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Re: What do the ontologists want

From: Sandro Hawke <sandro@w3.org>
Date: Fri, 18 May 2001 07:25:25 -0400
Message-Id: <200105181125.HAA03734@hawke.org>
To: pat hayes <phayes@ai.uwf.edu>
cc: "dehora" <bill@dehora.fsnet.co.uk>, www-rdf-logic@w3.org

pay hayes:
>                                                        The way I 
> understand it, reification means treating the symbols as objects.

OH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!     Duh!  I get it now!!

In general, I think reification means to treat something as a
first-class object, to put it in your domain of discourse.

So reification of lists, etc, is just building data structures, which
is fine.  Reification of RDF Triples is fine, too, you say.

It's reificiation of SYMBOLS which is so worrisome to you.   That I
can understand!

I've played around a little with redefining the basic RDF model to be
triples of a Relation, a String, and a String, and letting the
Relation take care of mapping the String to its denotation.  Which
seems like it's heading in that direction.  To actually put the
relation identifier itself in the domain of discourse....  hrm...
Right now I don't actually see the danger there, but it DOES scare me,
and I have no particular desire to do it.  And I don't think I've ever
seen anyone in the RDF community try or want to do it, except as a
bizarre twisted experiment.  Or maybe I've been misunderstanding,
interpreting things in the way which seemed most reasonable and safe
to me.

The closest I think I've seen is Tim B-L's
   <> log:forAll :x
which probably means "everything asserted in this document is also
asserted with every possible symbol subsituted for the symbol 'x'
except in this assertion itself".  That's symbol reification, and
fairly worrisome.  It could, alternatively mean "everything asserted
in this document is also asserted with all uses of the object denoted
by 'x' replaced by any other object, except in this statement," which
is still odd, but does not involve symbol reification.   

So: can we try to avoid using the word "reification" unless we're
saying what we're considering reifying?   Does that solve the problem?

    -- sandro
Received on Friday, 18 May 2001 07:25:28 UTC

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