Re: I am.

On Wed, 17 May 2017 11:24:11 +0200, Sarven Capadisli <> wrote:
> Philosophers and Semantic Web junkies gather around.
> Use the the RDF language to represent the following statement:
> "I am."

(Turtle notation):

  _:I a [] .

We don't know who "I" is - that is contextual, so a bnode. 

I see some suggest <#I> to lock that context, I guess that would
be OK within an email? But then we get different "I"s, 
as <> is the author of THIS email,
that would be different from Sarven's statement, where "I" could be
<> (context *his* email)
or some unknown "I" (context the "sentence")

So "I" is something - we just don't know what, it might not be a Person.
(perhaps just a rdfs:Resource).

Basically my attempt reduces "I am" to just "something exists".
Permitting OWL we can say that as:

  _:I a owl:Thing .

..but that means "I" can't (easily) be a construct of the OWL language :)

The second part of "I am" is that "I" also said that statement. I
guess that why we some of the other people suggesting FOAF/schema
statements that comes down to instead saying "I wrote this".

Nanopublications [1] makes it easier to separate the pointless statement and
the fact the statement is uttered by the same "I". TriG notation:

@prefix this: <> .
@prefix sub: <> .
@prefix np: <> .
@prefix prov: <> .
@prefix pav: <> .

sub:head {
 this: np:hasAssertion sub:assertion ;
  np:hasProvenance sub:provenance ;
  np:hasPublicationInfo sub:pubInfo ;
  a np:Nanopublication .

sub:assertion {
 sub:I a sub:_1 .

sub:provenance {
 sub:assertion pav:importedFrom <> ;
  prov:wasAttributedTo sub:I .

sub:pubInfo {
 this: pav:contributedBy <> ;
  pav:createdBy <> ;
  pav:importedFrom <> ;
  prov:wasAttributedTo <> .

Here we can distinguish between sub:assertion, the statement itself (which just
says that sub:I is something) and this: - the nanopublication that captures the
statement and its provenance.

We can see in sub:provenance the assertion is attributed to sub:I (so the I
is capable of making such a statement). Also the statement was imported from
Sarven's email message.    

This is captured in the nanopublication this: aka - which we see
was created by *me*, and also imported from Sarven's message.

Therefore I aka <> (who created this
*serialization* of the nanopublication) claim Sarven as a contributor (not
necessarily an author, I don't know) of the *knowledge* contained in this

PAV's "importedFrom" here means we have preserved some of the *knowledge* of
that email message, but put it in a different format (in this case an RDF

Note that the NanoPub server had to "lock" the blank nodes to sub:I and sub:_1
to make the Trusted URI [2] -- you can generate that RAc8...Vx4 bit of the URI
using the nanopublication statements.  So this nanopublication, and the "I" in
it, is the same wherever it is published, for instance at

I used [3] and [4] to publish this - thanks to Tobias Kuhn!


Stian Soiland-Reyes
The University of Manchester

Received on Friday, 19 May 2017 15:57:46 UTC