W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > semantic-web@w3.org > February 2009

Re: live meaning and dead languages

From: <paola.dimaio@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, 9 Feb 2009 11:16:17 +0700
Message-ID: <c09b00eb0902082016p54337b1dxcdfdc5e6e211bcc1@mail.gmail.com>
To: Frank Manola <fmanola@acm.org>
Cc: SWIG <semantic-web@w3.org>
I agree with everything that you say below but your conclusion

The point is that some things (or aspects of those things), even if they
change, aren't necessarily going to change fast enough so that assuming
they're reasonably static generates significant errors (in whatever).

also leads to infer that  'some other things' (the ones not included in your
'some' above) may well change fast (and time being relative, fast could be
any length of time)

The way I see it (could be wrong) is that URIs are going to be fixed, but
they point to resources (definitions) that can change
If I understand this right, the uri to a web page will stay the same, even
when I update the page content, (is that so?)

The problem perhaps arises when we do not update/maintain the page (say that
contains a definition) then the uri points to something outdated and thus,
results in being misleading

If we need to use the 'open  web' to do any level of reasoning, then the
resources should be reasonably updated, otherwise the result of the
reasoning iver several resources that may be marginally out of date may end
up be  skewed (not screwed) , although I agree that depending on their
volatility the degree  and weight of the skew may change

(what blows my mind completely though, is that change always happens in
relation to something else that also changes, and somehow it looks like our
ability to make our representations adaptive and evolutionary is still a tad
away from our immediate ability due to our lack of understanding of the
causal dependencies between different factors)

feel free to correct me

Paola Di Maio

On Mon, Feb 9, 2009 at 12:00 AM, Frank Manola <fmanola@acm.org> wrote:

> All this seems reasonable enough, but we also need to remember that in
> these respects the SW isn't going to be all that different from lots of
> other "representations" that we use and rely on all the time (databases,
> maps, books, etc.), and which are perfectly reasonable representations of
> what the purport to depict for most purposes.  Using your example, a map may
> not be the territory, and we need to have in the backs of our minds the fact
> that things may have changed since the map was made (or that the map is
> inaccurate in some respect), but that doesn't mean we don't rely a lot on
> maps and find them extremely useful.  Moreover, since we know we're going to
> rely on maps being a good representation of the territory (that's what we
> make them for), part of the "engineering" that goes into them involves
> making them as reliable as possible, and keeping them up to date.  It also
> involves creating artifacts like benchmarks that we specifically try to make
> sure stay where they were when the map was created, while everything else is
> changing independently (benchmarks can move, or disappear too, but we make
> specific efforts to reduce those occurrences), to act as reference points.
>  We also recognize (and tend to rely on) that things depicted on the map
> change at different rates, and to different extents.  For example, when
> looking at a highway map, I'm apt to be a lot more ready to believe that a
> bridge along the route between Philadelphia and Baltimore has been torn down
> since the map was created than to believe that Philadelphia has disappeared
> (or moved into New Jersey).  The point is that some things (or aspects of
> those things), even if they change, aren't necessarily going to change fast
> enough so that assuming they're reasonably static generates significant
> errors (in whatever).
> --Frank
>> PDM
>> On Sun, Feb 8, 2009 at 7:51 AM, <paola.dimaio@gmail.com> wrote:
>> [FM]
>> One thing that needs clarification here, it seems to me, is what is meant
>> exactly by "term" in the SW (maybe that's an illustration itself!),
>> particularly when comparing it with natural language.
>> [PDM]
>> I did some research a while back to nail down the term 'term', since it
>> became obvious that people were referring different constructs with it.
>> "term' ethymologically means 'boundary' (from the name of the latin god
>> Terminus, who set the boundary for the city)
>> such boundaries can be expressed
>> linguistically (term has lexical definition),
>> numerically (term has quantifier)
>> as a condition (term is a clause )
>> (more?)
>> I think the above boundaries can be mapped to each other in some instances
>> which can be defined by all three (but some instances will be defined by
>> only one of the above expressions)
>> so what in this thread is discussed as 'the definition keeps changing',
>> after some consideration i think that it is the boundaries of things that we
>> try to define that keep changing, this is probably because reality keeps
>> going only as long as it is in flux (you would not want to change that,
>> cause the whole thing would crash)
>> Its the dynamic forces of the universe that cause that
>> Nailing down boundaries for a specific purpose is OK (say a controlled
>> vocabulary), provided they are periodically revised, used within their scope
>> Paola Di Maio
>> [FM]
>>  The meaning of terms may "move with the times", but when a term has been
>> used in a specific context, I want to know what the term meant in that
>> context (which may be a temporal context, or some other kind).  Take the
>> term "torpedo", for example.  At one time, it meant a particular kind of
>> electric fish.  Later, it became used to also refer to various kinds of
>> explosive devices (e.g., naval mines, as in "damn the torpedos, full speed
>> ahead", and railroad signals).  Today, you usually think of a self-propelled
>> naval weapon, but the fishes are still "torpedos", and the use of the term
>> to refer to a naval mine is obsolete (but would be relevant in, say,
>> discussing the American Civil War).  So is this acquisition (and
>> de-acquisition) of other meanings an example of the meaning of a term
>> "moving with the times" as you describe it?  Or do I really have,
>> so-to-speak, several terms "with the same name" (torpedo).  If the latter,
>> the distinct "terms" seem to have fairly exact and reasonably unchanging
>> meanings (even though the "same name" can cause confusion).  I'm sure
>> there's some linguistic vocabulary to describe this stuff.  The point is,
>> I'm not sure I want "looseness of definition";  what I want is some kind of
>> flexible versioning mechanism.
>> --Frank

Paola Di Maio
ISD Labs
Received on Monday, 9 February 2009 04:16:55 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.4.0 : Tuesday, 5 July 2022 08:45:10 UTC