W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-rdf-logic@w3.org > February 2001

Re: universal languages

From: pat hayes <phayes@ai.uwf.edu>
Date: Mon, 5 Feb 2001 22:30:30 -0600
Message-Id: <v04210120b6a52c8afbab@[]>
To: Drew McDermott <drew.mcdermott@yale.edu>
Cc: connolly@w3.org, www-rdf-logic@w3.org
>Some of the participants in a the discussion assume that
>intensionality = quotation.  It's true that quotation is one way to
>implement intensionality, but it's not the only way.  The other is
>just to use possible-world semantics.  This tends to be more compact
>but lets in a few too many inferences.

Actually quotation ISNT one way to implement intensionality. You 
can't (reasonably) interpret believes, for example, as a predicate on 
quoted expressions, ie interpret
Fred believes Bush isnt the president
as having the logical form:
(Believes Fred "Bush isnt the president")

This is tempting, but it doesnt work, for technical reasons which 
were elaborated by Montague and which I confess I can no longer 
remember the details of.  But believe me, you can't.

>   >  What exactly is the role RDF plays in all this?
>   It's a little teeny formal system based on URIs and XML:
>   two place predicates only, conjunctions and existentials but no
>   negation, disjunction, universals, etc.
>The problem is that RDF is sometimes the small language we plan to
>use, and other times it's just the medium in which the actual language
>is going to be written.  What's driving me a little crazy is that its
>advocates switch back and forth between these two positions.  When its
>inadequacies as a language are pointed out, the RDFites say, "We can
>implement any language we like."  But then the next day they're using
>RDF as the actual language again.

Right on!  It's driving me crazy too.

>Let me repeat the problem: If RDF is just a mechanism for describing
>the syntax of some other language, then it's irrelevant.  If it is the
>actual language, then it's inadequate.


Pat Hayes

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Received on Monday, 5 February 2001 23:27:40 UTC

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