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Re: yet another resource/representation diagram

From: Pat Hayes <phayes@ihmc.us>
Date: Fri, 13 Mar 2009 12:27:27 -0500
Cc: Alan Ruttenberg <alanruttenberg@gmail.com>, AWWSW TF <public-awwsw@w3.org>, "Henry S. Thompson" <ht@inf.ed.ac.uk>
Message-Id: <7EE124D5-07FD-4842-8A4C-02D50E3F60FE@ihmc.us>
To: Jonathan Rees <jar@creativecommons.org>

On Mar 13, 2009, at 11:30 AM, Jonathan Rees wrote:

> On Mon, Mar 9, 2009 at 11:18 AM, Alan Ruttenberg
> <alanruttenberg@gmail.com> wrote:
>> 4) I'm a bit dubious about the time varying information thing. I  
>> think
>> there are series of information things non-time-varying, and certain
>> kinds of processes that group such together. These processes are
>> different enough that I don't know how informative it is to talk  
>> about
>> the time varying thing on its own.
> Rather than removing Tim's class from the diagram or ontology,
> I suggest making more 'spokes' to account for as many models
> as we care to look at it. IAO (which is what I think you're getting
> at above) could be another spoke, and AWWW (with nonsense boxes for
> 'information resource', 'essential characteristic', 'message' and so  
> on)
> could be yet another.
> For now I prefer being inclusive, and letting nonsense wither, to  
> being
> exclusive. But I agree we should review that stance from time to time.

(Sorry Ive been rather out of the loop here for a while...)

Regarding the time-varying-information thing, it occurs to me that an  
ongoing debate in temporal ontologies might be relevant here. Some  
people believe in things called continuants (aka endurants) which are  
(1) physically real (2) strictly 3-dimensional - not 4-d - but (3)  
last for a time. They are the same (3-d) thing at each time they  
exist, they retain their identity as time goes by, but their  
properties change. Unlike 4-d things (think: processes and events,  
things that _happen_), they don't have a temporal extent or temporal  
parts (beginnings and endings, for example.) Other people think that  
this notion is meaningless, since to last for a time _is_ to have a  
temporal extent, and that the only difference between a continuant and  
a process is how you decide to describe it (do you write (R c t) or (R  
(at c t)) ?) . The first kind of ontologist regards this as an  
ontological error since it denies the reality of things that endure  
through time, retaining their identity (examples:  rocks, people,  
countries); the second replies that all these things are really  
processes, its just that some of them have 'identity conditions'  
imposed on them as a convention.

The point of this is not to decide which view is right (the debate has  
been going on for decades and shows no sign of letting up), but to  
suggest that the difference between eg Tim's and Alan's views on time  
varying information might be traceable to the same kind of intuitions  
about time, change and identity which give rise to this split. If so,  
then neither side is ever going to convince the other, but we have  
ways of translating back and forth which allow both points of view to  
co-exist, provided each side is willing to not be too intransigent.  
Basically, one side has to be willing to allow that something can be  
seen as _both_ a continuant and a process; the other side has to be  
willing to allow that there really are 'things' that can stay being  
identically the same 'thing' as time goes by.

Pat Hayes

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Received on Friday, 13 March 2009 17:28:16 UTC

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