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Re: Social meaning discussion 6th March

From: Tim Berners-Lee <timbl@w3.org>
Date: Fri, 28 Feb 2003 11:47:46 -0500
Message-ID: <3E5F92B2.90607@w3.org>
To: Brian McBride <bwm@hplb.hpl.hp.com>
CC: Jeremy Carroll <jjc@hplb.hpl.hp.com>, pat hayes <phayes@ai.uwf.edu>, Bijan Parsia <bparsia@isis.unc.edu>, Graham Klyne <GK@ninebynine.org>, RDF Core <w3c-rdfcore-wg@w3.org>

I am concerned that you have thrown out the baby with the bathwater.
And still left some bathwater. ;-)
Our views do seem rather different

What is required, and easy, is to say what an RDF document means.

What is not required and a bad idea is to explain how to use it.

1. The meaning of an RDF document is that of the statements.
2. The meaning of the statement is defined by the definition
 of the predicate, as applying to the subject and object identified by the
  definition of the subject and object terms.

That then hands off to the relevant specs the right and the duty to
define their bit.

sans chapeau.

Brian McBride wrote:

> Sans chapeau:
> My bath time this morning was spent thinking about social meaning.  I 
> came to the conclusion that 'meaning' is a difficult and slippery a 
> concept that we should try to stay away from, sticking to things that 
> are more concrete.  We should leave talk about 'meaning' to the 
> philosophers.

There we differ.  For me, the meaning of a bit-field or a docuemnt or a 
or a message is what specs are for.

> Perhaps we can get all we need by describing intended use.

That is where you start getting into questionable stuff, necessarily
slanting the use of RDF some way.

If  my:car :color :blue means that my car is colored blue, that
is what it means, quite independent of context.
The concept of  something having a given color is
defined (and only defined) by the definition of color
and my:car only serves to idetify the car and  :blue only
serves to identify the color.  Documents defiing
my:car and :blue may contain all kinds of other info but they
have nothing which related to the statement at hand apart to
identify the subject and object.  (You can't for example
define ":blue" to mean "A color which which  things have it
they are rough to touch".)  So this is an important distintion.
It is in the MT as the extension of p being a  the  THINGS x THINGS
or words to that effect.

The statement  doesn't mean that I am promising anything,
or selling anything etc.   It says and should say nothing about the 
context in
which it is used - that is Somebody Else's Problem.
RDF has nothing to say about lying or cheating or repainting cars,
about quoting statements or sending them as attachments and so on.
It only says what they mean per se.

> And then I see this is exactly what Jeremy has done in his draft 
> alternative text.
>   http://www.w3.org/2001/sw/meetings/tech-200303/social-meaning
> This is a significant shift in approach that may have considerable 
> merit, and I wanted to draw attention to it.
> The mininalist approach looks good too, though we might go a bit further:
>   1 An RDF triple is intended to be used to represent an assertion 

I have no idea what that gives me.

>   2 A set of RDF triples is intended to be used to represent the 
> conjunction of the assertions represented by each individual triple 

strike "is indended to be used"  which just seems to add fuzziness.

>   3 The assertion represented by an RDF triple is determined by the 
> specifications of its subject, predicate and object. 

This is muddled and ignored the fundamental case that we are talking 
about p(s,o)
and not s(p,o).

>   4 RDF triples representing false assertions SHOULD NOT be used to 
> mislead.

Nor should one cross the road without looking, or take wooden nickels.

> The above being non-normative.
> I'm not happy with 4.  RDF triples representing true assertions SHOULD 
> NOT be used to mislead either, yet "RDF triples SHOULD NOT be used to 
> mislead" is vacuous.  So maybe strike 4, though I'm inclined to leave 
> it in.
> Brian
> At 00:02 27/02/2003 +0100, you wrote:
>> BCC-ed to three groups, sorry for duplicates.
>> I have put together a preliminary agenda for this session to be found 
>> at:
>> http://www.w3.org/2001/sw/meetings/tech-200303/social-meaning
>> Note I suggest reading the relevant text and Bijan's comments on it as
>> prework.
>> I would particularly welcome feedback if the list of issuettes is 
>> incomplete.
>> (I have tried to include substantial concerns rather than ones that 
>> could be
>> addressed by editorial changes).
>> Jeremy
Received on Friday, 28 February 2003 11:48:26 UTC

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