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Re: use/mention and reification

From: Martyn Horner <martyn.horner@profium.com>
Date: Thu, 24 Jan 2002 15:39:32 +0100
Message-ID: <3C501CA4.5DFF04FF@profium.com>
To: Frank Manola <fmanola@mitre.org>
CC: Dan Brickley <danbri@w3.org>, Patrick Stickler <patrick.stickler@nokia.com>, ext Graham Klyne <Graham.Klyne@MIMEsweeper.com>, RDF Core <w3c-rdfcore-wg@w3.org>
Frank Manola wrote:
> Dan Brickley wrote:
> >
> > In which case, the example has drifted somewhat from my original intent,
> > which was based on their being two names for one thing-in-the-world, ie.
> > some wierd guy who's kinda strong, sometimes wears glasses and sometimes
> > wears a blue and red leotard.
> >
> > The point isn't that "lois's idea of superman" and "lois's idea of clark"
> > are distinct entities worthy of our concern. I was trying to make a much
> > more mundane and (I'd hoped) less woolly point. Lois lacks complete
> > information about the name-to-world mappings. Her views, messages, diary
> > entries and (we ought to steer clear of this) mental states will all be
> > affected by her lack of the 'complete picture'. On the Web, we have a
> > similar situation: no one document or agent has the whole story. Often
> > they're wrong, or lack information. The partial information aspect of this
> > is my main concern: if *everyone* had faultless access to the meaning of
> > each and every URI name, I wouldn't have my current concerns about
> > reification.
> >
> > Dan
> I agree 100%, which I guess means I didn't understand something about
> your original point.  Specifically, what does quoting the URIs in
> reification have to do with addressing this?

I think DanBri's point is the key one. Lois lacks the information about
the identity between the Clark and Superman URIs. In her interpretation,
there is no conflict in believing `A is strong' and `B is not strong'.
She can believe what she likes and, if there are no correspondences to
show she is inconflict with herself, she can remain sane.

Kent Bach in http://userwww.sfsu.edu/~kbach/puzzle.html talks about this
puzzle and gives several ways to deal with it. He points out the Perry
White (the editor of the planet) is not entitled to hold these two
beliefs because he knows about the identity (as we do). I favour Bach's
`metalinguistic' approach: although Lois apears to be believing stuff
about `our' URIs she lacks some knowledge about their identity which
would stop us believing these two assertions. 

The reification of her beliefs must be understood as having its
components interpreted according to Lois' (the subject of the
reification `Lois believes...') knowledge. I think this indicates that,
at a level of implementation in software, it is `better' or `safer' to
maintain that the reified statement refers only as far as the literals
(in their lexical space) and not to an interpretation made possible only
by the reader's knowledge (hence DanC's pragmatic stance). To
accidentally follow the interpretation through to the set of properties
which have to hand regarding Clark and Superman would be to
misunderstand the context in which Lois believes these two things and to
misunderstand the reifification. It would also come up against a
conflict which does not appear in Lois' mind.

Martyn Horner <martyn.horner@profium.com>
Profium, Les Espaces de Sophia,
Immeuble Delta, B.P. 037, F-06901 Sophia-Antipolis, France
Tel. +33 (0) Fax. +33 (0)
Mob. +33 (0) Internet: http://www.profium.com
Received on Thursday, 24 January 2002 09:40:20 UTC

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