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user2311

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Since: Dec 22, 2004
Posts: 286



(Msg. 1) Posted: Thu Aug 11, 2005 11:55 pm
Post subject: The word "symbol"
Archived from groups: comp>databases>theory (more info?)

A few days ago, VC commented on my use of the word "symbol" saying that I
was inventing new terminology. I'm trying to restrain the urge to rant,
and just give a sober reply.

There is a book on my shelves, thanks to Joe Celko, who mailed it to me for
a reason I can't remember. The book is "Data Theory" by Peter C. Jones and
Paul E. Jones Jr. [Prentice Hall]. It seems to be some kind of graduate
level textbook.

I'm going to quote from Chapter 1, Section 1.1, the Introduction.

Quote,

In Section 1.2, Physical Detection of Symbols, we study the symbols that can
be used to express data. Although our primary interest in this book will be
the representation of ideas, we begin with symbols because symbols are
tangible, and are therefore more accessible to analysis than ideas. We will
later be able to apply conclusions about symbols to ideas by analogy. We
conclude that the basic mechanism for managing symbols is a "detector",
which is a process that defines when two physical things are the same
symbol.

End quote.

I regard the above as sufficient demonstration that the concept behind the
word "symbol" is foundational for the theory of data and, by extension, to
the theory of databases. I not only expect it to be understood in its
common usage in the Englisgh language, but also I expect it to be
understood in a fairly precise way, as one of the terms that helps define
our discipline.

I think anyone who is unfamiliar with the term "symbol" as it relates to
the description of data lacks breath in his or her experience. Some of you
may think I've given in to ranting, but I think I'm being quite restrained.

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mAsterdam

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Since: Mar 10, 2004
Posts: 672



(Msg. 2) Posted: Fri Aug 12, 2005 12:55 am
Post subject: Meta: The word "symbol" [Login to view extended thread Info.]
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David Cressey wrote:
> A few days ago, VC commented on my use of the word "symbol" saying that I
> was inventing new terminology. I'm trying to restrain the urge to rant,
> and just give a sober reply.

> ... Some of you may think I've given in to ranting, ...

Not at all. Some with best intentions have
an unfortunate way of stating opinions and facts
in a way which very easily antagonizes other
people. But it's not trolling IMHO.

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VC2

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Since: Oct 21, 2003
Posts: 106



(Msg. 3) Posted: Fri Aug 12, 2005 1:34 am
Post subject: Re: The word "symbol" [Login to view extended thread Info.]
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Hi,

I sincerely appreciate your effort and apologize in case you've not been
offended by my style.

Please see in-line:

"David Cressey" wrote in message

>A few days ago, VC commented on my use of the word "symbol" saying that I
> was inventing new terminology. I'm trying to restrain the urge to rant,
> and just give a sober reply.
>
> There is a book on my shelves, thanks to Joe Celko, who mailed it to me
> for
> a reason I can't remember. The book is "Data Theory" by Peter C. Jones
> and
> Paul E. Jones Jr. [Prentice Hall]. It seems to be some kind of graduate
> level textbook.
>
> I'm going to quote from Chapter 1, Section 1.1, the Introduction.
>
> Quote,
>
> In Section 1.2, Physical Detection of Symbols, we study the symbols that
> can
> be used to express data. Although our primary interest in this book will
> be
> the representation of ideas, we begin with symbols because symbols are
> tangible, and are therefore more accessible to analysis than ideas. We
> will
> later be able to apply conclusions about symbols to ideas by analogy. We
> conclude that the basic mechanism for managing symbols is a "detector",
> which is a process that defines when two physical things are the same
> symbol.
>
> End quote.

I honestly do not understand :
a. what is meant by "symbols can be used to express data"
b. how "symbols are more accessible to analysis than ideas"
c. what is meant by "two physical thimgs are the same symbol"

Assuming (a) means a symbol can be used to *name* a piece of data, why not
just say so ? E.g. in a first-order logic a function symbol gives a name to
a function or a relation. If (a) means something else, then what is it ?

Assuming the symbol in (b) is a name for thing/idea/entity, what does it
mean to analyze a name ?

To put it bluntly, (c) appears to be simply nonsensical. How a symbol can
be two physical things at the same time ? What's that supposed to mean ?
The paragraph you've quoted says that a symbol is tangible. In order to be
tangible, the sybmbol has to be a physical thing. How one physical thing
can be two physical things at the same time ? I do not know, may be I am
lacking the context in which the authors use the "symbol".

In short, my objections to the word (as used in our previous exchange)
were:

a. The definition is ambiguos. The word was used to refer to a thing
name(1) and at the same time to internal value representation (2). The
ambiguity alone is, or should be, lethal for something that's supposed to be
used in a narrow and hopefully precise technical sense.

b. The word itself is redundant because there are perfectly good and
established terms for the things we talked about, such as a constant(1) or
a name(1) and internal data representation(2).


>
> I regard the above as sufficient demonstration that the concept behind the
> word "symbol" is foundational for the theory of data and, by extension,
> to
> the theory of databases. I not only expect it to be understood in its
> common usage in the Englisgh language, but also I expect it to be
> understood in a fairly precise way, as one of the terms that helps define
> our discipline.

Please see above.


>
> I think anyone who is unfamiliar with the term "symbol" as it relates to
> the description of data lacks breath in his or her experience.


So what's your precise and unambiguous definition of the symbol, not
necesserily formal, "as it relates to the description of data" ?

>Some of you
> may think I've given in to ranting, but I think I'm being quite
> restrained.
>
>
>
>
>
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Paul138

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Since: Mar 31, 2004
Posts: 105



(Msg. 4) Posted: Fri Aug 12, 2005 11:55 am
Post subject: Re: The word "symbol" [Login to view extended thread Info.]
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VC wrote:
> I sincerely appreciate your effort and apologize in case you've not been
> offended by my style. ^^^

Freudian slip? Smile

<snip>
> In short, my objections to the word (as used in our previous exchange)
> were:
>
> a. The definition is ambiguos. The word was used to refer to a thing
> name(1) and at the same time to internal value representation (2). The
> ambiguity alone is, or should be, lethal for something that's supposed to be
> used in a narrow and hopefully precise technical sense.

Isn't that just a reflection of the fact that, like so many other
things, whether or not something is a "symbol" depends on context?

Consider the number "3". In one sense it is a "thing", a mark on paper,
and not a symbol. In another sense it *is* a symbol that signifies the
concept of "threeness" that is difficult to describe but is the
intangible thing that 3 apples, 3 pears, 3 oranges etc. all have in
common. It all depends on context.

In semiotics I think the terms used are "signifier" and "signified". See
Roland Barthes' Mythologies for example - showing that each discipline
uses different words for similar concepts.

> b. The word itself is redundant because there are perfectly good and
> established terms for the things we talked about, such as a constant(1) or
> a name(1) and internal data representation(2).

maybe, but sometimes it helps to use general language instead of jargon,
for pedagogical purposes. Anyway, I think the choice of language is
somewhat tangential to the main issue, which is whether relational
engines can test values for equality purely from their "internal data
representation", or whether they need to consult the type definition in
order to do this.

Paul.
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user2311

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Since: Dec 22, 2004
Posts: 286



(Msg. 5) Posted: Fri Aug 12, 2005 11:55 am
Post subject: Re: The word "symbol" [Login to view extended thread Info.]
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"VC" wrote in message

> Hi,
>
> I sincerely appreciate your effort and apologize in case you've not been
> offended by my style.

Assuming there was a typo in the above, apology accepted.

All I'm trying to show in this discussion is that the word "symbol" is NOT
my own peculiar addition to the language of the study of data. The idea
that the data inside a computer is expressed in symbols may be novel to you,
but it hasn't been a new revelation to me since about 1962.

That doesn't mean that "symbol" is the silver bullet for the "theory of
everything". It just means that it's an accepted concept that has real
meaning to some people in our field. And its meaning is not subsumed by the
word "value".

However, the entire chapter 1 of the book is devoted to the relationship
between symbols and meaning. I keep seeing the word "semiotics" used in
here, and that word is novel to me. It's not clear to me just what
semiotics is, but I suspect that the relationship between symbols and
meaning is pretty close to it.

I can't to justice to Chapter 1 of the book in here.



> I honestly do not understand :
> a. what is meant by "symbols can be used to express data"
> b. how "symbols are more accessible to analysis than ideas"
> c. what is meant by "two physical thimgs are the same symbol"


Let me give you my take on the above, rather than the book's.

a. If symbols are NOT used to express data, then what IS used?
b. I think the authors' point was that tangible things are more accessible
to analysis than ideas.
c. example: two holes in two pieces of card stock each represent a vote
for Al Gore in Florida.
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vc

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Since: Jul 11, 2005
Posts: 273



(Msg. 6) Posted: Fri Aug 12, 2005 11:58 am
Post subject: Re: The word "symbol" [Login to view extended thread Info.]
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Paul wrote:
> VC wrote:
> > I sincerely appreciate your effort and apologize in case you've not been
> > offended by my style. ^^^
>
> Freudian slip? Smile

Rather poor typing skills. The original phrase was "I hope you've not
been.."

>
> <snip>
> > In short, my objections to the word (as used in our previous exchange)
> > were:
> >
> > a. The definition is ambiguos. The word was used to refer to a thing
> > name(1) and at the same time to internal value representation (2). The
> > ambiguity alone is, or should be, lethal for something that's supposed to be
> > used in a narrow and hopefully precise technical sense.
>
> Isn't that just a reflection of the fact that, like so many other
> things, whether or not something is a "symbol" depends on context?
>

Not in a technical/theoretical context where words or terms have to be
defined as precisely as possible to convey the intended meaning. E.g.
the word "force" can denote many things in the natural language whilst
in physics it has the precise meaning of referring to the product of
"mass" and "accelaration" with those being defined precisely as well.


> Consider the number "3". In one sense it is a "thing", a mark on paper,
> and not a symbol. In another sense it *is* a symbol that signifies the
> concept of "threeness" that is difficult to describe but is the
> intangible thing that 3 apples, 3 pears, 3 oranges etc. all have in
> common. It all depends on context.

You are probably right with respect to the second sense: natural
numbers hypothetically appeared as an abstraction of counting,
matching a collection of items with another collection: fingers,
pebbles and eventually numbers.

As to the first sense, the modern mathematical definition of say "3" is
quite precise and simple. In the FOL language, "3" is just a string of
characters that name the abstract entity 3 (in other words, there is an
assignment function that maps a set of constants to a set of integers).
The standard word for such name is a constant. Quite similar to a
relation between a person name and the actual person. We do not say
for exampe that 'John' is some magical symbol "representing" an actual
person. We just say that a string of characters, or an audio fragment,
"John" is a name which refers to an actual person. For linguistics
fans out there, the terms would be a "reference" for "John" and a
"referent" for the actual person. However, there does not appear to be
much point in introducing fancy terms and thus muddying waters with
stuff like "referent", "symbol", etc. when simple words like name,
constant, number serve quite well, thank you very much. Of course,
when our domain vocabulary is insufficient, we have to use/invent new
labels in order to be able to talk about new things. However, so far,
it was not demonstrated convicingly that such need exits (I am
referring to the thread diascussing equality).



>
> In semiotics I think the terms used are "signifier" and "signified". See
> Roland Barthes' Mythologies for example - showing that each discipline
> uses different words for similar concepts.

That's cool. Each discipline is fully entitled to use any terminology
it likes after having defined precisely what the terminlogy means.
However, due to close links between computer science and math in
general, and the RM and the FOL in particular, why not use the
established terminology instead of trying to import pieces of
vocabularies from other branches of science, or, which is even worse,
from a natural language ?



>
> > b. The word itself is redundant because there are perfectly good and
> > established terms for the things we talked about, such as a constant(1) or
> > a name(1) and internal data representation(2).
>
> maybe, but sometimes it helps to use general language instead of jargon,
> for pedagogical purposes.

Right. But as soon as students mastered the terminology, it makes
sense to use it instead of vague natural language words. Besides, I
object to the word "jargon". Jargon is a derogatory term and it's
purpose is opposite (to muddy waters) to that of terminology (make
things more precise and clear). An example of the former might be
"conceptual data type" whilst an example of the latter is "predicate
symbol".

> Anyway, I think the choice of language is
> somewhat tangential

See above.

> ... to the main issue, which is whether relational
> engines can test values for equality purely from their "internal data
> representation", or whether they need to consult the type definition in
> order to do this.

An answer to this question depends, for example, on what type system
you have in mind when you are talking about the comparison. Assuming a
static type system, typing errors will be caught at the query language
"compilation" stage where compiler would check for such errors. I do
not see much difference, with respect to implementing comparison, from
traditional programming languages.

Cheers.

>
> Paul.
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vc

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Since: Jul 11, 2005
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(Msg. 7) Posted: Fri Aug 12, 2005 12:36 pm
Post subject: Re: The word "symbol" [Login to view extended thread Info.]
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David Cressey wrote:
> "VC" wrote in message
>
> > Hi,
> >
> > I sincerely appreciate your effort and apologize in case you've not been
> > offended by my style.
>
> Assuming there was a typo in the above, apology accepted.

I apologize for my poor typing skills as well Wink

>
> All I'm trying to show in this discussion is that the word "symbol" is NOT
> my own peculiar addition to the language of the study of data. The idea
> that the data inside a computer is expressed in symbols may be novel to you,
> but it hasn't been a new revelation to me since about 1962.

Probably the ancients used it because they did not know any better Smile

>
> That doesn't mean that "symbol" is the silver bullet for the "theory of
> everything". It just means that it's an accepted concept that has real
> meaning to some people in our field. And its meaning is not subsumed by the
> word "value".

When we confine ourselves to the realm of formal structures of which
database theory is an example, then we have just *two* basic notions
in order to discuss various things: the things themselves and the their
names. Collection of things, as well as relations between things, are
normally formalized as sets. The thing names are: variables,
connectives, constants, predicate/function/relation symbols. I just do
not see where the standalone "symbol" fits in here.


>
> However, the entire chapter 1 of the book is devoted to the relationship
> between symbols and meaning. I keep seeing the word "semiotics" used in
> here, and that word is novel to me. It's not clear to me just what
> semiotics is, but I suspect that the relationship between symbols and
> meaning is pretty close to it.

Semiotics has quite a few non-intersecting branches depending on the
semiotician you talk to Wink. Some claim it studies the interaction
between the "signifier" (name) and the "signified" (entity) and that
the "signified" can be influenced by the "signifier". Others say that
"signs" (or "symbols" where "symbol" is a synonym of "sign") as
"signifiers" have meanings of their own unrelated, or weakly related,
to that of the "signified". One of the more interesting semioticians
is the writer Umberto Eco who used some semiotics ideas in his books
(e.g., Foucault's Pendulum). However, I do not see how this stuff
can be applicable to study of formal systems, like the RM.

>
> I can't to justice to Chapter 1 of the book in here.
>
>
>
> > I honestly do not understand :
> > a. what is meant by "symbols can be used to express data"
> > b. how "symbols are more accessible to analysis than ideas"
> > c. what is meant by "two physical thimgs are the same symbol"
>
>
> Let me give you my take on the above, rather than the book's.
>
> a. If symbols are NOT used to express data, then what IS used?

As I said, quite a few times before, *names* (constants, variables,
etc.) are used for this purpose.

> b. I think the authors' point was that tangible things are more accessible
> to analysis than ideas.

OK, sort of trivial if true. So you're saying the authors equate
symbols with all the physical things out there, like trees, stones,
houses, are you ? Or by a symbol they mean some not very well defined
subset of physical things like a pictogram, a cuneiform, a printed
word, something that semioticians call a "sign" ? How do they propose
to study say a printed word by itself ? Also, how such study might be
related to a data bases theory ?

> c. example: two holes in two pieces of card stock each represent a vote
> for Al Gore in Florida.

You mean two holes in two cards represnt *two* votes ? If not, could
you clarify what you mean ?

Cheers.
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user2311

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Since: Dec 22, 2004
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(Msg. 8) Posted: Fri Aug 12, 2005 12:55 pm
Post subject: Re: The word "symbol" [Login to view extended thread Info.]
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"Paul" wrote in message

> VC wrote:
> > I sincerely appreciate your effort and apologize in case you've not
been
> > offended by my style. ^^^
>
> Freudian slip? Smile

Let's give him the benefit of the doubt.


> maybe, but sometimes it helps to use general language instead of jargon,
> for pedagogical purposes. Anyway, I think the choice of language is
> somewhat tangential to the main issue, which is whether relational
> engines can test values for equality purely from their "internal data
> representation", or whether they need to consult the type definition in
> order to do this.

That's, sort of, why I started a new discussion. The main issue in the
other discussion is what you said.

The main issue in this discussion is whether the concept of "symbol" is a
valuable addition to the jargon of data theory or not.


To me it definitely is. Not only the "internal representation of data", as
in the ones and zeroes, or other data structures built up from them, but
also the external representation of data. The number three is made up of
symbols (binary digits) in side memory. It's also made up of symbols
(pixels) when displayed on the screen, according to some font. It's also
made up of symbols (dots) when printed by a laser printer.

In addition, "3" is a symbol, at another layer of expression. It's a
decimal digit.
In addition the number "12345" , written in the box labelled "Employee_id"
on a form is a symbol, standing not only for a certain decimal number, but
also standing for a certain employee.

And this is probably the root difference between the way VC sees things and
the way I see things.

VC, if I read him right, views everything at two levels of abstraction:
the logical level and the physical level.

I think that there are multiple levels of abstraction. I'm not even going
to guess how many. And in order to know what a piece of data expresses,
you have to know not only the context, as VC said, but also the level of
abstraction.

The word "symbol" has a consistent meaning, I think, across multiple
levels of abstraction. VC claims my use is inconsistent. It remains to be
seen where the discussion goes from here.
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vc

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(Msg. 9) Posted: Fri Aug 12, 2005 12:58 pm
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David Cressey wrote:
> "Paul" wrote in message
>
>
> VC, if I read him right, views everything at two levels of abstraction:
> the logical level and the physical level.

Well, no. The two things I see are a formal structure and its model.
E.g. Peano axioms as a formal stucture and integers as the standard
model of the PA. A formal structure has a language which is used to
talk about the model. The language vocabulary( a set) contains
names(constants, function names, connectives, etc) for various things
in the model. Sometimes, those names are called symbols. I have no
objection to such use of the word "symbol" although this use does not
occur in the modern math practice very frequently. In other words, if
you said: " by a symbol I undestand an element from the first-order
language vocabulary", there would have been no objection on my part.


>
> I think that there are multiple levels of abstraction. I'm not even going
> to guess how many. And in order to know what a piece of data expresses,
> you have to know not only the context, as VC said, but also the level of
> abstraction.

See above. Of course there are multiple levels of abstraction depending
on what and how you want to model. At any level of abstraction you
operate with some objects using their names in the context of your
formal model. There is no need, or at least you've not convinced me
yet that there is such need, to introduce the new word "symbol" in the
sense other than the one I've described above.

>
> The word "symbol" has a consistent meaning, I think, across multiple
> levels of abstraction. VC claims my use is inconsistent. It remains to be
> seen where the discussion goes from here.

OK, please define "a/the? consistent meaning" (not multiple meanings)
of the word symbol.

Cheers.
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genew

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(Msg. 10) Posted: Fri Aug 12, 2005 2:52 pm
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On 12 Aug 2005 08:36:37 -0700, "vc" wrote:

>David Cressey wrote:

[snip]

>> c. example: two holes in two pieces of card stock each represent a vote
>> for Al Gore in Florida.
>
>You mean two holes in two cards represnt *two* votes ? If not, could
>you clarify what you mean ?

Probably, "two holes each in a different piece of card stock each
represent a vote for Al Gore in Florida."

>
>Cheers.
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genew

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(Msg. 11) Posted: Fri Aug 12, 2005 2:52 pm
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On Fri, 12 Aug 2005 02:13:12 +0200, mAsterdam
wrote:

>David Cressey wrote:
>> A few days ago, VC commented on my use of the word "symbol" saying that I
>> was inventing new terminology. I'm trying to restrain the urge to rant,
>> and just give a sober reply.
>
>> ... Some of you may think I've given in to ranting, ...
>
>Not at all. Some with best intentions have
>an unfortunate way of stating opinions and facts
>in a way which very easily antagonizes other
>people. But it's not trolling IMHO.

I think it is more on the part of the reader. If you are looking
for an antagonistic interpretation, you will almost certainly find
one. If you are looking for a reasonable interpreation, you will
probably find one (assuming that one is there to be found).

Remember, folks, not everyone does it your way, they may have
good reason for not doing it your way, and that does not necessarily
invalidate your way. Neither do they do it my way, etc.

Sincerely,

Gene Wirchenko
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vc

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(Msg. 12) Posted: Fri Aug 12, 2005 4:21 pm
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Gene Wirchenko wrote:
> On 12 Aug 2005 08:36:37 -0700, "vc" wrote:
>
> >David Cressey wrote:
>
> [snip]
>
> >> c. example: two holes in two pieces of card stock each represent a vote
> >> for Al Gore in Florida.
> >
> >You mean two holes in two cards represnt *two* votes ? If not, could
> >you clarify what you mean ?
>
> Probably, "two holes each in a different piece of card stock each
> represent a vote for Al Gore in Florida."
>

Thanks.

So we have yet another definition of the symbol as a member of an
equivalence class defined by the relation x 'names_the_same_thing_as'
y, in other words, a symbol is a member of the set of synonyms for
some entity. Still, it's unclear how this trivial classification is
of any use to data management or anywhere else for that matter.

> >
> >Cheers.
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mAsterdam

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(Msg. 13) Posted: Sat Aug 13, 2005 1:55 am
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vc wrote:
> David Cressey wrote:
>>VC wrote:
[snip]
> When we confine ourselves to the realm of formal structures of which
> database theory is an example, ...

Ah! This creates perspective. I do not share this opinion.
To me there is a part of database theory that deals with formal structures.

[snip]

> Semiotics has quite a few non-intersecting branches depending on the
> semiotician you talk to Wink. Some claim it studies the interaction
> between the "signifier" (name) and the "signified" (entity) and that
> the "signified" can be influenced by the "signifier". Others say that
> "signs" (or "symbols" where "symbol" is a synonym of "sign") as
> "signifiers" have meanings of their own unrelated, or weakly related,
> to that of the "signified". One of the more interesting semioticians
> is the writer Umberto Eco who used some semiotics ideas in his books
> (e.g., Foucault's Pendulum). However, I do not see how this stuff
> can be applicable to study of formal systems, like the RM.

Semiotics is not applied to the study of formal systems
per se but it does give handles to provide content,
context, meaning and use of formal systems.
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VC2

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(Msg. 14) Posted: Sat Aug 13, 2005 1:55 am
Post subject: Re: The word "symbol" [Login to view extended thread Info.]
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"mAsterdam" wrote in message

> vc wrote:
>> David Cressey wrote:
>>>VC wrote:
> [snip]
>> When we confine ourselves to the realm of formal structures of which
>> database theory is an example, ...
>
> Ah! This creates perspective. I do not share this opinion.
> To me there is a part of database theory that deals with formal
> structures.

What's that supposed to mean ?

>
> [snip]
>
>> Semiotics has quite a few non-intersecting branches depending on the
>> semiotician you talk to Wink. Some claim it studies the interaction
>> between the "signifier" (name) and the "signified" (entity) and that
>> the "signified" can be influenced by the "signifier". Others say that
>> "signs" (or "symbols" where "symbol" is a synonym of "sign") as
>> "signifiers" have meanings of their own unrelated, or weakly related,
>> to that of the "signified". One of the more interesting semioticians
>> is the writer Umberto Eco who used some semiotics ideas in his books
>> (e.g., Foucault's Pendulum). However, I do not see how this stuff
>> can be applicable to study of formal systems, like the RM.
>
> Semiotics is not applied to the study of formal systems
> per se but it does give handles to provide content,
> context, meaning and use of formal systems.

For example ?
 >> Stay informed about: The word ""symbol"" 
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mAsterdam

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Since: Mar 10, 2004
Posts: 672



(Msg. 15) Posted: Sat Aug 13, 2005 2:55 am
Post subject: Re: The word "symbol" [Login to view extended thread Info.]
Archived from groups: per prev. post (more info?)

VC wrote:
> mAsterdam wrote:
>>vc wrote:
>>>David Cressey wrote:
>>>>VC wrote:
>>
>>[snip]
>>
>>>When we confine ourselves to the realm of formal structures of which
>>>database theory is an example, ...
>>
>>Ah! This creates perspective. I do not share this opinion.
>>To me there is a part of database theory that deals with formal
>>structures.
>
>
> What's that supposed to mean ?
>

Your interest in databases is in the purely formal aspects, no?
That is one, but not my main area of nice topics in database theory.
Is that so difficult?

>>[snip]
>>
>>
>>>Semiotics has quite a few non-intersecting branches depending on the
>>>semiotician you talk to Wink. Some claim it studies the interaction
>>>between the "signifier" (name) and the "signified" (entity) and that
>>>the "signified" can be influenced by the "signifier". Others say that
>>>"signs" (or "symbols" where "symbol" is a synonym of "sign") as
>>>"signifiers" have meanings of their own unrelated, or weakly related,
>>>to that of the "signified". One of the more interesting semioticians
>>>is the writer Umberto Eco who used some semiotics ideas in his books
>>>(e.g., Foucault's Pendulum). However, I do not see how this stuff
>>>can be applicable to study of formal systems, like the RM.
>>
>>Semiotics is not applied to the study of formal systems
>>per se but it does give handles to provide content,
>>context, meaning and use of formal systems.
>
>
> For example ?

Why? Any example would by definiton be
outside what you choose to be database theory.
 >> Stay informed about: The word ""symbol"" 
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