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Re: homonym URIs (Re: What if an URI also is a URL)

From: Pat Hayes <phayes@ihmc.us>
Date: Wed, 13 Jun 2007 11:53:40 -0500
Message-Id: <p06230918c295d050c52f@[]>
To: Ian Davis <lists@iandavis.com>
Cc: Sandro Hawke <sandro@w3.org>, semantic-web@w3.org

>On 12/06/2007 17:21, Pat Hayes wrote:
>>You are begging the question. Suppose an ontology asserts
>>ex:Venus rdf:type ex:AstronomicalBody .
>>Now, what ties that object URI to the actual concept of being an 
>>astronomical body? And so on for all the other URIs in all the 
>>other OWL/RDF ontologies. The best you can do is to appeal to the 
>>power of model theory to sufficiently constrain the interpretations 
>>of the entire global Web of formalized information. But that 
>>argument from Herbrand's theorem (basically, if it has a model at 
>>all then it has one made entirely of symbols) applies just as well 
>>no matter how large the ontology is.
>Out of interest how do you attach the English word "Venus" to the 
>physical body that you are referring to?

I don't. English does. I have only the vaguest idea how, but it 
involves some very complicated social conventions about reference. 
I'm happy, for Web architecture purposes, to assume that is done by 
some kind of magic. But for the formal SWeb languages we have 
specified their actual semantics in gory detail, and there's nothing 
in any of that detail about how to attach "ex:Venus" to Venus, etc.. 
So there is a gap there to be filled. Just declaring that a URI is a 
Universal Identifier doesn't seem to me to hack it. On the one hand, 
no human community actually speaks a natural language which uses URIs 
as nouns, so we can't appeal to linguistic magic; and our Web 
formalisms don't do it for us. So we need a new story to be told.


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Received on Wednesday, 13 June 2007 16:53:50 UTC

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