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[ontolog-forum] Topic maps and the "wheel" of "logical semantics": was R

To: Pat Hayes <phayes@xxxxxxx>
Cc: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Patrick Durusau <patrick@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 30 Apr 2007 10:55:32 -0400
Message-id: <46360364.70209@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Pat,    (01)

No, not much point in continuing this thread. But I did want to point 
out one statement that is simply wrong and misleading:    (02)

> By the way, the literature of 'Topic Maps' seems to include a kind of 
> vague groping towards a semantic theory, but it has not yet reached 
> the level of technical sophistication that logical semantics reached 
> in the mid-1960s. Sometimes it is a very good idea to not try to 
> re-invent the wheel, particularly if you don't know any wheelwrights.     (03)

If that is your impression of topic maps then you are seriously 
mis-informed.    (04)

Topic maps can be boiled down to two assumptions:    (05)

1. People identify the same subjects differently.    (06)

2. It is possible to disclose a mapping between different 
identifications of a subject such that all the information about that 
subject can be collocated to a single location.    (07)

That's it. No attempt to specify a semantic theory or reasoning, etc. 
Anyone can use any basis for identifying a subject and any basis they 
like for saying that two or more identifications do indeed represent the 
same subject.    (08)

That is not to deny that *particular* topic maps may be constructed 
using particular ontologies or semantic theories. XTM topic maps, for 
instance, use sets of URIs for subject identification. But that is *a* 
choice and does not limit (according to the standards as currently 
written) another topic map from making other choices.    (09)

You can record "logical" properties for subjects if you want to "reason" 
about them or any other properties that you find useful.    (010)

Put a bit more expansively, topic maps are an attempt to enable people 
who are unaware of the many flavors of ontologies, logic in any form, 
etc., to get about the business of identifying their subjects as well as 
recognizing and mapping to other identifications of the same subjects. 
You are free, of course, to use ontologies or logic for such 
identifications or mappings, but such tools are not required.    (011)

Judging from the current state of finding information on any given 
subject on the WWW, the wheel of "logical semantics" has been ignored, 
is broken or has other concerns.    (012)

Hope you are at the start of a great week!    (013)

Patrick    (014)

Patrick Durusau
Chair, V1 - Text Processing: Office and Publishing Systems Interface
Co-Editor, ISO 13250, Topic Maps -- Reference Model
Member, Text Encoding Initiative Board of Directors, 2003-2005    (015)

Topic Maps: Human, not artificial, intelligence at work!     (016)

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