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  1. <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
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  4.    <title>The BabelFish Blog</title>
  5.    <subtitle type="xhtml">
  6.        <div xmlns='http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml'>
  7.            A blog to help elucidate the link between these various interest of mine:
  8.            computing, philosophy and the web.
  9.            <br clear="none"/>
  10.            <q>On the web nobody knows you are a fish</q>
  11.        </div>
  12.    </subtitle>
  13.    <id>urn:uuid:b9b35141-a470-1e75-8136-982cb6a2c90a</id>
  14.    <updated>2010-12-12T09:15:41.443Z</updated>
  15.    <author>
  16.        <name>Henry Story</name>
  17.        <email>[email protected]</email>
  18.    </author>
  19.    <link rel="alternate" type="text/xhtml" href="index.html"/>
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  21.    <generator uri="https://bloged.dev.java.net" version="00.8">BlogEd 008</generator>
  22.    <entry>
  23.        <title>From Digital Sovereignty to the Web of Nations</title>
  24.        <link href="2018/05/16/webOfNations.html"/>
  25.        <id>http://bblfish.net/blog/2018/05/16/webOfNations.html</id>
  26.        <published>2018-05-16T12:00:00.000Z</published>
  27.        <updated>2018-06-02T16:00:00.000Z</updated>
  28.        <summary type="html"><i>This blog posts follows up on
  29.            <a target="_blank" href="2018/04/21/">Epistemology in the Cloud - on Fake News and Digital Sovereignty</a> presented at The Web Conf 2018 in Lyon. Here we explore the top layer of the co-operating systems stack: the institutional web and above - institutions of institutions, many of which are nations, and institutions of those such as the European Union or the United Nations. Institutions at that level are usually quite remote to most of us, so I will start by describing their political reality and impact by starting with the French amendment to the Digital Republic bill and the relevance of this to Britain's Brexit, an event that nobody can have ignored. We will then show how we can bring Nations into the web by linking them together to form a society of nations visible to Navigators in Cyberspace. This will allow cybernauts to see the legal space in which the owners of websites have tied themselves, thus anchoring trust in legal institutions, and so grow commerce as well as increase security by reducing the spread of fake news.</i>
  30.        </summary>
  31.        <content src="http://bblfish.net/blog/2018/05/16/webOfNations.html"/>
  32.    </entry>
  33.    <entry>
  34.        <title>The Linked Research Workshop - A subjective write-up</title>
  35.        <link href="2018/04/21/workshop.html"/>
  36.        <id>http://bblfish.net/blog/2018/04/21/workshop.html</id>
  37.        <published>2018-05-05T00:00:00.000Z</published>
  38.        <updated>2018-05-06T00:00:00.000Z</updated>
  39.        <summary type="text">
  40.            This is a summary of the Workshop on Linked Research at the Web Conf 2018 that started with Tim Berners-Lee
  41.            presenting
  42.            the SoLiD architecture using hyper-apps written at MIT. It followed with my presentation of the
  43.            philosophical underpinnings
  44.            of that platform by considering the problem of epistemology from the point of view of fake news. With
  45.            illustrative tweets from
  46.            illustrious people such as Dame Wendy Hall.
  47.        </summary>
  48.        <content src="http://bblfish.net/blog/2018/04/21/workshop.html" type="text/html"/>
  49.    </entry>
  50.    <entry>
  51.        <title>Epistemology in the Cloud - on Fake News and Digital Sovereignty</title>
  52.        <link href="2018/04/21/"/>
  53.        <id>http://bblfish.net/blog/2018/04/21/index.html</id>
  54.        <published>2018-04-21T00:00:00.000Z</published>
  55.        <updated>2018-05-04T00:00:00.000Z</updated>
  56.        <summary type="text">
  57.            This paper was written up for the Research Centric Scholarly Workshop at the Web Conf
  58.            2018 in Lyon.
  59.            In order to address the problem of fake news one needs to first consider
  60.            what knowledge is, a field known in philosophy as epistemology. This paper starts with
  61.            an intuitive description of the modal logic that appeared in the 1970ies under the name
  62.            "Counterfactual" logic, which was then used very influentially to provide a definition
  63.            of knowledge.
  64.            Using examples from science fiction we then show how these bear on the question of
  65.            the architecture of the web, and provide a socio/technical answer to the problem of
  66.            fake news.
  67.        </summary>
  68.        <content src="http://bblfish.net/blog/2018/04/21/index.html" type="text/html"/>
  69.    </entry>
  70.    <entry>
  71.        <title>WebID and eCommerce</title>
  72.        <link href="2012/04/30/"/>
  73.        <id>http://bblfish.net/blog/2012/04/30/</id>
  74.        <published>2012-04-30T16:00:00.000Z</published>
  75.        <updated>2012-05-01T12:50:00.000Z</updated>
  76.        <summary type="text">
  77.            TLS currently helps one know that when opens a connection to a service (domain:port pair)
  78.            one is actually connected to the machine that officially owns that domain. It does not
  79.            give one the big picture of what kind of entity one is actually connected to:
  80.            ie. it does not answer the following questions:
  81.  
  82.            - is this a legal entity?
  83.            - which country is it based in (or which legal framework is it responsible to)
  84.            - who are the owners
  85.            - what kind of organisation is it? (individual, bank, commerce, school, university, charity...)
  86.  
  87.            In a recent talk I gave at the European Identity conference in Biel, Switzerland, I looked
  88.            at how this extra information could be made available by using WebID and Linked Data, published
  89.            by official entities in ways that gave those documents legal weight. This would not be technically
  90.            very difficult to do, but would provide huge benefits to the web. It could increase trust
  91.            in the way people use the web, and it could enable commerce in a much broader way that hitherto
  92.            found on the web.
  93.  
  94.            The talks also shows how this can be then used to create a framework for flexible user identities
  95.            to enable e-commerce.
  96.  
  97.            The talk is made available here as a slidcast with audio, and as pdfs with the text.
  98.        </summary>
  99.        <content src="http://bblfish.net/blog/2012/04/30/" type="text/html"/>
  100.    </entry>
  101.    <entry>
  102.        <title>LifeShare: Refactoring a Web2.0 Social Network for the Social Web</title>
  103.        <link href="2011/11/11/"/>
  104.        <id>http://bblfish.net/blog/2011/11/11/</id>
  105.        <published>2011-12-09T20:00:00.000Z</published>
  106.        <updated>2011-12-09T20:00:00.000Z</updated>
  107.        <summary type="html">
  108.            LifeShare is an Open Source Social Network Server written by students at the University of Saint Etienne in
  109.            France, that has all the cool must have Social Network functionalities - such as walls, circles, etc.. - but
  110.            as shown in the screencast is missing the ability to be part of a larger global network, as most Web 2.0
  111.            apps in existence. In this screen cast we show the first stage in refactoring it so that it can work in the
  112.            growing ecology of Linked Data based Social Web application, and so that it itself can be distributed across
  113.            any number of servers. Ie: we show how to start refactoring a Web 2.0 application into a Web 3.0
  114.            application.
  115.        </summary>
  116.        <content src="http://bblfish.net/blog/2011/11/11/" type="text/html"/>
  117.    </entry>
  118.    <entry>
  119.        <title>W3C Identity in the Browser Workshop</title>
  120.        <link href="2011/05/25/"/>
  121.        <id>http://bblfish.net/blog/2011/05/25/</id>
  122.        <published>2011-05-25T13:00:00.000Z</published>
  123.        <updated>2011-05-25T10:00:00.000Z</updated>
  124.        <summary type="text">
  125.            Presentation of WebID in the Browswer with video at the Identity in the Browser Workshop
  126.            that took place in Menlo Park California.
  127.        </summary>
  128.        <content src="http://bblfish.net/blog/2011/05/25/" type="text/html"/>
  129.    </entry>
  130.    <entry>
  131.        <title>CableGate, Release Acts and the Pharmakon</title>
  132.        <link href="2010/12/10/"/>
  133.        <id>http://bblfish.net/blog/2010/12/10/</id>
  134.        <published>2010-12-10T10:00:00.000Z</published>
  135.        <updated>2010-12-15T10:00:00.000Z</updated>
  136.        <summary type="text">Wikileaks could be thought of as the 2010 Conceptual / Performance Art masterpiece: It
  137.            reveals and mediates contradictions and tensions from nearly every angle one looks at it. And not just any
  138.            contradictions, but the key ones for this unfolding century. Let us look at some of these issues in detail.
  139.        </summary>
  140.        <content src="http://bblfish.net/blog/2010/12/10/" type="text/html"/>
  141.    </entry>
  142.    <entry>
  143.        <title>moved blog</title>
  144.        <link href="page11.html#t2008_07_09.10_37_08_976"/>
  145.        <id>urn:uuid:53ac46c0-1e0d-47de-b39e-2a2dd0aa3637</id>
  146.        <updated>2008-07-09T09:15:41.443Z</updated>
  147.        <published>2008-07-09T08:34:25.910Z</published>
  148.        <content type="xhtml">
  149.            <div xmlns='http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml'>
  150.  
  151.                <p>As you may have noticed, I have not been keeping this blog up to date for
  152.                    a while. I am now blogging on <a href="http://blogs.sun.com/bblfish/" shape="rect">
  153.                        blogs.sun.com/bblfish</a>. You will find
  154.                    my latest thoughts there.
  155.                </p>
  156.  
  157.                <p>I have not been working much on <a href="https://bloged.dev.java.net/" shape="rect">BlogEd</a> for
  158.                    the last few years either,
  159.                    as I have had to concentrate my energies on what I think is the most likely to be of bigest impact.
  160.                    There are a lot of blog editors out there, so
  161.                    making a big impact there is very difficult. Instead I have been focusing on the
  162.                    <a href="https://sommer.dev.java.net/AddressBook.html" shape="rect">Semantic Address Book</a>
  163.                    as a demonstration of the linked data can solve some core problems in the social networking space.
  164.                </p>
  165.  
  166.            </div>
  167.        </content>
  168.    </entry>
  169.  
  170.    <entry>
  171.        <title>GapMinder.org</title>
  172.        <link href="page10.html#t2006_05_19.20_02_29_390"/>
  173.        <id>urn:uuid:a0ea733f-bca7-40bd-89b1-a5fe02fd4cbf</id>
  174.        <updated>2006-05-19T18:08:26.384Z</updated>
  175.        <published>2006-05-19T17:58:24.300Z</published>
  176.        <content type="xhtml">
  177.            <div xmlns='http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml'>
  178.  
  179.                <p>
  180.  
  181.                    <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Gage" shape="rect">John Gage</a>
  182.                    finished this years' Java One conference by pointing everyone
  183.                    to <a href="http://gapminder.org" shape="rect">Gapminder.org</a>, a site
  184.                    put together by a Swedish professor to illustrate clearly some important
  185.                    worlds poverty trends. This will be of interest to absolutely everyone.<br clear="none"/>The
  186.                    information presented in a series of <b>very</b> clearly designed flash
  187.                    animations, that teaches one more than years of looking at CNN ever
  188.                    could.
  189.                </p>
  190.  
  191.            </div>
  192.        </content>
  193.    </entry>
  194.  
  195.    <entry>
  196.        <title>Google Video: Invading North Korea</title>
  197.        <link href="page10.html#t2006_03_14.16_39_09_817"/>
  198.        <id>urn:uuid:7473b9ec-1112-46a1-8509-e1f2363d6b69</id>
  199.        <updated>2006-03-14T15:39:07.395Z</updated>
  200.        <published>2006-03-14T15:34:41.618Z</published>
  201.        <content type="xhtml">
  202.            <div xmlns='http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml'>
  203.  
  204.                <a href="http://video.google.com/" shape="rect">Google Video</a>
  205.                looks like a really
  206.                useful service. You can learn for example how to <a
  207.                    href="http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-2587661313510275113" shape="rect">invade
  208.                North Korea</a>, represented on the picture with little "2" flag.
  209.                Wikipedia seems to call <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australia" shape="rect">North
  210.                Korea
  211.            </a> by a different name, but what the heck :-)
  212.  
  213.                <p align="left">
  214.                    Hey, I think I am going to try uploading some videos too.
  215.                </p>
  216.  
  217.            </div>
  218.        </content>
  219.    </entry>
  220.  
  221.    <entry>
  222.        <title>Newsnight: The Cartoon Row</title>
  223.        <link href="page10.html#t2006_02_19.15_09_32_707"/>
  224.        <id>urn:uuid:c07ad784-7975-417f-9d8c-0ddeae52c356</id>
  225.        <updated>2006-02-19T18:01:31.177Z</updated>
  226.        <published>2006-02-19T13:48:23.639Z</published>
  227.        <content type="xhtml">
  228.            <div xmlns='http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml'>
  229.                The United Kingdom is blessed with some excellent news programs. One of
  230.                these is <a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/newsnight/default.stm" shape="rect">
  231.                Newsnight</a>,
  232.                a show that airs late in the evening and lasts over three quarters of an hour. It usually picks 3
  233.                topics, covering each subject
  234.                with a very well researched film presenting the background of the problem, and
  235.                usually follows this with a well organised
  236.                debate in which the best speakers for each side of the argument get a good
  237.                chance at defending their point of view in a civilised way.
  238.  
  239.                <p align="left">
  240.                    The <a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4670370.stm" shape="rect">Cartoon
  241.                    Row
  242.                </a> which has been making the headlines recently in Europe and
  243.                    around large parts of the muslim world is an excellent example of the
  244.                    show at work. Newsnight does not archive all their shows sadly, but it
  245.                    has kept this one around for a while on their <a
  246.                        href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/newsnight/debates/default.stm" shape="rect">debates
  247.                    page</a>. I am not sure how much longer it will be available <a
  248.                        href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/help/3681938.stm" shape="rect">there</a>.
  249.                    [1] On this topic the debate is very much worth looking at, as it gives an intelligent female voice
  250.                    to the under represented muslim/arab liberal position, which we very much need to hear
  251.                    more from, and which the extreemes are doing their best to drown out in their strident appeals to
  252.                    violence.
  253.                </p>
  254.  
  255.                <p align="left">
  256.                    In a globalised world of information, censorship is impossible [2]. It is clear that in a lawful
  257.                    society every group needs to be treated equally.
  258.                    Since requiring respect of every group's prejudices and taboos cannot be done, especially since some
  259.                    of these are antithetical,
  260.                    where there is inequality in treatment, we clearly will need to relax censorship in favor of more
  261.                    openess and freedom of expression. I myself prefer
  262.                    a society with a lively debate and laughter than one silenced by censorship and respect codified by
  263.                    law.
  264.                </p>
  265.  
  266.  
  267.                <p align="left">
  268.                    [1] They seem to have problems with their video streams recently. If you
  269.                    just get a short clip with no sound, then retry later.<br clear="none"/>[2]
  270.                    Well, its not going to stop people trying. China is devoting massive
  271.                    resources to censorship, building a <a
  272.                        href="http://wired-vig.wired.com/wired/archive/5.06/china.html?topic=&amp;topic_set="
  273.                        shape="rect">huge
  274.                    firewall
  275.                </a> to 'protect' its population from unwanted information. So I
  276.                    suppose one has to ask, what is the cost of censorship? Remember that
  277.                    the more one tries to suppress something the more this tends to increase
  278.                    its value. US newspapers may be refusing to publish any of the Danish
  279.                    cartoons, but this has not stopped a huge number of new ones being drawn
  280.                    and published on the internet, witness <a href="http://cagle.com/news/Muhammad/main.asp"
  281.                                                              shape="rect">cagle.com</a>.
  282.                </p>
  283.  
  284.            </div>
  285.        </content>
  286.    </entry>
  287.  
  288.    <entry>
  289.        <title>Good Night, and Good Luck.</title>
  290.        <link href="page10.html#t2006_01_11.21_22_18_431"/>
  291.        <id>urn:uuid:d88a0a4e-c15f-46dc-9be5-fb92491b4a89</id>
  292.        <updated>2006-04-03T09:15:36.370Z</updated>
  293.        <published>2008-07-09T09:15:37.119Z</published>
  294.        <content type="xhtml">
  295.            <div xmlns='http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml'>
  296.                Yesterday I saw <a href="http://imdb.com/title/tt0433383/" shape="rect">Good
  297.                Night, and Good Luck.
  298.            </a> a film in a documentary mode covering the
  299.                McCarthy witch hunt era in the united states. It is shot in black and
  300.                white, with beautiful jazz music, and is very factual. No romance. No
  301.                violence.
  302.  
  303.                <p align="left">
  304.  
  305.  
  306.                </p>
  307.                The film brings us back to a black and white world where the news
  308.                presenter would elegantly hold up a cigarette on prime time television,
  309.                and the news be followed by tobacco advertising. Putting sponsorships at
  310.                risks was a major constraint on the freedom of speech. It takes us back to
  311.                a period where being suspected of having something to do with communism
  312.                was enough to be condemned. Insinuations backed up by state secret
  313.                documents no one could see, were enough to ruin someone's career.
  314.  
  315.                <p align="left">
  316.                    Luckily there is now a huge diversity of channels people can access
  317.                    their news through. But one should never let one's guard down. Paranoia
  318.                    and secrecy, is what those that rule such a world live off. Openess and
  319.                    transparency is the best defense.
  320.                </p>
  321.  
  322.            </div>
  323.        </content>
  324.    </entry>
  325.  
  326.    <entry>
  327.        <title>Lord of War</title>
  328.        <link href="page10.html#t2006_01_11.21_22_18_423"/>
  329.        <id>urn:uuid:096083c0-4d3d-4642-aa5b-4402b8f635ce</id>
  330.        <updated>2006-01-11T20:24:36.622Z</updated>
  331.        <published>2006-01-11T19:50:11.026Z</published>
  332.        <content type="xhtml">
  333.            <div xmlns='http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml'>
  334.                Last week I saw <a href="http://imdb.com/title/tt0399295/" shape="rect">Lord
  335.                of War
  336.            </a> in Paris. This is another amazing film that has come out
  337.                recently. By describing the life of underground arms dealer Yuri (played
  338.                by Nicholas Cage) it gives a whole geopolitical analysis of the world from
  339.                the 1980ies to the present. But this is not a tedious school lesson; it
  340.                will keep you riveted to your seat.
  341.  
  342.                <p align="left">
  343.  
  344.  
  345.                </p>
  346.                Just like <a href="http://bblfish.net/blog/page10.html#t2006_01_01.15_07_28_516" shape="rect">The
  347.                Constant Gardner
  348.            </a> this film explors in depth the most important issues
  349.                of our time, <a href="http://bblfish.net/blog/page3.html#28" shape="rect">Africa</a>.
  350.                It is eye opening. Not to want to know, to want to look at the world
  351.                through rose colored spectacles, is a road that in the end is not that
  352.                different from the road taken by Yuri's drug addicted brother. Drugs are
  353.                emotional halucinogenics for a society that does not want to see what is
  354.                occuring around it. This film will certainly help open our eyes. It does
  355.                not offer any solution, let alone simple ones: but perhaps just by making
  356.                us aware of the world we live in, it has contributed more than anything
  357.                else.
  358.            </div>
  359.        </content>
  360.    </entry>
  361.  
  362.    <entry>
  363.        <title>The Constant Gardener</title>
  364.        <link href="page10.html#t2006_01_01.15_07_28_516"/>
  365.        <id>urn:uuid:fed0e47a-1e2d-4405-8853-82e4505dbead</id>
  366.        <updated>2006-01-01T14:07:23.964Z</updated>
  367.        <published>2006-01-01T13:22:31.623Z</published>
  368.        <content type="xhtml">
  369.            <div xmlns='http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml'>
  370.                I saw
  371.                <a href="http://imdb.com/title/tt0387131/" shape="rect">The Constant Gardner</a>
  372.                in Paris a couple of days ago, and was very impressed. The poster would
  373.                not usually attract my attention, as it seems to emphasize the romance and
  374.                action movie part of the film above all else, but one should not be
  375.                mislead by that. The film is based on a recent novel by <a href="http://imdb.com/name/nm0494170/"
  376.                                                                           shape="rect">John
  377.                le Carré
  378.            </a> who is widely known for his complex cold war spy novels,
  379.                and in our family for having tought my father french in school a long time
  380.                ago. In this novel/film John le Carré opens up our eyes to the devastating
  381.                situation in Africa, through a complex industrial, political espionage
  382.                story. The political vacuum in most of Africa that still persiststs and
  383.                may have worsened over the last century, has always led pirates and men of
  384.                no scruple to abuse the situation. This film describes a modern day
  385.                variant of the interests that move these men.
  386.  
  387.                <p>
  388.                    To get another glimpse of the scale of the problem in Africa, I
  389.                    recommend <a
  390.                        href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0312243359/qid=1136123060/sr=2-1/ref=pd_bbs_b_2_1/103-2647986-2889430?s=books&amp;v=glance&amp;n=283155"
  391.                        shape="rect">We
  392.                    Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families:
  393.                    Stories from Rwanda</a>, a book I read 7 years ago, and that shows very
  394.                    clearly how this problem is probably not one that can be solved by non
  395.                    military means alone - way over a half million lives in this case.
  396.                    Another way to look at the situation is to understand that an American
  397.                    or European cow gets more subsidies that an average african earns in a
  398.                    year (if I remember correctly an article from courrier International: <a
  399.                        href="http://www.courrierinternational.com/article.asp?obj_id=57990&amp;provenance=accueil&amp;bloc=01"
  400.                        shape="rect">L'Africain
  401.                    moins bien loti qu'une vache européenne</a>. (When are newspapers
  402.                    going to allow micropayment access to their site!?)).
  403.                </p>
  404.  
  405.                <p>
  406.                    It is really nice to see a film that tackles the real and perhaps
  407.                    greatest problem in the world today in a subtle and engaging way.
  408.                </p>
  409.  
  410.            </div>
  411.        </content>
  412.    </entry>
  413.  
  414.    <entry>
  415.        <title>Emotions and Values</title>
  416.        <link href="page10.html#t2005_12_28.20_01_26_597"/>
  417.        <id>urn:uuid:9204d88f-c412-4782-a610-00fbf3f0393e</id>
  418.        <updated>2006-01-01T22:06:03.052Z</updated>
  419.        <published>2005-12-28T17:10:57.204Z</published>
  420.        <content type="xhtml">
  421.            <div xmlns='http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml'>
  422.                Over the last five years I have been reading a lot - on and off - about
  423.                psychology from Existentialist to Jungian to cognitive psychologoy all the
  424.                way to the philosophy of emotions.
  425.  
  426.                <p align="left">
  427.                    The last few days I have been reading <a
  428.                        href="http://www.amazon.fr/exec/obidos/ASIN/2130508421/171-6306257-0390635" shape="rect">
  429.                    Emotions
  430.                    et Valeurs
  431.                </a> by Christine Tappolet, Professor of Philosophy at the
  432.                    University of Montréal. This is a very carefully argued book that covers
  433.                    a lot of the work on the philosophy of emotions that has come out in the
  434.                    last 30 years (I know because I recognised many of the references) and
  435.                    beyond, covering in detail the work of the analytical tradition of
  436.                    philosophy and inspiring itself from work (I don't know much of) by
  437.                    Meinong and Husserl. The book is very much in the tradition of formal
  438.                    analytic tradition, with a lot of careful logical analysis, and so is
  439.                    not something that I can recommend to the casual reader. The main thesis
  440.                    is that our knowledge of values is dependent on our emotions, emotions
  441.                    being <i>perceptions</i> of values.
  442.                </p>
  443.  
  444.                <p align="left">
  445.                    It is very difficult to correctly summarise the work. I'll try here.
  446.                    Christine Tappolet wants to lay the groundwork for an objective
  447.                    understanding of values by following the intiution behind the
  448.                    <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_Tarski" shape="rect">Tarskian</a>
  449.                    definition of Truth: "P" is True if and only if P. The correctness
  450.                    condition of factual statements is given by the facts one may say,
  451.                    whereas the correctness conditions of value judgements is given
  452.                    justified or correct emotional appraisal of a situation. So as it is
  453.                    right to believe that "the car is in the garage" if it really is in the
  454.                    garage, so it is correct to be afraid of what is dangerous, or to like
  455.                    what is good. But whereas it is usually quite easy for an empiricist to
  456.                    understand how we come to verify statements of facts (by using our five
  457.                    senses) it is a lot less clear how we can come to verify statements
  458.                    about value. Christine T. looks at arguments for coherentist analyses of
  459.                    values and finds them wanting for lack of an ability to ground the chain
  460.                    of justification in something final, or for turning values into
  461.                    something too subjective. Foundationalist theories of values fail either
  462.                    because the choice of foundations seem to be arbitrary, or because they
  463.                    have to invent out of nothing a new faculty, unknown to science, for
  464.                    perceiving values. But the foundationalist theories may not have been
  465.                    completely wrong argues Christine. Just as sight gives us direct and
  466.                    justified access to the color of objects, so emotions give us a direct
  467.                    grip on values. This is not to say that they are fail safe. Just as we
  468.                    can make mistaken color judgements so we can have incorrect emotional
  469.                    reactions to some things. But the point is rather that emotions is what
  470.                    brings us in contact with the world of values in the way sight brings us
  471.                    in contact with the world of shapes and colors.
  472.                </p>
  473.  
  474.                <p align="left">
  475.                    From reading Christine it is quite clear that it is now well established
  476.                    in analytical philosophy that there is a very close relation between
  477.                    emotions and values (Aristotle would have agreed). Her originality lies
  478.                    in fleshing out a perceptual theory of emotions. Of course such a
  479.                    theory, just like the Tarskian theory can seem a little light, but if it
  480.                    captures the concept correctly then that can be a good thing.
  481.                </p>
  482.  
  483.                <p>
  484.                    To flesh things out a little, and in order to help me test my agreement
  485.                    with her, I would like to describe a thought that occurred to me when
  486.                    reading a quote from Montaigne that she uses:
  487.                </p>
  488.  
  489.                <blockquote>
  490.                    Qu'on loge un philosophe dans une cage de menus filets de fer clersemez,
  491.                    qui soit suspendue en haut des tours de nostre Dame de Paris, il verra
  492.                    par raison evidente qu'il est impossible qu'il en tombe, et si, ne se
  493.                    sçauroit garder (s'il n'a accoustumé le mestrier de recouvreurs) que la
  494.                    veuë de cette hauteur extreme ne l'espouvante et ne le transisse.
  495.                </blockquote>
  496.                My english translation would go something like
  497.  
  498.                <blockquote>
  499.                    Place a philosopher on a light metallic cage suspended at the top of
  500.                    Notre Dame in Paris. He will know that there is no possibility that he
  501.                    can fall, and yet would (unless he also be a roof layer) on the sight of
  502.                    such a height, not fail to be horrified and struken with fear.
  503.                </blockquote>
  504.                The point of this quote is of course to show that emotions have a certain
  505.                independence of the rational side of man, and so can hardly be reduced
  506.                down to belief desire psychology. (Though that people can find it
  507.                difficult to change their beliefs in face of evidence should indicate that
  508.                perhaps the rational side of man is not quite as flexible as one may have
  509.                supposed.) So the emotion of fear according to Christine is the perception
  510.                of the dangerous. But the dangerous is not a value. It is the thing the
  511.                dangerous threatens that should be of value and why the dangerous is
  512.                frightening. So in the case of the philosopher sitting on the wire grid in
  513.                the example above, or for people who may have visited the Museum of Modern
  514.                Art in San Francisco and wondered on the top passerel made of thin
  515.                metallic grid of a bridge and through which one can see all the way below,
  516.                what is frightnening is the closely perceived possibility of falling, and
  517.                what is of value in this case, is one's life or at least one's well being.
  518.  
  519.                <p>
  520.                    I think therefore that at the very least it would be fruitful to analyse
  521.                    carefully what precisely the relation is between emotions and the values
  522.                    they reveal, beyond the simple case of being amused by the funny.
  523.                </p>
  524.  
  525.                <p>
  526.  
  527.                    <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martha_Nussbaum" shape="rect">Martha
  528.                        Nussbaum</a>, who has written extensively on emotions ("Emotions as
  529.                    Judgements of Value", 1994) puts forward a good psychological
  530.                    explanation that gives a central position for our role as agents and
  531.                    actors in the theory.<br clear="none"/>This is how I summarise Martha
  532.                    Nussbaum's psychological insight, from what I can remember from having
  533.                    read her a few years ago. Things that have emotions are things that act
  534.                    in the world. Things that need to protect themselves and their identity
  535.                    against the agressions of the external world, things that need to change
  536.                    the world in order to live in it. Things that behave in this way will
  537.                    have to value some things above others. Themselves first and foremost,
  538.                    if they are to be able to survive at all. These things have capacities
  539.                    to change the world. They can influence its present and so change its
  540.                    future. They have self determined modal properties, also known as
  541.                    abilities. At every moment in time they will need to act. And this will
  542.                    require choosing among different paths open to them, choose which of the
  543.                    things around them is the most valuable, which path will help bring them
  544.                    closer to what they value. The things the agent values are in some sense
  545.                    therefore part of the sphere of being of the agent that values them.
  546.                    Their state will define its actions. A mother's love of her child is a
  547.                    value that determines her relation to her child, her environment and her
  548.                    life. If the child is in danger, the mother will feel fear, or rather
  549.                    fear for her child. Fear being a very specific state of alertness. One
  550.                    where all attention is directed towards the danger to the thing valued,
  551.                    where one's abilities to come to the help of the valued thing seem
  552.                    somewhat inadequate or stretched. In any case the mother will do her
  553.                    best to be alert to a way help the child she fears for. Since the danger
  554.                    the valued thing is in, is very much dependent on the abilities of the
  555.                    agent, the abilities of the agent will of course affect the strength of
  556.                    the fear. If the philosopher knew how to fly, then we would find a lot
  557.                    more philosophers sitting on the roof of Notre Dame. Of course it is
  558.                    also the emotion of fear that reveals to us that our philosopher is not
  559.                    a perfect <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nihilism" shape="rect">nihilist</a>;
  560.                    he still values his life. And so emotions do reveal value. Emotions,
  561.                    Value, Abilities and Action are all closely linked.
  562.                </p>
  563.  
  564.                <p>
  565.                    The philosopher in his cage feels fear. But notice that Montaigne makes
  566.                    sure to exclude that he be a roof coverer, who presumably would be used
  567.                    to heights. What is the difference between those two men? My guess is
  568.                    that it is in part a question of trust. The roof coverer has learnt to
  569.                    trust the ropes that hold him, his skills, and the people he works for.
  570.                    The philosopher may on the other hand be quite rightfully a little
  571.                    anxious about his colleagues. Does he really trust them to correctly tie
  572.                    the knot and to have bought the right thickness of rope? Does he trust
  573.                    himself to have thought of all the things that should be tested for
  574.                    before entering the cage? Does he trust the theories of Newton enough in
  575.                    real life? Any little doubt on the answer to those questions will change
  576.                    the beautiful birds eye view he sees from his cage into the close
  577.                    possibility of a horrible fall, and the inevitably very strong desire to
  578.                    get onto solid, trusted land. If we add to this the thought that the
  579.                    creak just heard may for the philosopher just be the first sign of
  580.                    weakness of a worn rope possibly about to break if any movement is made,
  581.                    then the philosopher may well end up petrified: all concentrated on the
  582.                    slightest little noise, each noise increasing the danger and making the
  583.                    decision of moving all the more difficult. For a man with good
  584.                    experience of alpinism the same sound may just be the heart warming
  585.                    vibrations of good quality material.
  586.                </p>
  587.  
  588.                <p>
  589.                    The relation between oneself and what is valued - the concentration
  590.                    required, the readiness to act or not that the situation call for -
  591.                    which consitutes the emotion, all of this should also explain why it
  592.                    feels a certain way to be in that state. In a dangerous situation the
  593.                    heart beats faster in order to prepare for action. In a non threatening
  594.                    situation the agent can relax, rest and contemplate more distant goods.
  595.                </p>
  596.  
  597.                <p align="left">
  598.  
  599.  
  600.                </p>
  601.                So how is it with other emotions: Anger, disdain, joy, sadness, love, ...?
  602.                Perhaps I'll get the time to write my thoughts down on those in future
  603.                entries here.
  604.  
  605.                <h3>
  606.                    Notes
  607.                </h3>
  608.  
  609.                <ul>
  610.                    <li>
  611.  
  612.                        <a href="http://www.erudit.org/revue/philoso/2002/v29/n2/006261ar.html" shape="rect">A
  613.                            critique by Paul Dumouchel
  614.                        </a>
  615.                        of the book in Philosophiques.
  616.                    </li>
  617.                    <li>
  618.  
  619.                        <a href="http://www.erudit.org/revue/philoso/2002/v29/n2/006273ar.html#no1" shape="rect">A
  620.                            response by Christine Tappolet
  621.                        </a>
  622.                        of the above critique.
  623.                    </li>
  624.                    <li>
  625.                        An Entry in the stanford encyclopedia of philosophy
  626.                        <a href="http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/emotion/" shape="rect">on
  627.                            emotions
  628.                        </a>
  629.  
  630.                    </li>
  631.                    <li>A very good <a href="http://www.philosophyofmind.net/" shape="rect">collection of links on
  632.                        emotions
  633.                    </a> maintained by Michael Speer.
  634.                    </li>
  635.                </ul>
  636.  
  637.            </div>
  638.        </content>
  639.    </entry>
  640.  
  641.    <entry>
  642.        <title>NerdTV: Dave Winer</title>
  643.        <link href="page10.html#t2005_12_22.14_17_19_709"/>
  644.        <id>urn:uuid:46b22091-09ca-4a77-9ba4-b8c852505ee9</id>
  645.        <updated>2005-12-28T17:09:23.098Z</updated>
  646.        <published>2005-12-22T12:36:15.368Z</published>
  647.        <content type="xhtml">
  648.            <div xmlns='http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml'>
  649.  
  650.                <p align="left">
  651.                    Still suffering from jet lag from my trip to california, my sleeping
  652.                    patterns are a little screwed up. So I got up early today, but feeling
  653.                    very tired, I realised that I would not be too productive so I listened
  654.                    to <a href="http://www.pbs.org/cringely/nerdtv/shows/" shape="rect">interview
  655.                    #6
  656.                </a> of Dave Winer on Nerd TV. This is the first time I hear Dave
  657.                    speak for himself, even though I have been working in his shadow it
  658.                    seems for such a long time. He is a lot more of a "mensch" as he says,
  659.                    than I would have guessed from the reactions people have to him on the
  660.                    net. And he has a few very interesting things to say.
  661.                </p>
  662.  
  663.                <p align="left">
  664.                    Dave Winer is of course most famous recently for his work on
  665.                    <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RSS_%28file_format%29" shape="rect">RSS</a>
  666.                    which is what is behind the whole blogging explosion of the last few
  667.                    years. He clearly has his finger on the pulse of things changing on the
  668.                    web. He seems to have a knack for looking in the right direction but
  669.                    missing something important at the same time.<br clear="none"/>RSS had a
  670.                    tortuous history partly it seems because of him. When
  671.                    <a href="http://web.resource.org/rss/1.0/" shape="rect">RSS1.0</a>
  672.                    came out, a pretty good compromise betweed RDFers and RSS he went off to
  673.                    create <a href="http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rss" shape="rect">RSS2.0</a>,
  674.                    which has to be a step back. At the same time this finally led to
  675.                    <a href="http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc4287" shape="rect">Atom</a>
  676.                    which is a big step forward in clarity and design, being crafted to work
  677.                    with the basic web architecture framework as laid out by Roy Fielding in
  678.                    his thesis on <a href="http://bblfish.net/blog/page1.html#10" shape="rect">REST</a>.
  679.                    This may yet lead to something really big, if the
  680.                    <a href="http://blogs.sun.com/roller/page/bblfish?entry=atom_owl_in_tuscany" shape="rect">Atom-OWL
  681.                    </a>
  682.                    project comes to fruition.<br clear="none"/>He was also behind
  683.                    <a href="http://www.xmlrpc.com/" shape="rect">XML-RPC</a>
  684.                    which is a very simple way to do remote method invocation over HTTP,
  685.                    whilst at the same time being <a href="http://bblfish.net/blog/page7.html#2005/06/20/22-28-18-208"
  686.                                                     shape="rect">fatally
  687.                    flawed</a>. The fact that it led to
  688.                    <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SOAP" shape="rect">SOAP</a>
  689.                    is one of the things that puts a big question mark in my mind on that
  690.                    enterprise, backed as it is by Microsoft and IBM. Way too complicated is
  691.                    what many people are saying about it. And I think Dave Winer points to
  692.                    the problem when he mentions the state of the software industry in the
  693.                    early 90ies
  694.                </p>
  695.  
  696.                <blockquote>
  697.                    And, at the same time, the software industry, the Microsofts and the
  698.                    Borlands and Apples and IBMs and, you know, the open doc consortium was
  699.                    kind of like the epitome of - that was that generation running out of
  700.                    gas, basically. They were building specs that filled bookshelves worth
  701.                    of - they explained to me that open doc was basically what they did was
  702.                    every company had a bookshelf worth of documentation for their formats
  703.                    and protocols.
  704.                </blockquote>
  705.                A few years later, after the web explosion, he remembers telling Adam
  706.                Bosworth from Microsoft, who was asking him to do some work on xml
  707.  
  708.                <blockquote>
  709.                    And I said, "Well, you know, this is gar- I'm not gonna do this." I told
  710.                    him it's like this is the province of big companies, and you guys are
  711.                    gonna screw it up, and I told him all the stories I told you about
  712.                    bookshelf-size specs, and how that you guys are just gonna completely
  713.                    mess this thing up.
  714.                </blockquote>
  715.                Sounds very much like this is what Microsoft did with the web services
  716.                stack.
  717.  
  718.                <p>
  719.                    On the topic of the future, towards the end of the interview he says:
  720.                </p>
  721.  
  722.                <blockquote>
  723.                    That's our challenge. Can we get it so that the - our information
  724.                    resources can answer all reasonable questions? We're nowhere near that.
  725.                    I mean get - take - let's say you were driving to Los Angeles tomorrow,
  726.                    and you wanted to know which route has the most Starbucks on it. A
  727.                    perfectly practical question, because you wanna get on the Internet as
  728.                    many places as you want. You might wanna pick up a cup of coffee along
  729.                    the way. There's no way to ask that question. But yet you know that
  730.                    there will be a way to ask that question.
  731.                </blockquote>
  732.                And Dave Winder is right. We know that this is the future. But clearly
  733.                this is not going to solved by OPML, which is what he has been working on
  734.                for the last five years. No it is allready here, and it is called
  735.                <a href="http://blogs.sun.com/roller/page/bblfish?entry=a_sparql_to_warm_tim" shape="rect">SPARQL</a>
  736.                and the future web is the Semantic Web.
  737.  
  738.                <p>
  739.                    Dave Winer has a knack of seeing the general direction things are going
  740.                    in. But I would trust <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_Berners_Lee" shape="rect">Tim
  741.                    Berners Lee
  742.                </a> a lot more for getting us there with a beautiful,
  743.                    workeable, scaleable and simple solution. Come to think about it: in his
  744.                    whole conversation Dave Winer mentions Microsoft and Bill Gates a lot,
  745.                    but not once the founder of the web itself.
  746.                </p>
  747.  
  748.            </div>
  749.        </content>
  750.    </entry>
  751.  
  752. </feed>
  753.  
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