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

On Mon, Feb 2, 2009 at 2:07 PM, Cox, Bruce <Bruce.Cox@uspto.gov> wrote:
> 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.

Sounds like a nice distinction on the surface, but just to continue to
play devils advocate for the moment; can you give me an example of an
abstraction that would make sense without some concrete instance
existing for reference purposes? I'm pretty skeptical that any such
pure, "unattached" abstraction -- which would be the ultimate
extension of your proposition -- is possible....

Peter Hunsberger

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