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Re: Denotation of URIs

From: David Menendez <zednenem@psualum.com>
Date: Fri, 4 Apr 2003 12:08:41 -0500
Message-Id: <a05111b1ebab368b85ce4@[]>
To: www-rdf-interest@w3.org

At 7:00 AM -0500 2003-04-04, Peter F. Patel-Schneider wrote:
>  > 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.)

If you wanted to claim in RDF that George Bush is not the 43rd 
President, you would need (1) a URI denoting George Bush, (2) a URI 
representing the property "is not", and (3) a URI denoting the 43rd 
President, whomever that may be.

For example:

	<ex:sdfasfaf> owl:differentIndividualFrom <ex:afasdfasf> .

The problem with that particular example, is that if I sent it to 
someone the chances are slim that they would know what I meant.

>  > 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.

I don't think we're talking about the same thing. What do you mean 
when you say "denotation"?

Also, if there are no constraints on denotation, how can anything be 
said to disagree with anything else?

>  > 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.

You're assuming that <http://www.apple.com/> is somehow intrinsically 
connected to Apple Computers. If, for some reason, I were using 
<http://www.apple.com/> to refer to Microsoft and I made the 

	<http://www.apple.com/> foaf:name "Microsoft".

I would be saying nothing about Apple Computers.

The difficulty arises when I try to share that assertion, because the 
natural interpretation would be that I am claiming something about 
Apple because the URI <http://www.apple.com/> is widely understood to 
be connected with Apple.

Dave Menendez - zednenem@psualum.com - http://www.eyrie.org/~zednenem/
Received on Friday, 4 April 2003 12:08:18 UTC

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