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Re: Splitting vs. Interpreting

From: Pat Hayes <phayes@ihmc.us>
Date: Thu, 18 Jun 2009 13:42:31 -0500
Cc: Xiaoshu Wang <wangxiao@musc.edu>, "Sean B. Palmer" <sean@miscoranda.com>, "david@dbooth.org" <david@dbooth.org>, "www-tag@w3.org" <www-tag@w3.org>
Message-Id: <476BA847-6D64-4107-9C00-993822C1B057@ihmc.us>
To: "Williams, Stuart (HP Labs, Bristol)" <skw@hp.com>

On Jun 18, 2009, at 12:53 PM, Williams, Stuart (HP Labs, Bristol) wrote:

>>> Well... http://www.w3.org/TR/webarch is pretty clear in its one and
>>> only diagram that what is obtained from the web are
>>> awww:representation of a resource as opposed to the resource itself.
>>> I think that accords with your position.
>> I think possibly there may be a misunderstanding here about the
>> meaning of the phrase "obtained from". If I walk up to the Web, so to
>> speak, and throw a URI at it, then what I get back is (as Stuart  
>> says)
>> a representation of something.
> So far so good...
>> But what I managed to make contact
>> with, and what sent me that representation, and which that
>> representation is a(n awww:)representation of, is supposed to be a
>> resource of some (special) kind.
> Still ok...
> "(special)" alluding to 'so-called' "information resource"?


> And parenthetically because of controversy over 1) objective  
> charactterisation of such a 'special' kind of resources and 2)  
> whether robust characterisation is actually necssary or possible?


>> And Ive been reading Xaioshu as  meaning that that resource, whatever
>> it is, is what is "obtained from" the Web; in which case, his  
>> position
>> makes more sense (though I still  don't agree with it :-)
> FWIW my reading of Xiaoshu's is that he complains that the TAG holds  
> the position that it takes what is "obtained from" the web (aka. an  
> awww:representation) as being *the* referenced resource

Oh. That is clearly wrong.

> , and that that is not a position that the TAG should hold - which  
> is fortunate (maybe) because AFAIK it is not infact a position held  
> by the TAG (or by TR/webarch).


> That the awww:representation obtained could be *a* resource is  
> possible.

Even that is rather problematic. In spite of my espousal of the  
ubiquity of logic, the transient awww:representations themselves seem  
to be a rare example of a thing that it is very difficult, close to  
impossible, to refer to.

> However, the obtained representation is just not (usually, ever?)  
> the resource being referred to in the original reference.


> I'm still thinking about your book example... particularly
> 	"This entity involved in the this transaction, here and now, is  
> what you are asking
> 	about; it is the thing that the name you just used refers to".
> The physical book seems to serve as both message  
> (awww:representation) and resource.

Right, the example could be better, I see that it is misleading for  
this reason. Try this. I point to a cloud in the sky and say to you  
"look at that". And because of the proximity of my utterance and the  
physical setting and my gesture and your understanding of such  
gestures, it is clear that my word "that" refers to the actual,  
particular, cloud. Here, the 'message' (awww:representation) is  
probably the light coming from the cloud to your retina, or some such.

As I understand Xiaoshu's recent reply, one could object that there is  
no way to guarantee conclusively that the thing you are identifying in  
the actual world is indeed the thing, or aspect, which I had in mind  
when I uttered the word. This is similar to Quine's point about the  
ultimate impossibility of translation: "gavagai" uttered in the  
vicinity of rabbits  might mean rabbit, or it might mean that the  
quality of rabbitness is locally manifested: it depends on your, er,  
ontology. I guess I just don't buy this argument, because it (the  
argument) seems to entail that none of us could ever learn a language:  
but we do. But lets take that debate offline. My point was only that  
the http-range-14 ruling is very much like what happens in everyday  
life when we attach names to their referents by using a word in close  
proximity to the referent in certain linguistically recognizable ways.  
Which I myself find kind of satisfying, but maybe thats just me. :-)


> The closest 'electronic' example I can get to is an immutable file/ 
> document that has a single invariant representation over its entire  
> lifetime.
> FWIW: I think Xiaoshu, you, I and the TAG (at least the one I was  
> part of) hold(held) very similar positions.
>> Pat
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
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> Stuart
> --

IHMC                                     (850)434 8903 or (650)494 3973
40 South Alcaniz St.           (850)202 4416   office
Pensacola                            (850)202 4440   fax
FL 32502                              (850)291 0667   mobile
phayesAT-SIGNihmc.us       http://www.ihmc.us/users/phayes
Received on Thursday, 18 June 2009 18:43:20 UTC

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