Inheritance in XML

James K. Tauber jtauber at
Sun Apr 26 08:26:57 BST 1998

[James Tauber]
> | Sorry to bring it up again, but I still think we should distinguish
> | semantics from behaviour. Stylesheets *do not* provide
> semantics, they
> | provide behaviour. Sure, how something behaves ought to be linked to
> | what it means but it ain't the stylesheet that's providing the
> | meaning.

[Jon Bosak]
> Oh dear oh dear.  Repeat this saying ten times before you go to bed
> every night:
>    The meaning of a word is its use.  (L. Wittgenstein)

[James Tauber]
Maybe, but not in how the word is pronounced or how it appears on the page.
That is my point.

The sound and meaning of a word might be inseparable but they are not the
same thing.

Perhaps you misunderstand what I mean by "behaviour". I am referring to how
the content will be display and how it will respond to events like clicking.

All I am trying to say is that the specification that PatientNames are to be
displayed in blue and are to bring up that patient's record when clicked on
is not the same thing as semantics and we shouldn't call it semantics.

[Jon Bosak]
> It seems to me that the understanding of meaning by machines
> can come only after we have agreed on a universal taxonomy of ideas
> that transcends all the different assumptions that underly natural
> language -- something like Roget's original system, but consisting of
> language-independent primitives.  I'm not holding my breath until we
> see that.  And in the absence of this semantic substrate, I think that
> the only meaning we get is behavior and appearance, which the machines
> can handle, and good old prose, which they can't.

[James Tauber]
I'm not holding my breath either. I just don't want to use the term
"semantics" to describe what stylesheets specify.


James Tauber / jtauber at
Perth, Western Australia
XML Pages:

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