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Re: C.4 Undeclared entities?

From: Jon Bosak <bosak@atlantic-83.Eng.Sun.COM>
Date: Sat, 19 Oct 1996 22:14:49 -0700
Message-Id: <199610200514.WAA28513@boethius.eng.sun.com>
To: Charles@sgmlsource.com
CC: bosak@atlantic-83.Eng.Sun.COM, w3c-sgml-wg@w3.org
[Charles Goldfarb:]

| In nature, a document is ALWAYS an instance of a document type
| [...]
| There is always a DTD, it is a law of nature. 

This assertion (upon which most of your argument seems to hinge) is so
strange that I hardly know how to approach it.

Documents do not exist in nature.  They are human constructions.
Whether they have a DTD or not depends on whether a human being
has constructed one.

If we substitute "C program" for "document" then your argument would
be that every C program implies a DTD.  There may be some very odd
sense in which this is true, but that doesn't make an implied DTD part
of the ANSI C language specification.  It doesn't make it part of the
XML specification, either.

If what you are saying is that for every document, you can imagine a
DTD to which that document conforms, then you are understating the
case.  For any document, one can imagine an infinite number of DTDs to
which it conforms.  You are free to imagine as many of these DTDs as
you like.  That still doesn't make any of them part of the XML
specification.

Even if we grant for purposes of argument that the infinite number of
DTDs to which any document is conformant have some kind of existence
(in the mind of God, say), their ontological status is equal; there is
nothing to distinguish any one of this infinitude as more real than
the rest of them.

It may be that there is a practical purpose to be served by inventing
the idea of an implied DTD and specifying rules whereby it is to be
constructed from the document, but you can't make such a thing pop out
of the void by saying that nature will provide it every time a
document is created.

Jon
Received on Sunday, 20 October 1996 01:16:35 UTC

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