Re: Refers Or Denotes?

On 12 Feb 2013, at 22:09, Kingsley Idehen <> wrote:

>> I am not sure why "denotes" is being taken up by the RDF group nowadays, when most philosophy books and logic books tend to use the word "refer". Most engineers use the word refer too on a daily basis.
> Quite simple, when the context is Linked Data, an HTTP URI has an inherent duality whereby it denotes an entity and identifies a Web resource. This duality makes the use of "refers to" ambiguous as exemplified by the HttpRange-14 permathread. As I said, this matter was discussed to conclusion on the RDF working group list [1].

While I agree with the general thought you are expressing, putting things like this is liable to be confusing Kingsely, and part of the reason for the existence of the permathreads. This is why we need to clarify the different concepts involved.

I think the illustration here does this nicely:

It shows that URIs just refer/denote.  But as it happens with hash uris they are constitued as per URI definition of two URIs, or rather there is a very strong relation between the one and the other. 

The fragment identifier component of a URI allows indirect identification of a secondary resource by reference to a primary resource and additional identifying information. The identified secondary resource may be some portion or subset of the primary resource, some view on representations of the primary resource, or some other resource defined or described by those representations.

This relation I name in the diagram to be the "sense" relation, which goes from the hash URI to the Profile document. This way there is no confusion between sense and reference, and it is clear how each accomplishes the task.

One could make a similar case for URIs with no hash but with a 303 redirect, though in this case the relation between the URI and the sense is not determinable in advance with the URI alone.


Social Web Architect

Received on Wednesday, 13 February 2013 17:35:21 UTC