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Re: What do the ontologists want

From: pat hayes <phayes@ai.uwf.edu>
Date: Tue, 15 May 2001 14:42:27 -0500
Message-Id: <v0421010cb7273535304c@[]>
To: Uche Ogbuji <uche.ogbuji@fourthought.com>
Cc: "Jonathan Borden" <jborden@mediaone.net>, www-rdf-logic@w3.org
> > >pat hayes wrote:
> > >
> > > > Can you (or anyone) say why the ability to quote is considered a
> > > > practical necessity? From where I am standing it seems an arcane and
> > > > exotic ability, not one that is of central practical importance. What
> > > > is the practical utility of being able to refer to a predicate,
> > > > rather than use it?
>Based on your follow-up to Jonathan, I think I know what you are trying to say
>by "quoting" above, but I'm not sure how it comes into the discussion of
>I thought, and I'll bet most other thought, that you were talking about
>attribution of atomic statements rather than attribution of character strings.

Atomic statements, like most statements, ARE character strings. If 
you want to make a distinction between character strings and a more 
abstract syntax, and say that reification refers to the more abstract 
structure, then OK (though in that case I wish those who speak of 
reification would make their meaning clear) , but the basic point 
still holds, which is that quotation/reification is referring to the 
syntactic construct (more or less abstractly encoded) , not to the 
propositional content of that construct.

>Do you not see the usefulness of attribution of RDF statements?  Do you not
>see the usefulness of reification for this purpose?

As far as I understand what is meant by 'reification' in this 
context, I see only a very limited utility, basically things like 
tagging a string/expression with information about its source, 
time-stamping and so on. Most of the proposed uses of reification in 
the RDF literature seem to me to be based on confusion, and many of 
them - most notably, the idea that propositional structure and 
quantification can be provided by reification - are just nonsense.

Pat Hayes

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Received on Tuesday, 15 May 2001 15:42:31 UTC

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