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Re: [Fwd: RE: "information resource"]

From: Norman Walsh <Norman.Walsh@Sun.COM>
Date: Mon, 18 Oct 2004 13:33:44 -0400
To: www-tag@w3.org
Message-id: <871xfwj5hj.fsf@nwalsh.com>
/ Harry Halpin <hhalpin@ibiblio.org> was heard to say:
[...]
| representation, such as a smell. However, is the smell "essential", and
| is that adjective by nature not subjective? Who dictates what is 
| essential?

Well, "essential" arose editorially as an adjectival form of "essence".
Merriam-Webster says "essence" means:

   a: the permanent as contrasted with the accidental element of being b:
   the individual, real, or ultimate nature of a thing especially as opposed
   to its existence c: the properties or attributes by means of which
   something can be placed in its proper class or identified as being what it
   is

By essential, the editor meant "of, relating to, or constituting essence".

Yes, I think the odor of my dog is part of his "ultimate nature" and
is therefore essential.

I'm afraid that any discussion of who dictates what is essential is
likely to drag us off into discussions about the nature of observable
reality and those are weeds I'd rather not trample through, if it can
be avoided.

| abstract* at all. The key notion seems to be a *level of abstraction*,
| and it certainly seems somethings that are abstract (like numbers) are
| much more amendable to being digital (and thus being conveyed on the Web)
| than things like smell or the gleam in someone's eye.

I'm not sure I think of this email message as being more or less
abstract than my medical record, but I assert that both are
information resources by our current definition.

| Now, there are border-line cases - what about  "the class of all tigers?" 
| It's abstract - but what are it's essential properties? Being a feline and 
| a quadriped? But as Searle notes, a tiger with a leg missing is after all, still a 
| tiger. It appears the idea of the "class of all tigers" does not exist
| at suitable level of abstraction for description of its essential 
| properites, much less digitization of its properties, - and so the
| "class of all tigers" is not an informaton resource.  Correct? I mean,
| where's the test? 

I agree, the class of all tigers is not an information resource.

| So, it appears an information resource is something whose essential 
| properties can be conveyed, as a message, because the thing being conveyed
| exists at a level of abstraction where it can be digitized in its 
| entirety. This has ramifications since such a thing can be realized in 
| multiple formats. Your real-life dog can only be represented by that thing 
| that *actually* smells, the class of all dogs can only be represented by
| the actual class of all dogs (existing, existed, and perhaps to exist or
| imagined) and also can't be a resource.

Isn't an information resource. It is a resource. Anything can be a
resource. The class of all dragons in Pern is a resource, even if Anne
McCaffrey hasn't finished inventing them yet.

                                        Be seeing you,
                                          norm

-- 
Norman.Walsh@Sun.COM / XML Standards Architect / Sun Microsystems, Inc.
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Received on Monday, 18 October 2004 17:34:29 UTC

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