Semantics (was Re: Inheritance in XML [^*])

Sean Mc Grath digitome at
Fri Apr 24 12:50:12 BST 1998

[David Meginnson]
>It seems to me that semantics and syntax are fuzzy sets (like "tall"
>and "short") rather than crisp sets (like "greater than zero" or "less
>than zero").
>In the SGML/XML world, we somehow know what we mean when we talk about
>"syntax" and "semantics", but as this discussion has shown, it's hard
>to quantify _how_ we know what we know, and in the end, it turns out
>that we have simply set an arbitrary boundary and silently agreed to
>enforce it.

Yes. Same probably goes for every other field that requires to give
a syntactic form to an abstraction. Math for example.

This comment is from section 1.4 of the  MathML spec:-

"The relationship between a mathematical notation and a mathematical idea
is subtle and deep. On a formal level, the results of mathematical logic
raise profound and unsettling questions about the correspondence between
symbolic logic systems and the phenomena they model."

I read this to mean that syntax and semantics are interwoven at a level
of intricacy beyond most of us. Certainly beyond me:-)

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