allows anyone to make simple
>>  > >assertions about anything''.  [Section 2.2.6, and elsewhere]
>>  > > However, Concepts also says that ``Certain
>>  > >URIs are reserved for use by RDF, and may not be used for any purpose not
>>  > >sanctioned the RDF specifications.'' [Section 3.7]
>>  > >
>>  > >What is the situation here?
>>  >
>>  > Peter,
>>  >
>>  > As this comment affects several documents, I'll respond.
>>  >
>>  > As a general point, it is helpful if you can provide links to the sections
>>  > of documents where you have a problem with the text, or at the least
>>  > section numbers.
>>  Isn't that what the Search/Find capabilities of browsers are for?  I would
>>  expect that an interested reader would want to know where else Concepts
>>  talks about being able to say anything about anything.  I've added section
>>  numbers to my comment above.
>Frank Manola                   The MITRE Corporation
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Received on Tuesday, 11 February 2003 17:11:41 UTC

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