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RE: A plea for peace. was: RE: DAML+OIL (March 2001) released: a correction

From: Peter F. Patel-Schneider <pfps@research.bell-labs.com>
Date: Wed, 04 Apr 2001 06:18:58 -0400
To: jborden@mediaone.net
Cc: phayes@ai.uwf.edu, www-rdf-logic@w3.org
Message-Id: <20010404061858D.pfps@research.bell-labs.com>
From: "Jonathan Borden" <jborden@mediaone.net>
Subject: RE: A plea for peace. was: RE: DAML+OIL (March 2001) released: a  correction
Date: Tue, 3 Apr 2001 23:09:57 -0400

[...]

> No one argues the utility of logic, yet logic systems have not achieved
> widespread usage over the last several decades.

I beg to differ.  One of the great successes of computer science is the
development and widespread adoption of relational data bases, which are
logics, or near enough, in my eyes, for the purposes of this debate.
To further this line of argument, relational data bases had, from the
beginning, a full-fledged semantics, and, in my opion, would have fallen
flat on their faces if they did not have same.

> My view of the reason for this, partly based on personal experience in the
> field, is that logic systems traditionally operate on a closed world model
> (and realize that I am using english terms here). The real problems aren't
> in the logic, rather in the assumptions made in modeling the real world.
> Those assumptions cause subtle but real problems that propagate through the
> system. We need to interact with the world as we find it, not as we model
> it.

Again, relational data bases are built on a closed world assumption, and
they have been quite successful.  Further, a big difference between
relational data bases and most logics is precisely that most logics operate
on an open world assumption. 

[...]

> What interests me about this new experiment is that it will not be self
> contained and while that will introduce new and perhaps difficult problems
> it will also make things interesting.

Agreed, there are lots of interesting and difficult issues in the web.  All
the more reason to make sure that we are starting with a firm foundation.

> -Jonathan

Peter F. Patel-Schneider
Bell Labs Research
Received on Wednesday, 4 April 2001 06:20:13 GMT

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