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Impact of formal semantics on informal meanings

From: Graham Klyne <GK@ninebynine.org>
Date: Fri, 28 Feb 2003 12:52:52 +0000
Message-Id: <>
To: Seth Russell <seth@robustai.net>
Cc: pat hayes <phayes@ai.uwf.edu>, www-rdf-comments@w3.org

I encountered an example in some work on network access control I 
did...  It wouldn't strictly be a test case, since there is no way to 
mechanically test it, but if it seems appropriate I can dig it out.

And there was another that came up in discussion of RDF vocabulary for 


At 11:25 AM 2/27/03 -0800, Seth Russell wrote:

>pat hayes wrote:
>>>>that any social meaning applied to RDF usage at least be *conformant*
>>>>to the formal meaning.
>>>But what does it mean to conform?
>>BE such as would be preserved under valid (according to the MT) entailments.
>I would like to see a test case of that.  Let me propose one and you can 
>tell me if I am close.   Suppose there is a web service [A] that adds a 
>person's name to a database when it discovers a  RDF document which 
>asserts that he\she is a person.  For example someone publishes the 
>document [B].  Is the social meaning of document [B] something like [P]: 
>"[A] should add the name 'Pat Hayes' to the person database with the email 
>address of  'phayes@ai.uwf.edu' " ?
>Document [B] contains the triples:
>_:a  rdf:type foaf:Person
>_:a  foaf:mbox "phayes@ai.uwf.edu"
>_:a  foaf:givenname "Pat"
>_:a foaf:surname "Hayes"
>If the web service does add your name and email address  to the database, 
>is it conforming?
>Now lets say that agent [A] discovers another document [C] which contains 
>the triples below:
>_:a  rdf:type ex:Bot
>_:a  foaf:mbox "sethBot@robustai.net"
>_:a  foaf:givenname "SethBot"
>and somewhere else [A] discovers [D]:
>ex:Bot rdf:subClass foaf:Person
>If the web service does *not* add my name to the databse, would you say it 
>was *not* conforming ?
>Is that a legitimate example of  "social meaning applied to RDF usage 
>being at least be *conformant*  to the formal meaning" ?
>Suppose the triple is common knowledge amoung such web services but [A] 
>never does discover it.  Has the social meaning of document [C]
>changed?  Has the  conformance of the web service changed ?
>Seth Russell

Graham Klyne
Received on Friday, 28 February 2003 08:32:20 UTC

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