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RE: Inference rules for HTTP, etc. [ontological closure]

From: Booth, David (HP Software - Boston) <dbooth@hp.com>
Date: Fri, 29 Feb 2008 05:42:26 +0000
To: Tim Berners-Lee <timbl@w3.org>
CC: "public-awwsw@w3.org" <public-awwsw@w3.org>
Message-ID: <184112FE564ADF4F8F9C3FA01AE50009E254DB1238@G1W0486.americas.hpqcorp.net>

A comment about ontological closure . . .

> From: Tim Berners-Lee [mailto:timbl@w3.org]
> Comments on the rules:
> http://esw.w3.org/topic/AwwswDboothsRules as of Mon Feb 25
> 09:06:15 EST 2008
> [ . . . ]
> ** You say, "For example, if dereferencing
> # http://example/foo yields a 200 response with RDF/N3 content
> # that parses to an n3 formula (i.e., a set of RDF assertions),
> # then the rules for URI declaration will not automatically
> # require everyone who writes that URI to accept those assertions."
> This suggests that if there *is* a declaration, then anyone using the
> URI *is* assumed to accept the declaration.


> This makes sense, but
> attempts to delimit the commitment I have seen to date have found it
> hard.  Do you also commit to the declarations all the URIs used as
> predicates and types in a declaration, recursively (I call this
> "ontological closure")?  (effectively, you have to or nothing works)
> Do you commit to ANY URI used in a declaration, even as subject or
> object? (No, or you pull in the whole GGG).

At present my definition of URI declaration in
*does* imply commitment to *any* URI used in the declaration, even as subject or object, so in theory it would pull in the whole graph recursively.  (BTW, what does GGG stand for?)  This may be the wrong choice, but I didn't see any clear way to otherwise limit it.

However, this does *not* mean that an implementation needs to try to recursively spider the whole Semantic Web, pulling in the entire graph.   It just means that if it doesn't do so, it increases the risk of an undiscovered conflict.  But that's okay: some publishers will produce higher quality works than others.

> I think in practice there
> will be time when people use URIs but in fact disagree with things in
> the ontological closure. Could be this is best described as an error,
> possibly uncaught.

Yes, I agree.  And though in theory, using a URI means agreeing to the entire ontological closure, the legal world has principles of reasonableness, such that if a statement like "I agree that David Booth now owns all of my assets" is discovered many degrees of separation away, I seriously doubt a court would enforce it.  But this is a very interesting question.  I have not yet thought much about it, so others may have much more insight.

David Booth, Ph.D.
HP Software
+1 617 629 8881 office  |  dbooth@hp.com

Opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not represent the official views of HP unless explicitly stated otherwise.
Received on Friday, 29 February 2008 05:45:06 UTC

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