Thanks for your helpful distinction between Semantics and Pragmatics. I
shall keep to Pragmatics in future, believing as I do that Semantics is a
useful heuristic, but only when you know is a mistake :-). (Is there an
emoticon for waving a red rag at a bull?). (01)
The reason for raising the question about risk is precisely because of
the need for due diligence. Due diligence is a cost, and one needs to know how
much one needs to spend to bring the level of risk down to an acceptable level.
Even ten years ago, a single pop rivet for an aircraft could cost as much as
£80 ($160) as opposed to, say, 50 for a £1 for domestic use, and much of the
cost can be in certifying the supplier. (02)
This question could be rephrased in terms of trust (as a heuristic, one
could take trust as the reciprocal of risk). In this case, it is trust of the
pragmatics of a term, however a very similar question arises in the security
world - I am also currently looking at what we would need to do to trust a grid
computing environment to be secure. (03)
I agree the problem is non-trivial, which is why I asked the question,
did you of a methodology for doing it. I guess the answer is no. That, at
least, is a result. (04)
0117 302 8184 (05)
> -----Original Message-----
> From: John F. Sowa [mailto:sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx]
> Sent: 28 August 2007 19:22
> To: [ontolog-forum]
> Cc: Barker, Sean (UK)
> Subject: Re: [ontolog-forum] Current Semantic Web Layer pizza
> (was ckae)
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> Sean and Pat,
> You both have valid points. To clarify the issues, I suggest
> that we adopt some terms that are common in discussions of
> meaning in languages, both natural and artificial:
> - *Syntax* addresses the grammatical form of any notation,
> independent of any question of what those forms mean.
> - *Semantics* addresses the relationship between any
> notation and the things or events that the notation
> refers to. It includes both reference (what the names
> and variables refer to in the domain of interest) and
> truth (whether the patterns expressed by the notation
> correctly characterize the patterns in the domain).
> - *Pragmatics* addresses the purpose of the notation
> and how it relates to the behavior of the people and
> other agents (including computers) that use the notation.
> SB>> The meaning of a computer system is always the behaviour
> >> of the organization that uses it.
> PH> ... that is rather a stretch. The meaning IS the behavior??
> > No, the behavior depends (in part) on the meaning: but the
> > meaning is what it is even if nobody acts on the information.
> That is why the word 'meaning' is confusing. Sean is talking
> about pragmatics, and Pat is talking about semantics. I
> suggest that we avoid the word 'meaning' and discuss the
> issues in terms of syntax, semantics, and pragmatics.
> SB>> If I have a collection of designs for an aircraft, a set of
> >> orders for parts and a stock of material, I expect to
> come in >> the following day to have a set of appropriately
> shaped lumps >> of metal, not a print out saying 'the
> machine could in theory >> make the parts you require'.
> That is a valid goal. But it is a matter of pragmatics (what
> the system is supposed to do), which depends critically on
> the semantics (what are the specified patterns for the lumps)
> and the syntax (what is the grammar for specifying lumps).
> PH> I doubt if it is possible to quantify this or even define
> > it reasonably, as it will depend so heavily on what use is
> > made of the information in the ontology.
> My revision of Pat's point:
> I doubt if it is possible to quantify [the pragmatics] or
> even define it reasonably, as it will depend so heavily on
> what use is made of the [semantic] information in the ontology.
> I certainly agree that the pragmatics depends on the
> semantics, but I also believe that it is possible to define
> procedures that would determine the pragmatics -- i.e., how a
> computerized machine should respond to the semantics by
> making the desired products.
> SB>> Perhaps a more useful question is not whether the ontology
> >> corresponds (or what ever phrase does not upset the
> philosophers) >> to reality, but what is the risk that I run
> if I assume you mean >> the same thing that I do when we use
> a term from an ontology.
> PH> I doubt if it is possible to quantify this or even define it
> > reasonably, as it will depend so heavily on what use is
> made of > the information in the ontology.
> I agree that Sean's point is important, and I agree with Pat
> that more information (i.e., pragmatics and a lot of related
> background about engineering practice) is needed before
> Sean's point can be suitably defined and quantified.
> SB> Unless I can quantify these risk factors, then I will not trust
> > the Semantic Web for anything other than low impact actions.
> I agree that engineers are expected to quantify the risk
> factors, but the information needed to do so depends on many
> more issues than just the ontology.
> PH> I am confident that the Sweb will survive being un-trusted
> > by conservative engineers for a while.
> If I were a physician or an engineer who hoped to avoid a
> malpractice suit, I would not use *anything* I found on the
> WWW (semantic or not) without doing a great deal of "due
> diligence" on where that data came from, how it was derived,
> what are the previous experiences of using it, etc.
> I take my life in my hands whenever I drive my car or fly in
> a plane, and I'm willing to continue doing so. But there is
> no currently available ontology (not CYC, SUMO, DOLCE, BFO,
> or anything else I have seen so far), which I would trust
> with my own life or anybody else's (especially if they might
> have survivors who could sue me).
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