Re: Interpretation of RDF reification

The hot polemics over the subject is likely caused by the fact that one 
determinant dimension of meaning has not received a due attention in the SW 
formal languages. Additionally to syntactic and semantic aspects, there is a 
pragmatical meaning involving an agent's mental states and communicative 
acts (speech events in a certain speech situation, or context). For the 
pragmatics studies how the cognitive agent produces and understands 
linguistic communication and thus distinguishing the sentence 
(denotative+connotative) meaning and the speaker (expressive) meaning. In 
pragmatics, a sign is an entity that indicates (represents) another entity 
to some agent (a human, animal or robot) for some purpose.
We all (or most of us) know that the meaning is a triadic relationship (a 
significance triple) composed of the sign domain, the agent (interpretant) 
domain, and the realm of extra-linguistic and extra-mental entities. As a 
special binary relation, the pragmatic meaning function P (like stating 
something) then designates a relationship between an agent and a proposition 
(at a given time of utterance): P (a, p, t). What intutively implies that by 
each utterance a cognitive agent both states (tells, says) as well as 
performs some communicative act and so informing or misinforming, showing an 
attitude, stating a fact, or transmitting its ideas, thoughts or feelings.
For example, ''Galileo knew that the earth moves around the sun'' falls into 
a common pragmatic structure P (a, p, t) :
Knowing function (a person [Galileo], a proposition [the earth move around 
the sun], time [ ], truth value [ ])

Bottom line:
A formal theory of meaning, the base of meaningful Web, should be 
constructed as a formal semiotics relied on foundation ontology rather than 
as a formal semantics based on formal logic. A correct way WAS to build the 
RDF/OWL semiotics covering the relationships of signs, agents and things, 
that is, syntax, semantics and pragmatics.

Azamat Abdoullaev

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Frank Manola" <>
To: "Joshua Tauberer" <>
Cc: "Dan Brickley" <>; "Lars Marius Garshol" 
<>; <>
Sent: Friday, March 24, 2006 1:07 AM
Subject: Re: Interpretation of RDF reification

> In 
> Pat Hayes also provides a good explanation of this point (that is, if Dan 
> will forgive dragging Superman into the discussion again!  You also should 
> substitute "Lois" for "Louis" in reading Pat's text.)  Pat also has some 
> useful things to say about "alternative ways to encode de dicto 
> assertions".
> --Frank
> Joshua Tauberer wrote:
>> Dan Brickley wrote:
>>> Let's ask it if the resource <registrar-1.rdf> is the dc:source of an
>>> rdf:Statement
>>> that has a predicate 'wife', subject
>>> <> and
>>> object <>:
>> To recap, the moral of Dan's story is that RDF-reification doesn't track
>> the actual URI someone used in a document, and this leads to
>> non-intuitive semantics in this case:
>> _:s1 rdf:type rdf:Statement .
>> _:s1 rdf:subject ex:bob .
>> _:s1 dc:source <registrar-1.rdf> .
>> ex:bob owl:sameAs ex:charlie .
>> ASK: { ?s rdf:subject ex:charlie  .
>>        ?s dc:source <registrar-1.rdf> . }
>> --> YES
>> Two minor points to add to Dan.  First, as Dan points out,
>> RDF-reification isn't appropriate for tracking the actual URIs people
>> are using in documents.  The reason for this, though, is that in RDF,
>> URIs aren't things we can refer *to*.  There's no way to assert
>> something about a particular URI itself, i.e. that *that* URI was used
>> in some document, unless you create a new vocabulary.  (That makes a lot
>> of sense, really, because how would you ever know if a URI was there to
>> mean the denoted entity, or the URI itself?)
>> The second point is that while the SPARQL query might be unintuitive, we
>> actually have the same problem in English.  In semantics this is called
>> the "de re"/"de dicto" distinction.  To roughly translate the SPARQL
>> query into English we get:
>> Q:  "Does <registrar-1.rdf> refer to a man named Charlie?"
>> This question is ambiguous and would be true in both of these situations:
>> 1)  I know someone named Bob Smith.  I have a document <registrar-1.rdf>
>> which mistakenly thinks Bob's name is Charlie.   About Bob
>> <registrar-1.rdf> says "Charlie is nice." (de dicto)
>> 2)  I know someone named Charlie Smith.  About him, <registrar-1.rdf>
>> says "Mr. Smith is nice." (de re)
>> In the first case, <registrar-1.rdf> refers to a man using the name
>> Charlie even though that's not his real name.  (But the answer to the
>> English question about could still be 'yes'.)  This is the 'desired' RDF
>> interpretation in Dan's use case.
>> In the second case, <registrar-1.rdf> refers to a man, who is named
>> Charlie, but without using that name.  (And you could still answer 'yes'
>> to the English question.)  This is actually what RDF defines, and in
>> this light a 'yes' answer to the SPARQL query also makes a lot of sense.
>>  So while in English both the de dicto and de re readings are available,
>> in RDF you only have de re interpretations of URIs.

Received on Friday, 24 March 2006 16:39:30 UTC