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Re: [ontolog-forum] mKR (was Thing and Class)

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Christopher Menzel <cmenzel@xxxxxxxx>
Date: Sat, 13 Sep 2008 12:47:12 -0500
Message-id: <A7EFCEC7-CC56-48C7-A2B5-F5172C458F91@xxxxxxxx>
On Sep 12, 2008, at 8:44 PM, Rick Murphy wrote:
> Chris & All:
> Glad to see model theory come up again. I have a keen interest in  
> better
> understanding how model theory differentiates meaning from truth.    (01)

This is of course a very controverial issue, one whose relevance to KR  
is not at all clear, as the whole notion of a theory of meaning  
typically has to do with natural language, not the sorts of formal  
languages we find in KR.  That said, one can certainly say that a  
theory of meaning for a formal language just *is* a formal semantics.   
But whether we do or we don't, it's just a quibble about how to use  
the expression "theory of meaning".  The point is, the issue of  
meaning for natural languages seems to me to have little bearing on  
the claim that a usable KR language must have a formal semantics.    (02)

> My current understanding is that Tarski claims to provide a semantic
> conception of truth in his paper of the same name where truth is  
> defined
> in terms of material adequacy and formal correctness. He does not  
> claim
> to provide a theory of meaning ...    (03)

Yes, that is well known.  Indeed, Tarski didn't really seem to be  
interested in the theory of meaning for natural languages at all.   
Indeed, one of his motivations for developing his theory of truth for  
formal languages is that he found natural languages fraught with  
ambiguity and inconsistency.    (04)

> I also understand that when Pat Hayes wrote the RDF semantics  
> document for W3C, he chose to exclude a theory of meaning from the  
> scope of the document.    (05)

This is either obviously true or obviously false.  RDF is a formal  
language.  So if we include such languages in the scope of "theory of  
meaning", he provided a theory of meaning for RDF via his semantics.   
If we don't, then the notion simply has no relevance to what Pat was  
doing.    (06)

> I am also especially interested in some decisions made by Tim BL &  
> Co in the linked data activity that relate to material adequacy. My  
> current understanding is that non-information resources gets a 303,  
> then a redirect to another uri which is a representation of the non- 
> information resource that can be later rendered by a browser.
> These decisions seem to imply the need to revise the existing RDF  
> model
> theory with regards to material adequacy in that information and
> non-information resources are now specified. My intuition is that the
> issue here is more with material adequacy as interpretation than
> possible worlds.    (07)

Sorry, I'm not really following you here.    (08)

> I need to get back to Soames's refutation of the Davidsonian program
> which attempted to derive a theory of meaning from Tarski's semantic
> conception of truth. I had previously referenced this paper ...
> http://www-rcf.usc.edu/~soames/forthcoming_papers/ 
> Truth_and_Meaning.pdf
> and wondered whether anyone was interested in sharing their thoughts ?    (09)

This is a very interesting philosophical issue which, in my view, is  
pretty much irrelevant to the thesis that any KR language worth its  
salt needs a formal semantics.    (010)

-chris    (011)

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