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Re: New issue - Meaning of URIs in RDF documents

From: Simon St.Laurent <simonstl@simonstl.com>
Date: Fri, 18 Jul 2003 14:12:31 -0400
To: www-tag@w3.org
Message-ID: <r02000000-1026-66733001B94B11D7881D0003937A08C2@[192.168.124.11]>

In http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-tag/2003Jul/0158.html, Tim
Berners-Lee writes:
>...we are not analyzing a world, we are building it.  We are not 
>experimental philosophers, we are philosophical engineers.

In http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-tag/2003Jul/0203.html, Tim
Berners-Lee writes:
>No.  We are defining the semantic web NOT to work like natural
>language, but to work like mathematics... 

It is my hope that the TAG is aware that most engineering projects,
while they have mathematical foundations, also take into account the
uncertainty of the world in which they operate, especially the human
world.  

Engineers who build systems which come into frequent contact with humans
have an especially difficult job, as they have to account for the many
variables that humans can introduce to projects which seemed so simple
in their absence.

The current discussion between Pat Hayes and Tim Berners-Lee feels to me
like a conversation between an engineer who appreciates the interactions
between his work and humans, and an engineer who wants the people to get
out of the way of the good work he'd like to do strictly mathematically
- as if machine-to-machine communications permits or even requires
excluding human concerns from the process.

The familiar Web has done an excellent job of dealing with human
factors. I'd encourage the TAG to reflect on how best to carry that
success to the Semantic Web.  I don't think that's a matter so much of
experimental philosophy as of pragmatic philosophy, stripped of Platonic
visions but hopefully still useful.

-- 
Simon St.Laurent
Ring around the content, a pocket full of brackets
Errors, errors, all fall down!
http://simonstl.com -- http://monasticxml.org
Received on Friday, 18 July 2003 14:12:38 UTC

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