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   Re: [xml-dev] W3C Schema: Resistance is Futile, says Don Box

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John Cowan wrote:

> But you are just indulging in hyper-Korzybskian anti-translationism, whereby it
> is entirely illegitimate to identify any two things described by different
> names.  For example, Cicero is not Tully, and June 11, 2002 C.E. is not June
> 11, 2002 A.D., because the latter is a fundamentally Christian concept whereas
> the former is not.

Not exactly. Your Cicero/Tully example might illustrate nothing more than
nominative anti-translationism, but the C.E./A.D. question, like your earlier AUC
versus gDate, goes to a much deeper problem of locating the point of transition
from syntax to semantics. When you state *units* you inevitably raise the
question of what, if any of the calculation (i.e. processing) denoted by the
units is to be applied in determining the semantics of the value on the occasion
at instance. The algorithm applied in both C.E. and A.D. processing may be
equivalent, though as you point out the two calculations are grounded in
different first principles. Nevertheless, by stating the units you introduce the
question of the processing, and whether you settle it by performing the expected
calculations, ignoring them in order to avoid the questions which their
differences raise, or elaborating the semantics of your instance via some
plague-on-both-their-houses third calculation, is and arbitrary and capricious

There is also, from a purely markup point of view, a problem of non-parallelism
in your original
<date gDate="-43-03-13">the ides of March, 710 A.U.C.</date>
between element content stated with its proper units, mapped in markup to an
attribute naming different units with that attribute's (and those units')
explicitly lexical value. I find that as a practical matter of processing, such
non-parallelisms introduce devilish problems, generally of undecidability, when
processed with otherwise generally useful tools.

> In rubber-meets-the-road terms, the Gregorian date 13 March -43 is the same day
> as id. Mart. DCCX A.U.C.; if you time-travel to either one, you can see Caesar
> being assassinated.

Again, appealing to a mechanism which if we had it would transcend the
frustrations of processing the lexical value as understood from its stated units,
in either the AUC of the gDate case.


Walter Perry


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