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RE: Syntax and semantics

From: Andrew Layman <andrewl@microsoft.com>
Date: Tue, 16 May 2000 14:43:27 -0700
Message-ID: <7CD674FF54FBD21181D800805F57CD540D226D19@RED-MSG-44>
To: xml-uri@w3.org
Walter Perry wrote:

"... the ability of two nodes to negotiate a successful transaction,
understanding, or other disposition of given content on one occasion implies
NOTHING about their likelihood of reaching a similar conclusion, or any
conclusion at all, with analogous content on a subsequent occasion (this
really is a Heraclitan cosmos)."

With all respect, if I understand Mr. Perry correctly, this is intended to
be a broad philosophic statement about all communication generally, and in
addition, to be a claim of metaphysical indefiniteness.  I do not wish to
argue the deep philosophical principle here, but I would like to be on
record as disagreeing with it, and observing that if it were literally true,
no communication could ever take place (there would be no way to start and
nothing to talk about).  Given that the goals of this W3C endeavor include
the establishment of standards for communication, the ability to communicate
is presumed, and it is further presumed in the mere fact of participating in
discussion that the cosmos permits sufficient lawfullness and continuity
that one can integrate later events with earlier ones.

I say this, in all friendliness, not to open up a large philosophic debate
but to avoid an unpromising avenue so that we can concentrate on
standardizing some of the durable aspects of communication, including taking
advantage of many of the very valuable things that Mr. Perry points out,
such as the desirability of negotiation and the advantages of open-world
Received on Tuesday, 16 May 2000 17:44:41 UTC

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