Re: The naive test for equality

From: Gene Wirchenko <>
Date: Thu, 11 Aug 2005 11:28:13 -0700
Message-ID: <>

On Thu, 11 Aug 2005 20:14:27 +0200, mAsterdam <> wrote:

>Gene Wirchenko wrote:
>> dawn wrote:
>> [snip]
>>>>>...two departments use the very
>>>>>same term and might even both have external reasons to use
>>>>>the very same term, and they use it with just slightly
>>>>>different meanings.
>>>... it also happens frequently where such a term is
>>>used the same when the analysis is done, but something changes
>>>(government regulation or something more subtle) that changes the
>>>meaning slightly for one group and not another, so that these
>>>differences creep in.
>> In British Columbia (and presumably Canada since I have seen
>> federal use of this meaning), you can be a full-time student by taking
>> three three-credit courses in a semester. The usual full course load
>> is five. This is not the commonsense definition, but it is the
>> definition used.
>Used by all? Or only by non-commonsensical people?

     By the common definition used at such institutions. This is probably informed by that these defintions are used by the provincial and federal governments for student loans and on tax returns.

     Others are free to use a more literal meaning.

>I'm overstating here surely, but I want to point out
>that is definition is for a purpose.
>People/business/departments who support this purpose
>will tend to use it - and check some register or student card
>to verify wether somebody who claims to be a student actually is.
>Others will simple ask: are you a student?
>(e.g. for downloading some software) and accept the
>answer as truth.

     There is no argument from me on that.

>>>There are always differences of opinion about what constitutes a
>>>student on a campus. Finance people often use the term as if the
>>>student were the same as a corporate customer. Student = Customer. If
>>>someone has received some approval to audit a course for zero dollars,
>>>the instructor might consider them a student. That is just an example,
>>>but the point is that entity names are also just words and are
>>>interpreted by humans, each of whom brings a different context to the
>>>meaning of the word.
>> Such a student is a student by the normal use of the term.
>> I think this factor is what causes a lot of the trouble.
>Could you elaborate some on this factor?

     One who studies. If I study medieval history, I am a student. I might not be enrolled anywhere. I could even be a leading authority in the field.

>> At my alma mater, there are three major classifications: student,
>> faculty, and staff. They are not mutually exclusive. I have known of
>> faculty who were students and staff who were faculty. There is
>> nothing stopping a staff member from taking a course (making him also
>> a student) or for someone to be in all three categories at the same
>> time.
>Let's not draw subtyping into it at this point.
>(Other thread welcome :-)

     I am not subtyping, just saying that the statuses are not mutually exclusive.


Gene Wirchenko Received on Thu Aug 11 2005 - 20:28:13 CEST

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