model theory and literals

From: Pat Hayes (
Date: 10/10/01

Peter, after my mini-epiphany during the telecon yesterday, I had an 
even better one :-). I think that there is a very tiny, if 
unconventional, change to the RDF MT which will allow it to 
accommodate smoothly to your (or anyone else's) proposed treatment of 
literals: simply say (with some explanatory prose :-) that the XL 
mapping is a fixed mapping from literal TOKENS to literal values. 
That is, it allows one occurrence of <whatever>05</whatever> to 
denote an integer and another one to denote a string, just as long as 
they each denote the same thing in every interpretation. This allows 
both the case where every literal is simply a string which denotes 
itself, and it also allows the extreme other case where an elaborate 
external datatyping process assigns special values in all sorts of 
ways. However, it does insist that each literal label token has a 
fixed interpretation; it doesn't tolerate ambiguity of any 
*particular* literal label. I don't want to allow that kind of 

This will leave entirely mysterious how anyone or anything could 
determine what the actual denotation of any particular literal token 
actually is, of course. That is assumed to be done somehow, but is 
outside the scope of the MT itself.

With this change in wording, the actual equations can remain as they are.

Would that be sufficient flexibility for you, along with allowing IR 
to consist of both resources and literal values, so that rdfs:Literal 
doesn't force literal values to be resources?


PS I'm cross-posting this to both groups in case anyone can see a 
fatal objection.

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