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Re: vocabulary simplification: two proposals to vote on [deadline, Oct 26 midnight, GMT]

From: Jim McCusker <mccusj@rpi.edu>
Date: Wed, 26 Oct 2011 10:05:56 -0400
Message-ID: <CAAtgn=QLZZzkRVS8kA5h4BVD=yuQBF0ufaJ-UdeUb2RuhqKV6Q@mail.gmail.com>
To: Luc Moreau <L.Moreau@ecs.soton.ac.uk>
Cc: Provenance Working Group WG <public-prov-wg@w3.org>
On Wed, Oct 26, 2011 at 7:33 AM, Luc Moreau <L.Moreau@ecs.soton.ac.uk> wrote:
> JimMcC indicated that activity implied a notion of agency. I am not familiar
> with this
> interpretation. Where does it come from? He suggests 'event', but this term
> is already in
> the document (and will be the subject of a future clarification proposal).

Activity (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/activity) is
defined as a quality or state of being active. If you look at the
examples at MW, all of them have some sort of agent or actor. There is
one natural process example, which is that a volcano is active. Even
in that case, the volcano is being considered an actor (which is fine
in discourse, but isn't technically correct). The root word, "act",
when used, requires an actor. An act can happen with an unknown actor,
but there is always an entity that is behind an act.

Using this word to describe all events (including natural events),
especially formally in a standard, gives the model a pre-scientific
bais (the idea that a prime mover is needed, because all events are
acts). Note that this is actually a western bais too, as many eastern
traditions do not require a prime mover.

Maybe I'm reading far too much into this, but if we're looking to
simplify, I would far prefer Event or Process (but with a clear
explanation that it is a occurrent, not a specification of an
occurrent) to Activity.

Jim McCusker
Programmer Analyst
Krauthammer Lab, Pathology Informatics
Yale School of Medicine
james.mccusker@yale.edu | (203) 785-6330

PhD Student
Tetherless World Constellation
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Received on Wednesday, 26 October 2011 14:06:56 UTC

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