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Re: Why? Re: rdf as a base for other languages

From: Drew McDermott <drew.mcdermott@yale.edu>
Date: Tue, 5 Jun 2001 11:25:48 -0400 (EDT)
Message-Id: <200106051525.LAA18899@pantheon-po02.its.yale.edu>
To: www-rdf-logic@w3.org

   [Sandro Hawke]
   Where in the current definition of
   RDF does it say that you cannot describe (mention) a triple without
   asserting (using) it?

Section 5 of the usual reference:

http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-rdf-syntax/

A graph can be represented as a set of triples, with all context
information about where a triple came from discarded.

Of course, I am overlooking the fact that Sandro uses the words "describe
(mention)" to paraphrase the claim of mine that he is disagreeing
with.  I wouldn't use those words.  The obvious representation of (if
p q) doesn't "describe" or "mention" the representation of p; it just
*includes* it.  So what Section 5 implies is that a triple cannot be a
part of something you assert without being asserted.  

If Sandro really does mean "describe," then I have no opinion on the
question.  In normal parlance it is certainly true that you can
describe a statement without asserting it, but reification as used in
the RDF community is not description in the usual sense, because there
are contexts in which "de-reification" is automatic, so in those
contexts to describe something *is* to assert it.  (I'm thinking of
contexts like this: Normally asserting a disjunction does not assert
the disjuncts, so they must remain merely described.  But if I assert
a disjunction with just one disjunct, I'm asserting the thing
described.)

                                             -- Drew McDermott
Received on Tuesday, 5 June 2001 11:25:54 GMT

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