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Re: Yorick Wilks on Semantic Web & httpRange-14

From: Melvin Carvalho <melvincarvalho@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 15 May 2012 17:57:07 +0200
Message-ID: <CAKaEYh+kJqAVuJDi0GBNsVtpdUBpk_2b58t6FV6-mYobBL0pVA@mail.gmail.com>
To: David Booth <david@dbooth.org>
Cc: Henry Story <henry.story@bblfish.net>, Larry Masinter <masinter@adobe.com>, "ywilks@ihmc.us" <ywilks@ihmc.us>, "www-tag@w3.org" <www-tag@w3.org>, "Harry Halpin (hhalpin@ibiblio.org)" <hhalpin@ibiblio.org>
On 15 May 2012 17:42, David Booth <david@dbooth.org> wrote:

> The biggest mistake ever made in the semantic web community was to call
> it the *semantic* web, because that term misleads people into thinking
> that it is about semantics or meaning, when in fact it is simply about
> facilitating machine processing.
>
> As interesting as Yorick Wilks's talk sounds, I worry that these
> discussions of "meaning" will again mislead people into thinking that we
> need to solve such philosophical inquiries in order to properly engineer
> the semantic web.
>
> David Booth
>
> P.S. "Linked data" seems like a good alternate term these days.
>

Reminds me of one of my favorite quotes:

The important word in 'Semantic Web' is 'Web'
-- DanC

:)


>
> On Mon, 2012-05-14 at 20:11 +0200, Henry Story wrote:
> > On 8 May 2012, at 19:43, Larry Masinter wrote:
> >
> > > I saw the notice of a talk (abstract below) on the philoweb list.
> > The issues raised seem quite related to the difficulties I have had
> > with the use of URIs as the means by which assertions expressed in the
> > semantic web are grounded in the world so that they become assertions
> > about the real world; the difficulty is with " agreed meanings for
> > terms".  These difficulties (IMO) underlie the controversies around
> > previous W3C TAG "findings" on "the range of HTTP".
> > >
> > > Lately, I've been trying to argue that we will make more progress on
> > issues of pressing concern around web security, provenance, trust,
> > certificates, and other issues, if we move away from talking about
> > "meaning" and instead focus a model in which trust, belief, identity,
> > persistence are explicit.
> >
> > I think those two are not at all incompatible.
> >
> > It is true that meaning is one of those concepts that many philosophers
> have had trouble with, not
> > least Willard Van Orman Quine who thought talk of meaning was  talk of
> ghostly entities and who rejected
> > such talk outright. A number of answers to his scepticism were
> presented, not least the by his very well
> > known students Donald Davidson and David Lewis. Donald Davidson argued
> that sentences about meaning
> > could be replaced by theories of truth conditions a la Tarksi, and the
> building of theories of interpretation
> > for a Language.
> > David Lewis' made meaning much more real by remapping them in terms of
> possible worlds (or if you feel
> > those to be to weird, sets of coherent sentences). Possibilities are
> never far behind talk of meaning.
> > I go into those in a bit more detail in my "Philosophy of the Social Web"
> > http://bblfish.net/tmp/2010/10/26/
> >
> > One can also just accept that we have some concept of meaning, and move
> on as you suggest to other
> > themes such as provenance, trust etc... Those require one to take into
> account more carefully the
> > speaker (or the publisher) and so these bring in speech acts, for which
> Searle has recently produced
> > a book which I mention in the presentation mentioned above where he
> argues that speech acts are
> > the corner stone of human civilisation.
> >
> > Provenance and Trust are indeed very important, and would be extremely
> useful for the Web. I put
> > forward a presentation recently at the European IDentity Conference on
> how linked data can
> > provide the tools to build this. "WebID and eCommerce" which had some
> very nicely positive
> > reactions from the IETF TLS mailing lists
> >
> > http://bblfish.net/blog/2012/04/30/
> >
> > Here trust is built by seeing:
> >  1) that institutions form social networks (as explained by Searle)
> >  2) that one can build such distributed
> nation/commerce/legal/institutional
> >    social networks with linked data
> >  3) that one can anchors one's trust in such a social network in very
> >    flexible ways, without requiring a central Trust agency.
> >
> > Henry
> >
> > >
> > > Thanks,
> > >
> > > Larry
> > > --
> > > http://larry.masinter.net
> > >
> > >
> > > ====================
> > > from
> https://lists-sop.inria.fr/sympa/arc/philoweb/2012-05/msg00000.html
> > > ==================
> > > The Semantic Web: meaning and annotation
> > > Yorick Wilks
> > > Florida Institute of Human and Machine Cognition.
> > >
> > >
> > > The lecture discusses what kind of entity the Semantic Web (SW) is, in
> terms of the relationship of natural language structure to knowledge
> representation (KR). It argues that there are three distinct views on the
> issue: first, that the SW is basically a renaming of the traditional AI
> knowledge representation task, with all the problems and challenges of that
> task. If that is the case, as many believe, then there is no particular
> reason to expect progress in this new form of presentation, as all the
> traditional problems of logic and representation reappear and it will be no
> more successful outside the narrow scientific domains where KR seems to
> work even though the formal ontology movement has brought some benefits.
> The paper contains some discussion of the relationship of current SW
> doctrine to representation issues covered by traditional AI, and also
> discusses issues of how far SW proposals are able to deal with difficult
> relationships in parts of concrete science.
> > >
> > > Secondly, there is a view that the SW will be the WorldWideWeb with
> its constituent documents annotated so as to yield their content or meaning
> structure more directly. This view of the SW makes natural language
> processing central as the procedural bridge from texts to KR, usually via a
> form of automated Information Extraction. This view is discussed in some
> detail and it is argued that this is in fact the only way of justifying the
> structures used as KR for the SW.
> > >
> > > There is a third view, possibly Berners-Lee's own, that the SW is
> about trusted databases as the foundation of a system of web processes and
> services, but it is argued that this ignores the whole history of the web
> as a textual system, and gives no better guarantee of agreed meanings for
> terms than the other two approaches. The lecture also touches on the basic
> issues of how the above viewpoints relate to the basic issue of how
> elements of the SW gain meaning, and the views of Halpin and others are
> discussed. There are also some reflections of the origins of the SW in
> Berners-Lee's own thinking and whether the SW was what he intended all
> along when the WWW was first set up.
> > >
> >
> > Social Web Architect
> > http://bblfish.net/
> >
> >
> >
> >
>
> --
> David Booth, Ph.D.
> http://dbooth.org/
>
> Opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily
> reflect those of his employer.
>
>
>
Received on Tuesday, 15 May 2012 15:57:47 GMT

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