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Re: How will the semantic web emerge - OO languages

From: Henry Story <henry.story@bblfish.net>
Date: Wed, 21 Dec 2005 17:51:17 +0100
Message-Id: <60F0703C-811C-4810-AC4A-E1C98910AC59@bblfish.net>
Cc: Semantic Web <semantic-web@w3.org>
To: Ora Lassila <ora.lassila@nokia.com>

My example was not a good one. Being or not being a thief is I  
suppose a notion which is in part determined by some authority's  
assertion of it (say the law). This is because in human relations we  
try to be very careful that procedures for coming to a certain  
conclusion have been properly followed, given the serious nature of  
the consequences of asserting a relation. IE. we are dealing with a  
relation for which we have put a lot of epistemological safeguards in  

A better relation would be one that asserted that a foaf:Person had a  
foaf:father and a foaf:mother. We can imagine that this could be made  
to be part of the definition of foaf:Person.
If such were the case then my contention was that semantically a x  
that is a foaf:Person has a foaf:mother and a foaf:father, even  
though we may not know who that is, may not even care.

So the distinction is one of epistemology versus ontology. We want to  
assert that these relations exist in the world. But the consumers of  
informations about these relations need not care.

Does that help?


On 21 Dec 2005, at 17:26, Ora Lassila wrote:
> Henry Story wrote:
>> I think the distinction is between what is, and what you can deduce.
>> If I steal your wallet I am a thief. You need not deduce that. But
>> that does not make it less so. The foaf ontology makes certain
>> statements about the relations between things. A consumer of these
>> statements need not be very intelligent, indeed it need not even be
>> able to make any inferences. It does not follow that those inferences
>> are not contained in the ontology.
> Granted I have only expended cursory attention to this discussion,  
> but now I
> find myself either a) disagreeing or b) not understanding.
> As far as I can tell, there is nothing in the act of stealing that  
> makes the
> perpetrator a thief *unless* we in fact deduce that. Perhaps the  
> way we
> "think" in our daily lives intrudes here. Those who steal we consider
> thieves: we think that they *are* thieves, whereas in fact we have  
> in fact
> *deduced* that.
> I guess when you say "what is" I interpret that as something having  
> been
> *asserted*, whereas when we "deduce" I interpret that as a  
> situation where I
> *could* assert the results of the deduction.
> Splitting hairs? Perhaps. Ignore all this at will.
>     - Ora
> -- 
> Ora Lassila  mailto:ora.lassila@nokia.com  http://www.lassila.org/
> Research Fellow, Nokia Research Center / Boston
Received on Wednesday, 21 December 2005 16:51:29 UTC

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