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Re: [ontolog-forum] RDF and XML

To: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Cc: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Pat Hayes <phayes@xxxxxxx>
Date: Sat, 22 Jun 2013 11:30:55 -0500
Message-id: <2C7F592F-CCC2-4406-AB9E-091DD7EC2030@xxxxxxx>
Ahem.      (01)

As someone who is heavily involved in both the CL and RDF 1.1 communities, I 
have to say that I find this idea - of basing SWeb formalisms on Common Logic - 
completely unworkable. Not for technical reasons, but for political/social 
ones. There is absolutely no way that anything as complicated as CL is going to 
be adopted by Web developers and software engineers in the forseeable future. 
The touchstone question to ask about any proposed data model or format is this, 
I have been repeatedly told: Can a software developer use it to build a 
prototype application that does something interesting or useful, using easily 
available tools and systems, in a couple of days, without having to read 
anything more than a few paragraphs of explanation or learn more than one new 
idea? If not, forget it. No matter how wonderful it might be, it will not get 
taken up and adopted by enough developers to make it a viable standard.     (02)

Let me take as an illustrative example the 2004 RDF Semantics specification 
document. RDF is an almost trivially simple logic compared to CL, and its model 
theory is if anything even simpler by comparison (because the CL model theory 
is actually fairly intricate, for technical/historical reasons that need not 
concern us here.) And we wrote that 2004 document deliberately in a kind of 
'tutorial' mode because we knew that many readers would not be familiar with 
model-theoretic semantics, so it is thick with internal links to a thoroughly 
comprehensive glossary, etc.. Some "logical" readers thought it was a really 
nicely written document. In the Semantic Web/Linked Data world of Web 
developers, it has been the single most disastrous cause for the failure of RDF 
to be adopted. RDF is now almost universally perceived as complicated and 
arcane and generally weird, so much so that even to use the three letters R-D-F 
in the introduction to JSON-LD (which is an RDF dialect written in JSON) has 
been resisted as likely to harm adoption. Just using the word "semantics" is 
widely seen in many communities as likely to destroy any chances of wide 
adoption of any technology.     (03)

It is no good writing tutorials and glossaries for people who are not motivated 
to learn something new, and developers are not at school. They just want to get 
software working. They don't give a damn about expressiveness of logics or 
about validity of entailments, and they *certainly* don't care about anything 
that smacks of philosophy.    (04)

So, you have to sneak the new ideas into people's heads without them realizing 
it. Telling them to translate everything into ISO-CL is not a good way to do 
that. Giving them a way to use JSON that makes in, invisibly, into a fairly 
compact notation for RDF is a good sneaky start. Tweaking the RDF data model so 
that it becomes a variant of Peirce's existential graph notation (see 
http://www.slideshare.net/PatHayes/blogic-iswc-2009-invited-talk) would be a 
good sneaky next step. But all this will have to be done with care, and without 
telling people that the first thing they should do is take a graduate course in 
model theory or quickly brush up on ISO Common Logic. Because they simply won't 
do that, and if they hear you saying that, they will stop listening.     (05)

On Jun 22, 2013, at 12:48 AM, John F Sowa wrote:    (06)

> Pat C, Michel, and Chris,
> Pat Hayes and Guha defined the LBase for RDF and OWL as a subset
> of the CL model theory.  That means that all the Semantic Web
> logics can be represented as various subsets of Common Logic.
> PC
>> I would like to find a program that actually *translates* OWL into CL.
>> Does anyone know of such a program?
> I don't know of any program that does the translation, but Pat Hayes
> spelled out the details.  The rest, as they say, is ASMOP --
> A Simple Matter Of Programming.    (07)

See, John, this is why developers don't listen. They have to actually DO the 
actual programming. If you think they should use ISO-CL, you write the freeware 
code to make their lives easier.    (08)

>    http://www.ihmc.us/users/phayes/CL/SW2SCL.html
>    Translating Semantic Web languages into Common Logic
> MD
>> Is there no path by which CL can be brought into the fold
>> of Semantic Web technologies?
> Recommendation:  All the SW languages can be treated as dialects
> of Common Logic.    (09)

That is exactly what L-base was all about. It is already out there as a 
published W3C Note, has been there now for nine years. The take-up is exactly 
zero. This ideas does NOT WORK.    (010)

>  That means that CL is the universal medium that
> can relate all of them to one another and to many other versions
> of logic.  In particular, SHOE and F-logic, which I mentioned in
> my previous note, could be specified as CL dialects.  CL could
> be used to relate them to OWL, if needed for some application.
> MD
>> Is there a document that can describe the advantages, disadvantages of 
> There are many people who have discussed these issues, and it would be
> possible to use Pat H's web page as a basis for specifying the details.
> The basic advantage would be a common model-theoretic semantics that
> would play the role of SWeLL in Tim B-L's original proposal.
> MD
>> Who would champion it through the W3C process?
> We'd have to find somebody connected with the W3C who understands
> the issues and would be willing to talk to a lot of people.    (011)

Been there, done that. Who do you talk to? TimBL already understands this very 
well, his N3 system has has more-than-FO expressivity for years. Try selling 
this idea to, say, a half-dozen Web developer companies. Then to a few hundred 
developers. Then to a few thousand Web developers. All you will generate is 
email debate/noise.     (012)

And to be less cynical for a moment, what actual advantage would it be to be 
using ISO-CL, even if the tools were available? The amount of data out there 
that needs anything beyond OWL expressivity is vanishingly small. Very few 
applications actually perform anything other than the most trivial inferences. 
I have not seen any mash-up application that needed to use, for example, 
deMorgan's law. So why would anyone use this hammer to crack their nuts?     (013)

> C Mungal
>> Advantages/disadvantages: CL is more expressive than RDF or OWL.
>> RDF and OWL currently have more libraries, tools, support, mindshare,
>> persistent stores, etc than CL. What's more important for your application?
> You can have both.  When you adopt the more expressive CL as the
> foundation, all the tools for the subset languages become CL tools.    (014)

Just calling them "CL tools" doesn't make them interoperate. And they don't 
interoperate for all kind of messy detail reasons as well as the basic semantic 
incompatibilities. You have to get both of them fixed, the principled things 
and the messy details. We spend more time on how to format and type 
character-string literals than almost any other topic in RDF 1.1     (015)

Pat    (016)

> The Cyc Project, for example, has a very expressive CycL logic, but
> it uses a large variety of different reasoning methods for different
> kinds of problems.  The users view CycL as a single, unified language.
> But for any particular problem, the system automatically selects one
> reasoning method or another as the one that is most suitable for
> that problem.
> I discuss some of these issues in the following article:
>    http://www.jfsowa.com/pubs/fflogic.pdf
>    Fads and Fallacies About Logic
> John
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