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RE: [xml-dev] RE: Keep business-process-specific data separate?

Title: RE: [xml-dev] RE: Keep business-process-specific data separate?

Another try, after reading some entries in the OED

Generic: General as opposed to specific; aspirin as opposed to Bayer;

Abstract: Abstract as opposed to concrete; (a*a) + (b*b) = (c*c) "a squared plus b squared equals c squared" as opposed to 3*3 + 4*4 = 5*5

An abstraction might or might not be discovered by inspection of some instances, but an abstraction has an internal truth that is completely independent of whether it is ever instantiated.  However, aspirin is a name for a collection of instances (with a common property) that has no existence without those instances.


Bruce B Cox

Manager, Standards Development Division



-----Original Message-----
From: Michael Kay [mailto:mike@saxonica.com]
Sent: Monday, February 02, 2009 1:14 PM
To: 'Peter Hunsberger'; Cox, Bruce
Cc: 'Frank Manola'; 'James Fuller'; xml-dev@lists.xml.org
Subject: RE: [xml-dev] RE: Keep business-process-specific data separate?

> > I won't comment on the success or failure of RDF, but it

> seems to me

> > that it's highly abstract, not necessarily highly generic.


> Ok, I'll bite.  What's the difference?  (Seriously...)

Excellent question. I'll hazard an answer.

The class of "everything that moves" is generic (because it embraces lots of

different kinds of thing), but it's not abstract (because it's a simple

partitioning of all things based on a simple observable property).

Abstraction demands more than dividing objects into categories; it demands a

creative leap, involving the discovery of new ways of looking at things,

yielding new insights.

I won't defend that distinction to the death, but it's a try...

Michael Kay


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