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July 31, 2011


Joey Carlisle

As somebody who has done a lot of statistics before, I found this very refreshing. This is a fantastic way to explain to somebody philosophically how one will be able to make sense of raw data and turn it into something that is meaningful.

Did I understand your article correctly?


Nice essay on necessary technology for knowledge representation in a text resource based and NLP-ridden environment!

For digging deeper into the ideas discussed in your last paragraphs, I recommend reading about the Topic Maps standard.

Topic Maps aim to be a rather "pragmatic philosophical technology" as you call it. - And they are a bit different from what currently buzzes as the "Semantic Web". Especially interesting is their use of identifiers and their identity merging concept based on that identifiers. Also worth a glance should be the approach modelling of statements (with fixed semantics) entirely based on "topics" - digital proxys for real world entities, concepts and other constructs of thought and reality.

Great essay! Topic maps weren't the first effort to address the issues you raise but (personally biased as a topic map standard editor) I too would recommend reading about them. My blog, Another Word For It, focuses on topic maps and semantic diversity.

The one point about subjects that I would make explicit is that the ways we talk about subjects are also composed of subjects. That is if I am identified by name = "Patrick Durusau", then "name" is just as much a subject as the subject we are trying to identify. That realization makes it easier to create mappings between formats/data structures (which are composed of subjects). Or more bluntly, no format or data structure is final or universal.

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