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Re: [ontolog-forum] CL, CG, IKL and the relationship between symbols in

To: "Pat Hayes" <phayes@xxxxxxx>
Cc: ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
From: "John Black" <JohnBlack@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sun, 20 Jan 2008 19:33:41 -0500
Message-id: <0b1501c85bc5$46382a30$6601a8c0@KASHORI001>
Re: [ontolog-forum] CL, CG, IKL and the relationship betwThe 
following is an attempt to summarize (and reformat in plain text) 
a long discussion about the context-independence of  URIs so that 
I can respond to Pat's last response.    (01)

Originally I lamented that it was unfortunate that the W3C's 
architecture documents did not distinguish between the 
establishment of a URI and each instance of its use. My complaint 
was that this prevented using the context of the use of an 
instance of the URI when interpreting it.    (02)

PH> The key point is, what would count as a 'context' for a
> context-dependent URI?    (03)

PH> Consider this scenario. You, sitting at your computer, use
> a URi to browse an interesting website, and you send me an
> email telling me about it and citing the URI. I then, sitting 
> at my
> computer, two days later on the other side of the planet, type
> that URI into my browser. We expect that we will see the same
> website: but what do our two contexts have in common? It might
> be almost nothing: the times, places, browsers, countries, 
> users,
> OSs, maybe even cultural and linguistic settings, can be 
> completely
> different. It is inherent to the Web that the contexts of 
> publication
> and of use of a URI can be arbitrarily different and far apart 
> on
> every dimension, yet the URI is supposed to retain its meaning.    (04)

JB>> In the following example, the differing 'contexts' are the 
web-pages upon which occurrences of a URI appear.    (05)

JB>> Your scenario is not applicable here. We need the following
>> scenario. You, sitting at your computer, use URI-A to browse
>> to an interesting web-page upon which you see a small graphic,
>> retrieved by an occurrence of URI-CD, which refers to an
>> assertion that the web-page you are viewing is written in
>> valid XHTML 1.0.    (06)

JB>> This is URI-CD:  http://www.w3.org/Icons/valid-xhtml10    (07)

JB>> What this URI is intended to denote is this assertion (from 
>> W3C help page: http://validator.w3.org/docs/help.html) "To 
>> show
>> readers that one has taken some care to create an 
>> interoperable
>> Web page, a "W3C valid" badge may be displayed (here, the
>> "valid XHTML 1.0" badge) on any page that validates."    (08)

PH> The URI denotes that badge/image/web-resource/thingie.
> There is only one of it, and it, itself, is never used to make 
> any
> assertions. The HTTP protocols supply us with a copy
> (webarch:representation) of it, and we can then use that copy
> to human:assert something about the page the copied image
> is on. OK, lets agree on all that.    (09)

PH> But notice that the [speech] 'acts' here ...<snip>... are
> intrinsically dynamic things, events that occur in time and
> within a social context (a 'web conversation', perhaps), not
> textual or even indexical entities. It is the act of displaying
> the "place order" button which constitutes the making of the
> offer, not the button itself.    (010)

PH> The name of the badge denotes the badge. USING a TOKEN of
> that badge in a certain way MAKES an assertion. But the name of
> the badge doesn't denote the assertion made with a copy of the
> badge. It also doesn't denote the web page on which the copy
> occurs, or the time of day when it was published, or a host of
> other things closely associated with it.    (011)

PH> You miss my point. I am conceding that one can use the image
> to make an assertion. My point is that the image is not 
> identical
> with the assertional act that uses it, nor with the content 
> that is
> expressed by such an act.    (012)

What then is the assertional act that makes this image into an 
assertion? Just this, I propose, a person takes the assertional 
act of embedding a token of that URI, 
"http://www.w3.org/Icons/valid-xhtml10";, into her HTML page and 
publishing the page to the web. And because the resulting 
assertion is indexical, the assertion thus made is different for 
each web-page that a TOKEN of that URI is embedded into.  Are we 
still agreed?    (013)

Now consider the word, "I", the first-person English pronoun. 
There is just one English word "I".  Copies of it, tokens as you 
say, when embedded in speech or text, can be used by a speaker to 
denote that speaker who so embeds it. To denote (or name) that 
word we use a token of it, in quotes.  And we say of the word 
named "I" that it denotes the speaker that embeds it in a 
sentence, that it is indexical, etc. Can't we similarly say of 
the URI named "http://www.w3.org/Icons/valid-xhtml10";, that it 
denotes the assertion which is made when a web-page author takes 
the assertional act of embedding a token of it in his web-page, 
that it is indexical, etc.?  You keep insisting that the URI 
denotes the image, but to me that would be like saying the word, 
"I", denotes some 16-point, black-ink image of the letter "I" on 
a paper page. To me both the black-ink "I" image and the w3c 
badge image are just vehicles for delivering content.    (014)

By the way, I would like to point out that some of the questions 
in this discussion may apply also to the ISO Common Logic (CL) 
specification. In the CL Requirements section 5.1.3, "Common 
Logic should be easy and natural for use on the Web" there is 
this statement, "b. URIs and URI references should be usable as 
names in the language". And in the "...syntax and semantics" 
section 6.3.1 "Importations and named phrases", where it states, 
"All texts which are published and identified on a network 
*shall* be mutually interpretable with all other texts on the 
network which can import them, over the same universe of 
reference and domain of discourse, and with their vocabularies 
merged."    (015)

John Black
www.kashori.com    (016)

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