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Re: issues to be resolved before last call (rdfms-assertion)

From: Dan Brickley <danbri@w3.org>
Date: Sat, 18 Jan 2003 08:31:02 -0500
To: Jos De_Roo <jos.deroo@agfa.com>
Cc: "Christopher Welty <welty" <welty@us.ibm.com>, www-webont-wg@w3.org
Message-ID: <20030118133102.GD19773@tux.w3.org>

* Jos De_Roo <jos.deroo@agfa.com> [2003-01-18 14:17+0100]
> 
> 
> I think there are other points and I'm borrowing the
> following from Pat as I couldn't express it better...
> 
> The point is that publication of RDF, when considered
> as a social act, constitutes a publication of some content
> which is defined by whatever normal *social* conditions
> are used by the publishers of any terms in the RDF to
> define the meanings of those terms, even if those meanings
> and definitions are not accessible to the formal semantics
> of RDF; and, moreover, those meanings are *preserved* under
> any formally sanctioned inference processes. In a nutshell,
> the formal entailments of social meanings are themselves
> part of the social meaning.
> The point is also that we cannot use a single notion of
> 'meaning' to say this properly, since of course the formal
> entailments cannot themselves utilize the social aspects
> of meaning which are included in *informal* aspects of the
> publication, such as in a comment which is opaque to any
> likely RDF inference engine or machine processor. Social
> meanings can be, as it were, transferred or carried by
> formal entailments, but they cannot be incorporated into
> the formal entailments.

Agreed, we don't expect formal processors to somehow access the machinery of 
human/social language use. The aspiration is just that
RDF documents be the kind of things that can be true or false 
descriptions of the world. And that as such, the RDF specifications need 
some attachment point to the world that we are describing, otherwise there 
will be nothing we can appeal to when attempting to determine the truth or 
falsity of some RDF-encoded propositional claim about our world.

Copying back some more comments from an offlist reply: [[

FWIW I take RDF's concern for so-called 'social meaning' (not my
preferred term) to be about the importance of mapping the abstract
structures of RDF/OWL to the world, so that RDF documents have propositional
content whose veracity could be (in theory anyway) investigated by
scientific etc observation of the world. Without the framework acknowledging
this need, we are left with a garbage-in/garbage-out machine that is
great for truth-preserving transformations, but awkwardly silent when one wants
to find out anything about how the world would have to be arranged to
make some chunk of RDF/OWL markup be a true description.

MTs alone allow for alice-in-wonderland mappings of terms onto the world. Without
somehow constraining the allowable interpretations of an rdf graph, we're left
without any way to deal with different parties in the Web claiming to both
use RDF/OWL in their communications, yet appeal to different word/world mappings
when claiming that their respective RDF documents are true descriptions of the
world...
]]

cheers,

Dan
Received on Saturday, 18 January 2003 08:31:05 GMT

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