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Re: What do the ontologists want

From: Dan Connolly <connolly@w3.org>
Date: Thu, 17 May 2001 07:28:38 -0500
Message-ID: <3B03C3F6.C03A4F01@w3.org>
To: Bill Andersen <andersen@ontologyworks.com>
CC: pat hayes <phayes@ai.uwf.edu>, Ziv Hellman <ziv@unicorn.com>, www-rdf-logic@w3.org
Bill Andersen wrote:
> On 16.05.2001 22:22 Uhr, "Dan Connolly" <connolly@w3.org> wrote:
> > pat hayes wrote:
> > [...]
> >> it has been sold as a universal
> >> knowledge/information representation language, with a clear semantics which
> >> is both utterly simple (relational triples) and simultaneously universal,
> >> post-Goedelian, trans-Tarskian and magically universal, due to the Power of
> >> Reification. That is why it is going to be the, I don't know, the magical
> >> essence of the Semantic Web, and why W3C seems to be so committed to it.
> >
> > Oh for cryin out loud, Pat, just cut it out. Exactly
> > who is taking that position? Cite sources or retract it.
>   Here are some....

Not one of those says anything about reification,
let alone Goedel, Tarski, or magic.

On the contrary, the Semantic Web Roadmap
says that today we have a simple layer
of just relational triples, and we intend
to suppliment it -- by fairly traditional logical
methods, not by magic -- with an integrated
rules and logic.

  "This document gives a road map - a sequence for
  the incremental introduction of technology to take us,
  step by step, from the Web of today to a Web in which
  machine reasoning will be ubiquitous and devastatingly


  The basic model contains just the concept of an assertion,
  and the concept of quotation - making assertions about

  This is introduced because (a) it will be needed
  later anyway and (b) most of the initial RDF applications are
  for data about data ("metadata") in which assertions about
  assertions are basic, even before logic.

  As far as mathematics goes, the language at this point has
  no negation or implication, and is therefore very limited. "

The essense of the Semantic Web is not reification;
it's the globally shared context of URIs and
the common languages that use URIs to connect
documents together; we don't claim to be
finished designing the languages.

>   1) http://www.w3.org/RDF/FAQ - RDF metadata can be used in a variety of
> application areas;

>   We always walk a fine line between building things that "work" and things
> that are right (or even adequate).  I think Pat is arguing (in his own
> lovable way) that the pendulum has swung too far.  Of course RDF will "work"
> one way or another.  With all the hype and all the millions being thrown at
> it, how can it not?  But that much volume only serves to drown out the
> voices of those who know better.  Mob justice is no justice -- ten years
> from now we'll go through this all over again when we find out that RDF
> didn't "work" after all.


But that sounds an awful lot like what folks were saying
about global hypertext in 1991.

Dan Connolly, W3C http://www.w3.org/People/Connolly/
Received on Thursday, 17 May 2001 08:29:51 UTC

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