Philosophy of the Web - Alexandre Monnin

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Talk at Web Science Montpellier Meetup - 13th May 2011

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Philosophy of the Web - Alexandre Monnin

  1. 1. Consolidating networks of excellence - WebScience Montpellier Meetup. Friday May 13th, 2011 at LIRMM, Montpellier, France PHILOSOPHY OF THE WEB AS ARTIFACTUALIZATION AND PHILOSOPHICAL ENGINEERINGAlexandre MonninUniversité Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne/CNAM/Institut de Recherche et d’Innovation
  2. 2. Consolidating networks of excellence - WebScience Montpellier Meetup. Friday May 13th, 2011 at LIRMM, Montpellier, France1 - PHILOSOPHY OF THE WEB? First suggested by Harry Halpin Who also co-chaired with Pat Hayes and Henry Thompson the first philosophical event in the SemWeb community: IRW2006 (Architecture and Philosophy of the Web. Identity, Reference, and the Web, IRW2006, WWW2006 Workshop Edinburgh, Scotland May 23rd) http://www.ibiblio.org/hhalpin/irw2006/
  3. 3. Consolidating networks of excellence - WebScience Montpellier Meetup. Friday May 13th, 2011 at LIRMM, Montpellier, FranceIRW2006 The focus was on the architecture of the Web and the debates that took place over it (mainly about URIs and resources). The focus was on the philosophy of language. Not a big surprise since, as H. S. Thompson puts it : « The TAG (W3C Technical Architecture Group) essentially does philosophy”.
  4. 4. Consolidating networks of excellence - WebScience Montpellier Meetup. Friday May 13th, 2011 at LIRMM, Montpellier, FrancePHILOWEB 2010 16 October 2010: I organized the first interdisciplinary event about Web and Philosophy in the world at the Sorbonne, « PhiloWeb 2010: towards a philosophy of the Web ». It brought philosophers as well as engineers and computer scientists together to imagine what a philosophy of the Web is/should be.
  5. 5. Consolidating networks of excellence - WebScience Montpellier Meetup. Friday May 13th, 2011 at LIRMM, Montpellier, FranceYES, HONESTLY!
  6. 6. Consolidating networks of excellence - WebScience Montpellier Meetup. Friday May 13th, 2011 at LIRMM, Montpellier, FranceSOME TOPICS Ontology: computer ontologies, metaphysics and technics, ontological dependence and social entities, ontology of relations, of resources URIs: are they really (philosophical) proper names? Memory/archive: reference and access on the Web Collective intelligence: embodiement, representation, individualism and AI Social issues: privacy, decentralized networks
  7. 7. Consolidating networks of excellence - WebScience Montpellier Meetup. Friday May 13th, 2011 at LIRMM, Montpellier, France2 – ARTIFACTUALIZATION? The becoming-artifact of philosophical concepts Philosophical proper names  URIs aka « Web proper names » Philosophical concepts become part the material out of which the Web was conceived
  8. 8. Consolidating networks of excellence - WebScience Montpellier Meetup. Friday May 13th, 2011 at LIRMM, Montpellier, FranceWHAT IS A URI?Three approaches have dominated thearchitectural debates: One inspired by Wittgenstein;
  9. 9. Consolidating networks of excellence - WebScience Montpellier Meetup. Friday May 13th, 2011 at LIRMM, Montpellier, FranceA FREGEAN(/RUSSELLIAN) VIEW Pictures borrowed from H.S.Thompson
  10. 10. Consolidating networks of excellence - WebScience Montpellier Meetup. Friday May 13th, 2011 at LIRMM, Montpellier, FranceA KRIPKEAN VIEW Pictures borrowed from H.S.Thompson
  11. 11. Consolidating networks of excellence - WebScience Montpellier Meetup. Friday May 13th, 2011 at LIRMM, Montpellier, FranceRESULT: THE WEBARCH VIEW Good question! Pictures borrowed from H.S.Thompson
  12. 12. Consolidating networks of excellence - WebScience Montpellier Meetup. Friday May 13th, 2011 at LIRMM, Montpellier, France… BOTH! How and why? 
  13. 13. Consolidating networks of excellence - WebScience Montpellier Meetup. Friday May 13th, 2011 at LIRMM, Montpellier, FranceFROM FUNCTIONS TO FUNCTIONALITIES Part of the answer lies in the fact that functions assumed by proper names (rigidity, direct reference) became functionalities (here, identification) once artifactualized. The context had changed: rigidity is relevant in the context of possible world semantics. What the Web tries to engineer is universality (the original « U » behind the acronym of URI).
  14. 14. Consolidating networks of excellence - WebScience Montpellier Meetup. Friday May 13th, 2011 at LIRMM, Montpellier, FranceTERTIUM DATUR What can the philosophy of technology teach us about artifactualization? The technical artifact makes is possible to « compose » rather than oppose positions that seemed antagonistic. German philosopher Peter Sloterdijk describes this phenomenon as an exclusion of the law of excluded middle : « Tertium datur »
  15. 15. Consolidating networks of excellence - WebScience Montpellier Meetup. Friday May 13th, 2011 at LIRMM, Montpellier, FrancePARADOX That’s the paradox : philosophical proper names were just a concept, relevant in metaphysics (real proper name are certainly not like that!). They were made concrete as URIs. At the same time, the context had changed, imposing new (architectural) constraints, and modifying what had been physically realized.
  16. 16. Consolidating networks of excellence - WebScience Montpellier Meetup. Friday May 13th, 2011 at LIRMM, Montpellier, FranceMODIFICATIONS Russellian descriptions became access to http- representations ; Kripkean rigidity became identification ; The wittgensteinian « meaning is use » motto was bounded by some new constraints (the authority granted to the owner of a URI).
  17. 17. Consolidating networks of excellence - WebScience Montpellier Meetup. Friday May 13th, 2011 at LIRMM, Montpellier, FranceARTIFACTUAL UNITY Still, all these aspects are part of how URIs are linked to resources as evidenced by the IRW ontology (Halpin & Presutti 2009)- irw:acesses (*Russell*)- irw:identifies (*Kripke*)- irw:refersTo (*Wittgenstein*)
  18. 18. Consolidating networks of excellence - WebScience Montpellier Meetup. Friday May 13th, 2011 at LIRMM, Montpellier, FranceHALPIN & PRESUTTI 2009
  19. 19. Consolidating networks of excellence - WebScience Montpellier Meetup. Friday May 13th, 2011 at LIRMM, Montpellier, FranceLOGICAL CONTRADICTION OR FACTUALOPPOSITION? I’m a lot less radical than Sloterdijk since forme these shifts explain why we’re no longerfacing a true/false dichotomy, a logicalopposition, but a factual one (the thing is,questions that used to be logical or philosophicalones are now becoming technical and thusfactual ones).
  20. 20. Consolidating networks of excellence - WebScience Montpellier Meetup. Friday May 13th, 2011 at LIRMM, Montpellier, FrancePHILOSOPHY OF TECHNOLOGY The discussions, albeit philosophical, concerns an artifact: the Web. Hence, we need to ponder this shift itself. There lie some of the answers that have been sought after so far. We can no longer separate discipline such as philosophy o f language (maybe even logic) and philosophy of technology (cf. Pat Hayes’s « Blogic »).
  21. 21. Consolidating networks of excellence - WebScience Montpellier Meetup. Friday May 13th, 2011 at LIRMM, Montpellier, France3 - PHILOSOPHICAL ENGINEERING? Why is this relevant for Webscience? Because it takes as a point of departure the « philosophical engineering » stance defined by Tim Berners-Lee and later refined by Nigel Shadbolt.
  22. 22. Consolidating networks of excellence - WebScience Montpellier Meetup. Friday May 13th, 2011 at LIRMM, Montpellier, FranceSOURCE “we are not analyzing a world, we are building it. We are not experimental philosophers, we are philosophical engineers. We declare "this is the protocol". When people break the protocol, welament, sue, and so on. But they tend to stick to it because we show that the system has very interesting and useful properties.” (Wed, 16 Jul 2003 18:17:52 -0400, TAG mailing list, in reply to Patrick Hayes)
  23. 23. Consolidating networks of excellence - WebScience Montpellier Meetup. Friday May 13th, 2011 at LIRMM, Montpellier, FranceCRITICAL ASSESSMENT The protocol was built with previous ideas an concepts about the world (names!), not ex nihilo. We have seen that positions previously opposed to one another were displaced and then united in an artifact Part of the work of the TAG has been to interpret what had been done previously (and the statements of existing recommendations)
  24. 24. MACRO V.S MICRO The Webscience is supposedly about BIG things (numbers, social relations, etc.) The micro level is supposedly well-known and all that remains to be done is create tools for the macro level.
  25. 25. Consolidating networks of excellence - WebScience Montpellier Meetup. Friday May 13th, 2011 at LIRMM, Montpellier, FranceWAIT A MINUTE!!!!!! If people knew exactly what they created or constructed (a theory famously put forward by Italian philosopher Giambattista Vico* who equated verum and factum, what is true with what has been done), would the very basis of the Web be known under as many acronyms as URIs x 2/URLs/URNs(/URCs x 2)?  * one of the sources behind Sloterdijk’s reasoning. Whence the importance of theorizing philosophical engineering: it echoesmany ongoing discussions.
  26. 26. Consolidating networks of excellence - WebScience Montpellier Meetup. Friday May 13th, 2011 at LIRMM, Montpellier, France…AND WHAT IS EXACTLY A RESOURCE? I have my opinion but there’s not time to state it! (according to the specs, it’s « anything at all », which is why the W3C has - seemingly wisely - avoided the temptation of standardizing this notion).
  27. 27. Consolidating networks of excellence - WebScience Montpellier Meetup. Friday May 13th, 2011 at LIRMM, Montpellier, FrancePHILOSOPHY OF PHILOSOPHICAL ENGINEERING The Web’s characteristics, even from an architectural point of view, were as much constructed and interpreted as they’re discovered afterward. We need a theory that would account for al these dimensions.This would be a philosophy of philosophicalengineering.
  28. 28. Consolidating networks of excellence - WebScience Montpellier Meetup. Friday May 13th, 2011 at LIRMM, Montpellier, FranceINDEED… It’s important to get the picture straight for obvious reasons…
  29. 29. Consolidating networks of excellence - WebScience Montpellier Meetup. Friday May 13th, 2011 at LIRMM, Montpellier, France WEB OF PAGESHomepage URL (URI)
  30. 30. Consolidating networks of excellence - WebScience Montpellier Meetup. Friday May 13th, 2011 at LIRMM, Montpellier, France WEB OF RESOURCESHomepage URL (URI)
  31. 31. Consolidating networks of excellence - WebScience Montpellier Meetup. Friday May 13th, 2011 at LIRMM, Montpellier, FranceWHAT’S NEXT? Harry Halpin was awarded a Marie Curie fellowship (Project PHILOWEB) to stay 2 years in Paris at the Institut de Recherche et d’Innovation (Centre Pompidou) to work on a book about the Philosophy of the Web. PhiloWeb 2011 and 2012 will take place in Mountain View (Google) and London (Goldsmiths)
  32. 32. Consolidating networks of excellence - WebScience Montpellier Meetup. Friday May 13th, 2011 at LIRMM, Montpellier, FranceCURRENT (CONCRETE) DIRECTIONS Finish the job: what is a resource (A.Monnin)??? Shift from metaphorical bookmarks to Webmarks for archiving purposes (Nicolas Delaforge) and characterize information resources available on the web more precisely (A.Monnin + N.Delaforge). Anticipate the issues raised by the Web of objects. Question that will be discussed in a forthcoming« Philosophy & engineering » workshop (@IC 2011,#Philoweb) in Chambéry, that I organize next week.
  33. 33. Consolidating networks of excellence - WebScience Montpellier Meetup. Friday May 13th, 2011 at LIRMM, Montpellier, FranceHTTP://WWW.DAILYMOTION.COM/PHILOWEB
  34. 34. Consolidating networks of excellence - WebScience Montpellier Meetup. Friday May 13th, 2011 at LIRMM, Montpellier, FranceOTHER LINKShttp://web-and-philosophy.org/http://www.slideshare.net/PhiloWebhttp://twitter.com/#!/PhiloWebhttp://twitter.com/#!/aamonnz
  35. 35. Consolidating networks of excellence - WebScience Montpellier Meetup. Friday May 13th, 2011 at LIRMM, Montpellier, France Thanks!

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