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   Re: [xml-dev] Generality of HTTP

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Miles Sabin wrote:

> Jonathan Borden wrote,
> > It seems to me that the benefit of HTTP is that it allows the
> > 'owner' of the URI, which means the registrant of the DNS entry of
> > the hostname, or owner of the IP address, either of which is the
> > "host" part of the URI, to make some statement regarding what the
> > URI is intended _by the owner_ to mean.
> Who cares what the owner means. There's nothing to stop anyone else
> using that very same URI to mean something else. That's why URIs can't
> on their own convey meaning. To get that you need semantic agreement
> between the producers and the consumers of the URIs.

Assuming that the "producers"/owners and consumers of URIs intend to have a
conversation, it is rather helpful for the consumers to know what the
producers intend the URIs (words) to mean. Hence I care.

> Note what's doing the work here: the agreement, not any form of
> administrative control over any resource on the end of the URI. If
> enough people choose to interpret,
>   http://www.markbaker.ca/2002/01/Bricks/
> as "denoting the class of people who don't have a firm grip on the
> concept of naming", then that's what it means (for them) no matter
> what Mark might think.

True, but then there is likewise nothing preventing me from interpreting:


to 'mean' a pile of bricks.

>...That's not in and of itself a problem, but it
> could be, eg. if Mark wanted to start talking to one of that group
> about bricks.

which is why at the end of the day URIs are rather mundane names or words
and this problem is not at all unique. If we don't have conventions then we
can't have conversations or get work done.

taking your argument to its extreme: 2 + 2 = 5, if I choose to define it
that way for me. This argument was perhaps best made by WVO Quine in the
'Two Dogmas of Empiricism" and the term "Quining an argument" has been used
to refer some people's habit of ignoring common conventions about what words
mean, in order to 'disprove' an argument. I submit, simply that as it is
useful to consider 2+2 = 4 in order to derive the benefits of mathematics
and engineering (e.g. when I am building a bridge) that it is similarly
useful to know what the owner or producer of a URI intends it to mean.


> Cheers,
> Miles
> --
> Miles Sabin                                     InterX
> Internet Systems Architect                      27 Great West Road
> +44 (0)20 8817 4030                             Middx, TW8 9AS, UK
> msabin@interx.com                               http://www.interx.com/
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