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Re: Example: PGP-aware mailer
I'm still not convinced that
it is possible (in a philosophic sense) to create a global database of
bindings that mean anything to me.
This brings up some very important and difficult questions. We have
been here before with AI schemes to create a complete taXonomy of
knowledge. No such taxonmy exists or can exist. Truth is in the
eye of the beholder.
If I wish to communicate with someone I may make a statement but the meaning
transfered is not defined by the words used but the interpretation of
thoise words by the observer. Heidegger and Gadamer did some useful thinking
t that is s relevant here. Every obrervation we make is indirect, we do
not view the "real worl" we observe through a complex physical and chemical
process involving the geometry of the lens of the eye and the effect of
photons hitting the retina. If we adopt an ultra soliphist view we are forced
to admitg that we know nothing for cetrtain except the fact of our existence.
I beilive that the objective, world taxonomy in which everything has a place
and everything can be indexed is an entirely implausible and impossible
We may be able to achieve what we want however. What we really want is to
ensure that the parties involved in a transaction both have a common
understanding of the interpretation of the names used. This ontology
need not be the universal and _unique_ taxonomy which the X.500 system
envisions. The point is that the parties must agree on the names used.
There will inevitably have to be multiploe hierarchies. In some cases
names may even overlap. Consider that micr4sft micr0soft
(with a 0) .com is now controled by microsoft inc.
I think that there may be a role for aencies such as a post office to
construct hierarchies but only because it is usefull to have an
authority which is recognised by the courts. I don't think that serving
documents on a Verisign rooted hierarchy of naes names would have the same
legal weif weifht as the US post office for example.