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Re: article on URIs, is this material that can be used by the

From: John Cowan <cowan@ccil.org>
Date: Mon, 11 Jun 2007 13:05:45 -0400
To: "Henry S. Thompson" <ht@inf.ed.ac.uk>
Cc: Pat Hayes <phayes@ihmc.us>, SWEOIG?@ccil.org, Tim Berners-Lee <timbl@w3.org>, Dan Brickley <danbri@danbri.org>, www-tag@w3.org
Message-ID: <20070611170545.GC14069@mercury.ccil.org>

Henry S. Thompson scripsit:

> I did say 'to some extent'.  A photograph of a painting of George V
> surely depicts George V, and an MP3 of a wax cylinder of a player
> piano roll of Rubenstein playing the Hammerklavier is still a
> rendering of the Hammerklavier.

Indeed, I will go further and say that "represent" *is* transitive,
when properly separated from types of description that are not
representation.  There is a limitation on the length of transitive
chains for material reasons:  a xerox copy of a page from a book
represents not only the page, but the text of the book; however, a
10th-generation xerox copy is probably just a blur and no longer
represents the text.

This is the ancient "paradox of the heap"; in general, a heap with
one item removed remains a heap, but the recursion must not be
pursued too far: there are no one-element heaps, and still less
zero-element ones.  See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sorites_paradox ,
or for more detail http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/sorites-paradox .

The final section of the latter addresses the relevance of the paradox
to reference: the summit of Everest is part of the mountain, but points
on the Himalayan plain are not, and there is no saying exactly where
the boundary between Everest and non-Everest might be.

-- 
John Cowan    http://ccil.org/~cowan  cowan@ccil.org
Arise, you prisoners of Windows / Arise, you slaves of Redmond, Wash,
The day and hour soon are coming / When all the IT folks say "Gosh!"
It isn't from a clever lawsuit / That Windowsland will finally fall,
But thousands writing open source code / Like mice who nibble through a wall.
        --The Linux-nationale by Greg Baker
Received on Monday, 11 June 2007 17:05:55 UTC

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