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RE: Can Resource be the top of our ontology ?

From: Danny Ayers <danny@panlanka.net>
Date: Mon, 9 Apr 2001 00:29:00 +0600
To: "Seth Russell" <seth@robustai.net>, "RDF-IG" <www-rdf-interest@w3.org>
Seen Protege? - top level is 'Thing'. They were talking of making other
'things' possible for the base class though - for RDF's benefit.

From another point of view, in the RDF Java API (org.w3c.rdf.*) the top
interface is RDFNode, with subinterfaces Literal, Model, Resource, SetModel,
Statement, VirtualModel. (can't remember URL, sorry)

Think you're off the mark though - without a name, anonymous, ok. But things
without an identity, no-things?

But I'm probably going to get slapped and told to read an advanced
philosophy book...

If you take a look at the issue tracking [1], 'Resource' gets it's name in
lights quite a lot.

[1] http://www.w3.org/2000/03/rdf-tracking

Danny Ayers

<- -----Original Message-----
<- From: www-rdf-interest-request@w3.org
<- [mailto:www-rdf-interest-request@w3.org]On Behalf Of Seth Russell
<- Sent: 09 April 2001 00:08
<- To: RDF-IG
<- Subject: Can Resource be the top of our ontology ?
<- Here, AFIK, thanks to Aaron Swartz's scholarship,
<-  is the ~official~ definition of "Resource".
<- <q cite="http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc2396.txt">
<-     Resource
<-          A resource can be anything that has identity.  Familiar
<-          examples include an electronic document, an image, a service
<-          (e.g., "today's weather report for Los Angeles"), and a
<-          collection of other resources.  Not all resources are network
<-          "retrievable"; e.g., human beings, corporations, and bound
<-          books in a library can also be considered resources.
<-          The resource is the conceptual mapping to an entity or set of
<-          entities, not necessarily the entity which corresponds to that
<-          mapping at any particular instance in time.  Thus, a resource
<-          can remain constant even when its content---the entities to
<-          which it currently corresponds---changes over time, provided
<-          that the conceptual mapping is not changed in the process.
<- </q>
<- But I would like to observe that Resources as defined above do
<- not function
<- nicely as the only valid top of our ontology;  whereas Thing(s)
<- do. Here are
<- my reasons:
<- 1) The definition itself implies that there are things which can have no
<- identity by saying: "A resource can be anything that has
<- identity".  So what
<- happens when we must talk of things with no identity?  Are these
<- things to
<- have no ontological status?  Can I not describe a dust mite that
<- was present
<- in the room in which I was born; or would I have to name the
<- bugger first?
<- 2) We desperately need a way to distinguish between a thing and its model
<- inside a system.  We need to make the age old distinction between a
<- territory and it's map.  I don't see how to do this using the
<- definition of
<- Resource above.  An entire RDF node (all triples with the same subject)
<- function to model or represents something ... yet it obviously is not the
<- thing it models and represents.  We need a way to distinguish between the
<- thing itself and the RDF node which represents it within our computer
<- networks.  The definition above seems to provide no way to make that
<- distinction; since everything it recognizes in it's ontology is
<- a Resource.
<- What am I missing ?
<- But on the other hand if we use Thing as the top of our ontology
<- we can say
<- that Resources are either things like electronic documents or RDF
<- descriptions indside the computer network ... something like ...
<- language: Semenglish
<- Thing
<-     description "The top of our ontology";
<-     scope "Nothing is excluded.  Things even include those things that
<- represent other things".
<- Resource
<-     subClass Thing;
<-     containedIn (a computer network).
<- RDFdescription
<-     subClass Resource;
<-     comment "A set of RDF statements with the same subject";
<-     seeAlso "RDF node", Symbol;
<-     represent [a Thing];
<-     model [ a Thing];
<-     (can be identified by) URI.
<- ElectronicDocuments
<-     subClass Resource;
<-     (can be identified by) URI.
<- Seth
<-     (wants to discuss) Pentuples;
<-     (wants to collaborate on) SEM.
<- Pentuples
<-     see http://robustai.net/mentography/pentuples.gif ;
<-     comment "Are not meant as a replacement or extension of RDF";
<-     comment "Pentuples are a proposal for an internal data structure";
<-     (internal data structure of) SEM.
<- SEM
<-     label "Semantic Memory".
Received on Sunday, 8 April 2001 14:32:44 UTC

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