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

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John Cowan wrote:

> But the C.E. and A.D. calendars are no more distinct than Cicero and Tully; it is a
> matter of preferring one or the other of two equally correct labels.

Statements of units are not simply labels, and the equivalence of values stated in
units of measurement is not nominal equivalence, but commensuration reached through the
separate application of processing appropriate to the units in each case.

> Would you balk at my annotating the measurement "one inch" (measured in 2002, to be
> precise) with "2.54 cm", given that one inch is *defined* since 1958 as 2.54 cm
> exactly?

That is not a nominal 'definition' but a mapping of commensuration between the results
achieved by the application of appropriate process in the case of each unit of

> > 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.
> I point out nothing of the sort.  In fact they are grounded on the same first
> principles, and differ only in name.  There is no independent specification of the
> Common Era distinct from A.D.

Again, the specification is not nominal but algorithmic and the equivalence is
commensuration, not identity. I apologize for reading into your earlier statement what
I too eagerly thought was agreement with me that while A.D. and C.E. always get to the
same endpoint, they start from different places and differently describe the process of
getting there. Understanding the process of A.D. calculation requires some familiarity
with its history of attempted processes (including false starts) from Nicea to Gregory
(to King George to Lenin, for that matter). The process for C.E. has been for its whole
history the much simpler 'what he did'.

> > 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.
> This is overspecified, and I don't understand the ground of your objection. Do you
> not like the non-parallelism between element content and attribute value, or are we
> back to the calendrical objection again.

My objection is first the one (on principle, and for what it demonstrably does to
render general purpose tools impotent in practice) and then the other (for the
undecidabilities and absurdities which it lands us in on instance processing: so, did
Caesar die on the 13th or the on 15th? and how can you argue that there is a definitive
answer when there are only separate, perhaps commensurate endpoints, reached through
the application of separate processes).


Walter Perry


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