W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > uri@w3.org > April 2003

Re: resources, stuffs and individuation

From: pat hayes <phayes@ai.uwf.edu>
Date: Tue, 22 Apr 2003 10:54:14 -0500
Message-Id: <p05111b03bacb123aacd9@[]>
To: "Roy T. Fielding" <fielding@apache.org>
Cc: uri@w3c.org

>>Would it be useful my trying to give an outline of the general 
>>issues (on this email list), or was your rhetorical point more 
>>like, please you guys shut up?
>Please don't give a rhetorical outline.

I wasn't meaning to offer rhetoric, only a brief technical summary of 
what was meant by the substitutional interpretation of the 
quantifiers.  But I agree this might not be the appropriate forum.

>If you have suggested wording to change, then please suggest it.

I believe I have already pointed out wording which I feel needs 
changing. I cannot suggest a correction because I do not know what 
the words are intended to convey; that is precisely my point.

>If you don't, then this is a redundant discussion

It is not redundant. You may feel it is unimportant, but neither you 
nor anyone else, as far as I know, has answered the questions.

>and I have already
>answered it before:
>the argument is based on the premise that "identity" is defined more
>precisely outside the English language, which is an argument that simply
>doesn't apply to a specification written in English.

That is not a satisfactory response. I was not making an argument, 
only asking for clarification; and you have not provided any 
clarification. The word "identity" in English has many possible 
meanings, and the text of the document does not specify or even 
attempt to indicate which of them is intended. Since this is a 
central definition which has far-reaching technical consequences if 
misunderstood, it seems reasonable to ask that the document clarify 
its intended meaning.

Your response is spurious in any case, since the vast majority of 
technical uses of English are conducted with the aid of notations 
external to normal English (such as computer code and mathematical 
notations, not to mention specialized technical vocabularies not 
found in dictionaries) precisely in order to achieve extra precision 
of meaning. I presume that the specification is meant to be written 
in technical English rather than being a text that one should read as 
though it were a novel or a poem, and it is not unreasonable or 
inappropriate to ask that technical English prose, particularly in a 
standards specification which is so central to many other efforts, 
define its terminology with sufficient precision that the intentions 
of the authors are clear to the reader, even at the cost of some 
stylistic elegance.

Pat Hayes
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Received on Tuesday, 22 April 2003 11:54:18 UTC

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