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Re: [RDF-concepts:113-Various] Re: Social Meaning and RDF

From: Peter F. Patel-Schneider <pfps@research.bell-labs.com>
Date: Tue, 25 Feb 2003 11:32:38 -0500 (EST)
Message-Id: <20030225.113238.22723331.pfps@research.bell-labs.com>
To: GK@ninebynine.org
Cc: bwm@hplb.hpl.hp.com, www-rdf-comments@w3.org

From: Graham Klyne <GK@ninebynine.org>
Subject: Re: [RDF-concepts:113-Various] Re: Social Meaning and RDF
Date: Fri, 21 Feb 2003 18:01:09 +0000

> Peter,
> 
> At 01:53 PM 2/19/03 -0500, Peter F. Patel-Schneider wrote:
> > > (b) If so, does any such meaning affect the behaviour of an RDF 
> > application?
> >
> >See above.
> >
> > > My answer here is an emphatic "no".  RDF does not require or expect that
> > > RDF applications have awareness of any social meaning that may be conveyed
> > > by RDF content.
> >
> >I don't understand this reasoning.  If social meaning has importance to
> >RDF, then RDF applications will have to be cognizant of the entirety of
> >social meaning to avoid legal problems.
> 
> I just re-read your comment, and noticed:  "If social meaning has importance to
> RDF ...".  I think that's not what we're trying to say;  rather:
> (a) RDF can have importance for social meaning, and
> (b) RDF can convey propositions that are opaque to RDF, but may be 
> interpreted socially.
> 
> #g

Well, having a normative section on social meaning sure seems to imply that
social meaning *has* importance to RDF.  If not, then why bother to have a
section on social meaning (normative or not)?

If all you are trying to imply is 
> (a) RDF can have importance for social meaning, and
> (b) RDF can convey propositions that are opaque to RDF, but may be 
> interpreted socially.
then I see no need to even mention this in the RDF documents.

Social conventions will determine whether RDF has importance for social
meanings.  The only thing that the RDF documents could contribute to this
would be a statement to the effect that RDF is *not* supposed to have
importance for social meanings, although even this could easily be
disregarded by social conventions.

Any formal language can (and, in my opinion, necessarily does) convey
meanings that are opaque to the language itself.  These meanings may be
part of social meanings, or not, but again the only thing that the RDF
documents could, perhaps, have a chance of making stick here is a
statement that RDF should not be used to convey social meanings.

Part of my point is that having a section on social meaning in the RDF
documents has its own social meaning, namely that there is supposed to be
some closer connection between RDF and social meaning than might be
expected.  This closer connection is troubling me.  The example is even
more troubling in that it implies an extremely close connection between RDF
and *any* social meaning.


Peter F. Patel-Schneider
Bell Labs Research
Lucent Technologies
Received on Tuesday, 25 February 2003 11:34:06 GMT

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