Re: Principle of Orthogonal Design

From: JOG <>
Date: Mon, 21 Jan 2008 09:58:56 -0800 (PST)
Message-ID: <>

On Jan 21, 3:09 pm, "David Cressey" <> wrote:
> "Brian Selzer" <> wrote in message
> news:kO1lj.2507$
> > I think that there are times when it makes sense to 'collectivize' under a
> > single predicate, and there are times when it does not. In particular, if
> > the individuals represented are just different kinds of the same sort of
> > thing, such as is the case with the different kinds of phone numbers, then
> > it makes sense to 'collectivize' those attributes that are common to all
> of
> > those individuals under a single predicate. If, on the other hand, the
> > individuals represented are different sorts of things that just happen to
> > have the same attributes, then it doesn't. A disjunctive
> > predicate--something like, for example, each tuple exemplifies an
> individual
> > that is an X or a Y, just doesn't make any sense to me. A conjunctive
> > predicate on the other hand--for a relation that has multiple keys, for
> > example--is not a problem since each tuple would exemplify an individual
> > that is /both/ an X /and/ a Y. So if the predicate can be stated so that
> it
> > is not disjunctive, then 'collectivizing' is to be preferred.
> It seems to me that you are describing the generalization-specialization
> pattern.
> Am I reading you right?
> > > Either way, I certainly find that appealing to notions of "meaning"
> > > within formal design recommendations seems to head towards very
> > > slippery ground.
> Why? If you called it "the semantics of the data" instead, would that make
> it less slippery ground?

Absolutely not - worse in fact, because then it would be greased with buzzwords too ;) Years of working with the semantic web, ontologies, expert systems, etc have emphasised to me that "meaning" is only something that can be obtained via situated embodiement within the environment concerned, and that context is far too complex a beast to be tamed by computerized encoding. As such I'd rather rules appealed to functional dependencies and logical consequents than to appeal to the slippery notion of "meaning". Received on Mon Jan 21 2008 - 18:58:56 CET

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