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Re: simon:entity (or Identifiable)

From: Ryan Golden <ryan.golden@oracle.com>
Date: Sat, 16 Jul 2011 01:57:29 -0500
Message-ID: <4E213659.1050108@oracle.com>
To: public-prov-wg@w3.org
Luc, I concede that the lines have been blurred (for me, at least) 
between pil:concept terms and the natural language terms.  
Distinguishing the terms' usage makes practical sense, obviously.  I may 
try use some kind of prefix in the future to avoid confusion, e.g. 
"concept:thing".  This doesn't really change my proposal for 
"Indentifiable," except that I should clarify that I'm not opposed to 
using "stuff" in a natural language description or definition.

You address other concerns with the proposal itself in another mail to 
which I'll reply.


On 7/15/2011 6:53 AM, Luc Moreau wrote:
> Hi Ryan,
> Over the last two weeks, there has been a gradual confusion about terms.
> To me, "stuff" and "activity" were not concepts we were trying to define.
> We were stating that there are stuffs and activities in the world.
> These words had to be understood with their informal/natural language
> meaning.
> When defining PIL concepts, we were then using these terms.
> For instance, a process execution is an activity.
> This had plenty of advantages for explaining the concepts,
> and how to use them with respect to the world.
> Given this, I am saying it is not right to say we should conflate
>   stuff and thing (or f2f1:entity and f2f1:bob)
> since the former was intended to be a normal word we use in natural
> language, and the latter was intended to be a concept we define.
> In other words, in a spec, I was expecting "stuff" to be in normal font,
> whereas "thing" would have been in bold/typewriter, or written pil:thing.
> For instance, a <bold>ProcessExecution</bold> is an activity.
> Simon got away with it, by replacing stuff/f2f1:entity by the word 
> "anything".
> Ryan, you are avoiding it, because you use "that" instead.  (BTW, your
> text uses the term thing too! informally!)
> It makes explanations very difficult when we don't have a word such as 
> stuff,
> especially when we want to say that there are multiple perspectives 
> over a same
> stuff. This is why both the words pil:thing and stuff were used in the
> definition of IVP of.
> I am all in favour of simplifying definitions, but your proposal is
> preventing us from using an English word, which is very convenient to have
> when defining or explaining or concepts.
> In the meantime, until we gain an understanding of all our concepts,
> I propose we keep on using the term stuff (or f2f1:entity) in our
> explanations.
> Regards,
> Luc
> On 15/07/2011 06:36, Ryan Golden wrote:
>> With apologies to Simon for hijacking his namespace, I'd like to take 
>> up Luc's suggestion to break off what he called the "simon:entity" 
>> proposal from the earlier thread into a separate thread.
>> Rationale
>> --------------
>> It should come as little surprise that some problems we are trying to 
>> solve by our design have been faced before by others in different 
>> contexts.  After poring over the thread between Simon, Jim and 
>> others, I discovered a design issue discussion at 
>> (http://www.w3.org/DesignIssues/Generic), published by TimBL, which 
>> bears a _striking_ resemblance to the discussion we're having on 
>> stuff, thing, entity, entity state, and bob.  While he does use the 
>> "R" word in some of the discussion, he makes the key observation that 
>> the identifiers we use every day have "multi-level genericity."  That 
>> is to say, some identifiers are very specific ("Halley's comet, as 
>> viewed from the Hubble telescope, on 1/1/2014, in JPG format"), 
>> others more generic ("Halley's comet").  The Web design, he states, 
>> "should not arbitrarily seek to constrain life in general for its own 
>> purposes."  Neither should we, I would argue.
>> Further, we may may make statements about "dimensions of genericity." 
>> That is to say that a) in relation to the thing it identifies, an 
>> identifier can be generic with respect to a particular dimension, 
>> e.g., in relation to the real Halley's comet, the "Halley's comet" 
>> identifier is generic with respect to time and content-type; and b) 
>> one identified thing may be generic in relation to another identified 
>> thing with respect to zero or more dimensions.  TimBL talks about the 
>> relatively small number of dimensions of genericity for electronic 
>> resources, whereas we are interested in the infinite number of 
>> dimensions (i.e., all possible properties) over which identifiers and 
>> things in the world (not just electronic resources) may vary.  The 
>> idea of "dimensions of genericity" gives what I believe to be a nice 
>> formulation for what we've been trying to discuss as "IVP of."  I 
>> leave the remainder of this discussion to a separate thread, however 
>> (please post any comments on this paragraph to that thread).
>> If I fail to express some of TimBL's ideas adequately, I strongly 
>> suggest you read the Design Note--it is brief and more well-written.
>> Proposal
>> -------------
>> Given both elegant formulations, I would like to propose we conflate 
>> the following concepts:
>>     old:stuff
>>     old:thing
>>     f2f1:entity
>>     f2f1:bob
>>     f2f1:entity state
>> Into a single concept:
>>     simon:entity (alternate suggested name: "Identifiable")
>> Which can be described as:
>>    that which an identifier represents
>> And, importantly for IVP of:
>>    A simon:entity/Identifiable may exhibit a different level of 
>> genericity in relation to another simon:entity/Identifiable with 
>> respect to zero or more dimensions.
>> --Ryan
Received on Saturday, 16 July 2011 06:58:20 UTC

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