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Re: Provenance and reification

From: Frank Manola <fmanola@mitre.org>
Date: Tue, 13 Nov 2001 13:15:39 -0500
Message-ID: <3BF1634B.BF064F6E@mitre.org>
To: Pat Hayes <phayes@ai.uwf.edu>
CC: Graham Klyne <GK@ninebynine.org>, w3c-rdfcore-wg@w3.org
Pat Hayes wrote:
> >Following today's teleconference, I was thinking some more about
> >provenance (statements like document X says Y, possibly with other
> >qualifications).
> >
> >The question raised was whether the statement (Y) referenced in an
> >assertion of provenance was a statement token, or some
> >lexically-based value, or an interpretation of (meaning of) the
> >statement.
> >
> >Consider the case of a contract written in a foreign language.  My
> >lawyer may tell me that "the contact with abc, dated dmy, that I am
> >about to sign commits me to pay P pounds in return for some good Q".
> >This is a statement of provenance, but it is useless to me if it
> >simply quotes the content of the contract -- I want to know the
> >meaning (expressed in some language that I understand) of the
> >content of the contract.
> >
> >My point is that there is a clear argument for suggesting that
> >assertions of provenance should reference the meaning of the
> >referenced statements, not their lexical form.
> Good point. On the other hand, you do want to say it was that
> particular document you signed, right, not some other document that
> just happened to mean the same thing (still less, *all* other
> documents that mean the same thing.) So I think that in a case like
> this we need at least two notions: the physical (token) document you
> actually signed, and the content (interpretation) of that token.

How would this distinction work out in practice, given that even if you
want to refer to the meaning, you still need to refer to some concrete
representation of it (use a different property perhaps)?  After all, the
point of signing the contract in the first place was to express your
agreement with its meaning, as opposed to your approval, say, of the
artistic way the words were arranged on the piece of paper (is this an
example of the kind of distinction you want?).  If you wanted to do the
latter, you'd be well advised to write something on the paper other than
your signature in the space provided!  


Frank Manola                   The MITRE Corporation
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mailto:fmanola@mitre.org       voice: 781-271-8147   FAX: 781-271-8752
Received on Tuesday, 13 November 2001 13:16:43 UTC

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