Why Meaning Comes in 3s

A few days ago our team reviewed some ongoing work in which we’re developing a better approach to sharing information. Today, model driven architecture and the semantic web are widely accepted approaches to sharing information. Despite the acceptance of these approaches, their underlying model theory is not well understood as was evident from our review. So, I’ll spend the next few posts (or more)

Shared Concept Triangle explaining truth and meaning in relation to model theory. I’ll explain why it’s important to differentiate truth from meaning, so you can better understand claims made about the semantic web and model driven architecture as approaches to sharing information. The semantic web has a formal model theory defined here. Giving them them the benefit of the doubt, the model driven architecture community works from an implicit model theory. The explanations I provide here can inform the model driven architecture community as it comes to recognize the need to develop a formal model theory.

The triangular figure above is a sign that allows us to understand meaning through its structure: in 3s. The figure has three nodes labeled N1, N2, N3 and three edges labeled E1, E2 and E3. The nodes can indicate either types or tokens. The edges represent the relations among the nodes. I’ll show how one might extend a Tarskian model theory a this structure to support Goguen’s relational theory of meaning which I reference in my post entitled Algebraic Semiotics: A Relational Theory of Meaning.

But first I’ll explain the truth-based, or Tarskian, model theory behind the semantic web.