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

Re: performatives and trust

From: Lynn Andrea Stein <lynn.stein@olin.edu>
Date: Thu, 07 Jun 2001 14:55:56 -0400
Message-ID: <3B1FCE3B.5BFA3E1B@olin.edu>
To: pat hayes <phayes@ai.uwf.edu>
CC: www-rdf-logic@w3.org
Ah, now *you* are making assumptions about *me* and what I meant:

pat hayes wrote:

> >I think that Pat will fundamentally disagree with what I just said, and I
> >expect that most who come from logicist backgrounds will join him in this.
> I might add, however, in response to your quick assumption
> about my narrowmindedness,

(1) I did not quickly assume anything.  I was explicitly stating my understanding
of your position so that that understanding could be tested.  (Note the use of
the phrase "I think that...")  Evidently, I had misunderstood you, and I'm
grateful for the clarification.

(2) *You* used the word narrowmindedness.  I did not, nor did I mean to imply
such a thing.  G-d knows, your mind is anything but narrow!

> that the idea that the "logicist
> background" is somehow restricted to narrow, confined, closed worlds
> is itself a profoundly misleading impression...

Nonetheless, in (almost all classical) logic, there *is* a truth of the matter,
whether it's known or not.  On the web, I don't believe there (always) is.  I
think the classical paradoxes (particularly of knowledge and belief) are likely
to recur in spades.  Note that this is separate from the social-embedding
question, on which just a few words towards the end of this message.

> What I meant was that once one has access to a URL where an ontology
> is located - a web-site containing some DAML, to make the example
> concrete - *all* the DAML on the website is fully and immediately
> available,

Probably.  And I'll presume that you *don't* draw the conclusion that all the
"relevant" DAML is on the website.  (I'm not interested in defining relevant
precisely here....)  Please let me know if this presumption on my part is wrong.
I think that this is nearing the heart of the issue from the logical (as I
understand you to be using it) perspective.

> and moreover, there isn't anything else 'behind' it, in
> contrast to the thoughts, intentions, desires and so on that give
> rise to speech acts.

Um, this part I'm not so sure of.  We'd need to unpack it further.  (A) I fully
expect BDI-type and conversational agents on the web.  (B) My understanding of
the web is VERY strongly embedded in a social context.

But this is clearly off the central issue at the moment, which is whether --
devoid of any social context -- there's a truth of the matter on the web.  (I'm
trying to stick to logic here, as you understand it and not as you take me to
understand it.)

> If we think of ontologies as like formalised
> knowledge (most ontologies seem more like formalised thought than
> formalised speech), then the prototypical communicative act is more
> like a direct transfer of mentalese than a speech act.

This is where I think (again, I'm postulating...) that there's a gap in
perspectives.  It's my impression that those coming from the web world take
communication in a way that those coming from a logicist world would associate
with speech acts, while those from logicist backgrounds may not.

Lots of interesting comments deleted because I think they're a separate argument
for another time.  But summarizing:

> Its a small point, maybe, but I made it in response to Tim Finin's
> pointer to work on speech acts in this context. I think that the
> analogy of web agent communication to human communication is often
> taken for granted; but that it should be looked at more carefully, as
> it isn't as exact or as automatic as is often assumed. Even on the
> semantic web, software agents really aren't much like human agents,
> and they really do not have a social life, all the hype
> notwithstanding.

I do not share your understanding.  My failure to see things from your
perspective may be mistaken, but it is not naively so.  It is my well-considered
(and, perhaps you'll grant me, somewhat educated) opinion that web communication
*is* socially embedded in a very real sense.  But I really think we should unpack
one issue at a time.

Received on Thursday, 7 June 2001 14:56:25 UTC

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