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Re: Denotation of URIs

From: Peter F. Patel-Schneider <pfps@research.bell-labs.com>
Date: Fri, 04 Apr 2003 07:00:01 -0500 (EST)
Message-Id: <20030404.070001.98595733.pfps@research.bell-labs.com>
To: zednenem@psualum.com
Cc: www-rdf-interest@w3.org

From: David Menendez <zednenem@psualum.com>
Subject: Denotation of URIs (was: URI for language identifiers)
Date: Fri, 4 Apr 2003 02:13:02 -0500

> 
> At 7:49 PM -0500 2003-04-02, Peter F. Patel-Schneider wrote:
> >However, even
> >in this very expansive notion of property there are (still) considerable
> >``fair use'' provisions.  Hopefully these provisions will not be so
> >weakened that I will be prohibited from making the claim that the
> >denotation of http://www.whitehouse.gov/#43 is Tipper Gore's husband.
> 
> The only reason anyone might object to that would be if there was 
> already a widespread understanding that 
> <http://www.whitehouse.gov/#43> denotes "The 43rd President of the 
> U.S."

But even so, one might want to argue that "The 43rd President of the U.S."
is not George W. Bush.  Requiring a common, fixed denotation for all URI
references would eliminate this possibility.  (Unless, of course, you meant
that there was some sort of intensional denotation here.)

> Since the whole point of the SW, at some level, is to communicate, it 
> seems reasonable to go with the flow. If there is disagreement about 
> what a particular URI denotes, then it's probably a good idea not to 
> use it.

I completely disagree with this.  If you nail down the denotations of
everything, then why bother with the Semantic Web?  It appears to me that
the benefits of the Semantic Web (over XML, for example) are intimately
involved with partial and conflicting information.

> My friends and I could use a private interpretation where 
> <http://www.apple.com/> denotes Microsoft, but any data created under 
> that interpretation would have limited usefulness because we couldn't 
> share it with the outside world. Particularly since the another point 
> of the SW is to be less ambiguous than natural language.

Why could you not share this with the outside world?  Perhaps your view is
correct.  Perhaps Apple and Microsoft are in reality the same corporation.

> Dave Menendez - zednenem@psualum.com - http://www.eyrie.org/~zednenem/

Peter F. Patel-Schneider
Bell Labs Research
Lucent Technologies
Received on Friday, 4 April 2003 07:00:11 GMT

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