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   Re: [xml-dev] bohemians, gentry

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Jonathan Robie wrote:

> But all data has a lexical representation, whether or not it also has a data
> type.

From my point of view, this is exactly backwards, and in that difference of
perspective is the explanation for where you and I have failed to persuade one
another. The lexical form is not the representation of data. Data--meaning, as I
think you do, semantically rich information including, in your specific
understanding, datatypes--is endowed with specific semantics by either the
actuality or the possibility that it is, or will be, used in a specific way by a
specific process. You look at my lexical form in light of the purchase order
processing or maintenance scheduling or address reconciliation process which you
expect to perform against it and you see in my text--reflected from your intent of
how it be used--the datatypes and other properties which you require. This leads
you to believe that my text is accurately understood as the serialization or
lexical representation of your abstract data structure. But it is that only
imaginable from the perspective of your process. On its own terms, it has no
abstract progenitor, no fluid preverbal Gestalt. And on its own terms it is vastly
more useful that the particular instantiation of your abstract form, precisely
because it may be locally instantiated, and prove locally useful as many other
data forms than you narrowly envision.


Walter Perry


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