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Why not leave meaning the province of humans, who sometimes write
programs to give an operational "meaning" to XML documents? The meaning
is not intrinsic to the document; only the syntax is.
I agree that by its nature, XML does not (and was never meant to)
capture rich semantics and meaning. But I do not agree that XML is
*completely* devoid of semantics.
Consider the following XML schema snippet:
<xsd:element name="ApplicantEstimatedAmount" type="xsd:decimal"/>
<xsd:documentation>This is the amount that the Applicant has
Can't one discern the meaning (at some level) of the element above,
through a combination of a rich (ISO/IEC 11179-based) element name and a
robust definition provided as documentation? The rest would be up to
semantic registries such as ISO/IEC 11179 or the ISO Basic Semantic
Register (BSR), and technologies such as RDF and OWL.
Booz | Allen | Hamilton
Bob Foster wrote:
> > I agree with Tim that XML is a name/label/structure
> > system and as such, doesn't care much about this
> > debate. However, that simply says the developer
> > has to care, so we still have to face up to the
> > symbol grounding problem elaborated in detail
> > by Charles Peirce in his papers on semiotics over
> > a hundred years ago and clarified in the works
> > of John Sowa. Harnad  explains it satisfactorily
> > in terms of AI approaches including combining
> > connection systems (eg, neural netws) with symbol
> > systems. All good background, but there are other
> > approaches and we should explore these.
> Why do we have to face up to the symbol grounding problem? If I
> systematically replace "meaningful" with "valid" I can come up with
> solutions for namespace composability that are purely syntactic. E.g., James
> Clark's NRL.
> Why not leave meaning the province of humans, who sometimes write programs
> to give an operational "meaning" to XML documents? The meaning is not
> intrinsic to the document; only the syntax is.
> > In short, clearly namespaces enable composability
> > at the syntactic level. Just as clearly, many
> > combinations are meaningless.
> If you say many combinations are invalid and will not be accepted by some
> program, we have grounds for agreement. But if you want to assert that
> combinations are meaningful that will not be accepted by any program, I
> wonder what is the point?
> Truly puzzled but willing to learn.
> Bob Foster
> > As Harnad says
> > when defining systematicity:
> > "The patterns of interconnections do not decompose, combine
> > and recombine according to a formal syntax that can be given
> > a systematic semantic interpretation."
> > So in effect, we can create namespace aggregates
> > which are not systematic. So via namespaces,
> > any set of XML application productions (by which
> > I mean, a production from HTML, from SVG, from
> > X3D, or XSLT) can be combined and be syntactically
> > correct.
> > How can one determine:
> > 1. If a given combination is meaningful
> > 2. How to discover that meaning
> > 3. How to assign that combination or even a single
> > production to a running piece of code
> > Item three is where the rubber meets the road.
> > a. Does RDF address these questions?
> > b. Is it better for worse particulary for item 3
> > than say using stylesheet assignments
> > c. Are other approaches such as abstract
> > object models as good or better than RDF for
> > writing the rules of a semantically valid
> > combination?
> > Next, is it desirable or workable that any
> > arbitrary combination of XML productions from
> > any language be meaningful? I think the answer
> > here is no and leads back to 1.
> > I think this an important topic because it touches
> > on issues such as when should two application language
> > working groups seek convergence, can we create
> > XML application languages that don't set of IP tripwires
> > by ensuring implementations based on IP aren't a part
> > of the language definition, should we begin to classify
> > semantically valid XML production combinations, and where
> > in that will standardization impede innovation,
> > is it really a good idea to use a standard namespace
> > name to point to running code?
> > len
> >  http://tbray.org/ongoing/When/200x/2003/08/11/SymbolGrounding
> >  http://weblog.infoworld.com/udell/2003/08/11.html#a775
> > 
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org:Booz | Allen | Hamilton;IT Digital Strategies Team
adr:;;8283 Greensboro Drive;McLean;VA;22012;
fn:Joseph M. Chiusano