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Re: Conceptual Graphs, N3, RDF, Semantic Web

From: Jon Awbrey <jawbrey@oakland.edu>
Date: Wed, 17 Jan 2001 16:40:15 -0500
Message-ID: <3A66113F.7AC79FD@oakland.edu>
To: RDF Logic <www-rdf-logic@w3.org>

Fotis Kokkoras wrote:
> -------- Original Message --------
>     Subject:  Re: A note comparing Conceptual Graphs and RDF/Semantic Web & N3
> Resent-Date:  Mon, 15 Jan 2001 11:58:07 -0500 (EST)
> Resent-From:  www-rdf-logic@w3.org
>        Date:  Mon, 15 Jan 2001 11:57:13 -0500 (EST)
>        From:  Drew McDermott <drew.mcdermott@yale.edu>
>          To:  Jerome.Euzenat@inrialpes.fr
>          CC:  timbl@w3.org, www-rdf-logic@w3.org
> I took a look at Tim's comparison of conceptual graphs and RDF.
> The following puzzles me:
> | The concept of "context" occurs very equivalently in CGs and N3,
> | where in both cases a formula is built using quotation.  In N3,
> | the braces were introduced to encapsulate a set of information
> | and talk about it as a set.  Using an example from [1],
> | [ [1] = John F. Sowa, (ed.), "Conceptual Graph Standard" at:
> | | http://www.bestweb.net/~sowa/cg/cgstand.htm
> | ]
> | 
> | "Tom believes that Mary wants to marry a sailor"
> |
> | [Person: Tom]<-(Expr)<-[Believe]->(Thme)-
> |  [Proposition:  [Person: Mary *x]<-(Expr)<-[Want]->(Thme)-
> |   [Situation:  [?x]<-(Agnt)<-[Marry]->(Thme)->[Sailor] ]].
> |
> | Which in N3 would be (ignoring the type assignments
> | which in N3 can be omitted onluess this is really
> | where you want to state that Tom is a person)
> |
> | <#Tom> a :Person; :believes [a :Proposition; = {
> |  <#Mary> a :Person; :wants [a :Situation; = {
> |    <#Mary> :marriedTo [ a :Sailor ]
> |   ]}
> | ]}.
> |
> | This is the first I've heard about "quotation" in RDF.
> | Is this a synonym for reification, or something else?

No!  Quotation and reification are very different operations!

1.  Quotation is the treating of a sign (text, etc.) as an object
    of discourse, which involves a potentially critical reflection
    on the course of dis-course, and whether one accomplishes this
    via quotation marks, phenomenological epoche, g鐰el numbering,
    aesthetic distancing, or in some other way, is not really the
    most important thing so long as one actually does achieve it.

    It may be of interest to note that the nature of reflection and
    the character of quotation are just special topics under the more
    general heading of "propositional and intentional attitudes" (PAIA).

    And it may be pertinent to note, especially in the CG Forum,
    that a particular brand of answer to this question of PAIA
    is deeply embedded in the syntactic style of all of Peirce's
    Logical Graphs, independently of their interpretation in the
    Entitative or the Existential modes.  To see how this is so,
    notice that "denial" or "negation", better yet, Nand or Nnor,
    comprise the logically simplest sorts of PAIA's.  For a very
    interesting and relevant discussion of these points, see the
    book that is affectionately known, by me anyway, as "RATLOT":

    | Charles Sanders Peirce,
    | 'Reasoning and the Logic of Things',
    | 'The Cambridge Conferences Lectures of 1898',
    | Edited by Kenneth Laine Ketner,
    | With an Introduction by Kenneth Laine Ketner & Hilary Putnam,
    | Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1992.
    | AKA "Detached Ideas On Vitally Important Topics" (DIOVIT),
    | 'Collected Papers of Charles Sanders Peirce', CP 1.616-677, ...

2.  So-called "reification", in view of the diverse ways that the word
    has come to be (ab)used of late -- apparently by the sort of folks
    who hear a buzz-word at a conference or a cocktail party and then
    race right home to write up their own personal definition of it,
    which they promptly trot out before their impressionable class
    of undergraduates the very next morning, thus converting what
    would otherwise have been an isolated bit of chaos, the mere
    fancy of single tipsy evening, into a general pandemonium --
    is now a very ambiguous term, having at least three distinct,
    but very deceptively intermingled, meanings that I can detect:

    a.  In philosophy, the technical term "reification" used to be
        a synonym for "hypostasis" or "hypostatic abstraction",
        pausing to consult a dictionary -- it's a dirty job,
        I know, but somebody's got to do it:


| Hypostasis:  Literally the Greek word signifies that which stands under
| and serves as a support.  In philosophy it means a singular substance,
| also called a supposite, 'suppositum', by the Scholastics, especially
| if the substance is a completely subsisting one, whether non-living
| or living, irrational or rational.  However, a rational hypostasis
| has the same meaning as the term, 'person'. -- J.J.R.
| J.J. Rolbiecki, in:
| Dagobert D. Runes (ed.), 'Dictionary of Philosophy',
| Littlefield, Adams, & Company, Totowa, NJ, 1972.

A few meta-links/metal-inks in this chain of e-mail:



    b.  More specifically, in linguistics, logic, and psychology,
        among other places, the term "reification" is often used
        in a critical or even a pejorative way, to lambaste what
        one language interpreter-observer-user might consider to
        be a "bad case of hypostasis" in other sign-interpreters,
        to wit, the automatic, careless, excessive, prolix, or
        unthinking conduct or custom of speaking, thinking, or
        writing whereby one employs a hypostasis where none is
        desirable or necessary, whether it is a single instance
        or a continuing practice of sign-ceration and -creation
        that one thrusts under a cloud at the moment in question.

    c.  Even more specifically, this reflex of practice and this
        corresponding style of critical reflection on it, become
        pointedly flagrant and enflamed, in their own good turns,
        in those cases where the user of a sign-system "projects"
        the attributes of syntax onto the "object" domain in view,
        appearing to see in the object what is actually much more
        the aspect of syntax that is unreflectively being posited
        beyond its proper pale.  The classical example of this error
        is often described as "Projecting Nouns and Verbs -- or else,
        seeing Subjects and Predicates -- in the World Itself, when
        they are only the aspects of a specious syntactic structure.

> | If it's a synonym for reification, then I don't think that's
> | what Sowa intended (although I am no expert on conceptual graphs).
> | If it means the ability to include statements inside statements,
> | then I'd like to know how that works.  How do we avoid asserting
> | that "Mary wants to marry a sailor" when we produce the subgraph
> | capturing that meaning?
> |
> | -- Drew McDermott

To work this trick in Peirce's "pragmatic theory of signs" (PTOS),
one is required to employ "higher order sign relations" (HOSR's).

Jon Awbrey

> ************************************************** AUTH ***
> * Fotis Kokkoras - PhD Student                            *
> * Department of Informatics - Aristotle University        *
> * Thessaloniki  540 06 - GREECE                           *
> * ------------------------------------------------------- *
> *    URL: http://www.csd.auth.gr/~lpis/people/fotis       *
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Received on Wednesday, 17 January 2001 16:40:03 UTC

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