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Re: [ontolog-forum] {Disarmed} Re: OWL and lack of identifiers

To: "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Steve Newcomb <srn@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: 19 Apr 2007 16:07:51 -0400
Message-id: <87abx4m8ko.fsf@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Waclaw Kusnierczyk <Waclaw.Marcin.Kusnierczyk@xxxxxxxxxxx> writes:    (01)

> Re: Steve Newcomb's post on Topic Maps (14 Apr 2007 12:54:31)
> An interesting post with lots of solid remarks.  I have one question, 
> though.
> You say:
> > All that the Topic Maps Reference Model is saying is that
> > self-disclosing information necessarily includes certain disclosure(s)
> > of the context(s) within which it expresses specific meaning(s).  The 
> > model does NOT require that anything in particular means anything in
> > particular.  Conformance to it merely means that opinions about the
> > meanings of particular expressions in particular contexts are
> > knowable.
> If I understand what you're saying, the point is that an expression
> should always be provided with a context in which it can/should be
> interpreted.  With such a context, it is possible to find out what it is
> that the expression is intended to be a proxy of.    (02)

I like your playback, but I would clarify that the author of an
expression may or may not be the same person whose intentions
regarding its interpretation are what is being used for interpretive
guidance in any particular instance.    (03)

We must, however, assume that whoever authored a given subject proxy
intended everything that appears in it, including the interpretive
guidances that it invokes, to be whatever those things are.  If it
contains multiple subject identifications, expressed in terms of
multiple universes of discourse, then each of them was    (04)

  This means, among
other things, that:    (05)

* Delegation of intent is possible.  If the author of a subject proxy
  copied its properties from another author's subject proxy, then    (06)

I see in it something that has confused me a
lot: the notion of "intention".  This word sounds easy but I've
learned that it's a traitor.  Subject mapping is all about intentions.
The basic idea, like the basic idea of all respectful communication,
is to enable insights to be copied from one mind to another.    (07)

Close.  More precisely: Each of a subject proxy's properties should be
provided with a context in which    (08)

, proxies, among those proxies that are equipped with
subject identification expressions that are expressed within the same
universe of discourse    (09)

> It appears to me that in most circumstances you will not be able to
> provide the context, but rather a proxy, another expression describing
> the context.  Now we get the pains of infinite regress:  to know what
> the context is, the expression intended to be a proxy of the context has
> to be provided with a context (another proxy, I guess), and so on.  With
> a finite and ungrounded representational artifact, it means that it
> would be impossible to interpret any expression.    (010)

Very true.      (011)

> The only way out that I can see is to assume, at some iteration, that
> the interpreter will itself/himself/herself interpret the expression (be
> it the primary expression or any of its context-...-contexts) in the
> correct way, that is, that the interpreter is able to (or is forced to,
> by its nature) apply the correct context.    (012)

Yes, of course.    (013)

> But if such assumption has to be made, then I see no reason, in
> principle, for why it would be reasonable to assume that the interpreter
> can apply the correct context for interpreting an expression's context
> expression, but it/he/she cannot apply the correct context for
> interpreting the primary expression without it being enclosed in a
> context-expression.    (014)

> Could you justify your point?  (Or explain where I am wrong, if I am.)    (015)

I'm not sure what you're asking me to do, here.  I'm going to guess
that you're asking about the bootstrapping/grounding problem: that the
process whereby interpretive guidance is known must actually land
somewhere.    (016)

I worried about this for a long time and I finally decided that I
needed to demonstrate that the problem can be solved.  I wasn't smart
enough to figure it out any other way.  And, at least for me, it
proved to be very tedious and taxing to make a system that could
bootstrap itself from within itself in the necessary self-exposing,
self-disclosing way.  But it was, in fact, doable.  (I could do it
better now, now that I know what to do, but the original code can be
found at versavant.sourceforge.net.)    (017)

Basically, there needs to be a subject proxy for each universe of
discourse, and each universe of discourse basically consists of a set
of subject proxy property classes.  There needs to be at least one
underlying "system universe of discourse" (in Versavant, this is
called the "system topic map application" or "system TMA" or "Vsys"),
which provides the property classes that are instantiated in the
proxies whose subjects are themselves property classes.  The grounding
problem is thus finessed: the "bottom turtle" in the stack of
ontology-turtles is a self-grounding one.  (If my "stack of turtles"
metaphor is opaque to you, see
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turtles_all_the_way_down)    (018)

-- Steve    (019)

Steven R. Newcomb, Consultant
Coolheads Consulting    (020)

Co-editor, Topic Maps International Standard (ISO/IEC 13250)
Co-editor, draft Topic Maps -- Reference Model (ISO/IEC 13250-5)    (021)

http://www.coolheads.com    (022)

direct: +1 540 951 9773
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fax:    +1 540 951 9775    (023)

208 Highview Drive
Blacksburg, Virginia 24060 USA    (024)

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