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Re: [ontolog-forum] intangibles (was RE: Why most classifications are fu

To: "'[ontolog-forum] '" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Matthew West" <dr.matthew.west@xxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 2 Aug 2011 09:18:37 +0100
Message-id: <4e37b2e0.02cde30a.3be7.0793@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>

Dear John,


I disagree with your characterisation of a plan below.

The word 'law' is a generic term for a wide range of propositions that could also be called axioms, constraints,  or requirements.

> MW: I don't see how a plan is a set of laws. A plan is a set of actions
> (i.e. spatio-temporal extents, not laws).

The execution of a plan creates a sequence of  actions.  But the plan itself is the specification of a goal to be achieved and a proposed method for achieving that goal.

MW: In a 4D analysis a plan is a set of actions (spatio-temporal extents) in a possible world. The goal to be achieved is a state of affairs in that possible world at a point in time. It does not matter that they are in the future, the plan is the actions you intend to take, not the desired outcome.

MW: There may well be constraints. These will make some courses of action non-feasible from the position you start from. This will make the courses of action that violate those constraints a bad choice of plan (not that that seems to stop people choosing them).

Most plans, as even the mouse knows, "gang oft agley."  Very often, they are not realized as a sequence of actions, or that sequence doesn't terminate in the desired goal.

MW: Indeed, which is why very often the possible world of the plan turns out not to be the actual world we inhabit.

The desired goal can be called a possible world.  But more accurately, it is a desired region of the actual world at some time in the future. 

MW: More or less. As I said, a particular state of affairs at a particular time.

The specifications of the plan could be called axioms, constraints, or laws.

MW: No. What is often the case is that the constraints (resource availability, time, materials) are inputs to formulating a feasible plan (I think of linear programming in the oil industry). However, the constraints are not the plan itself.

The laws can be very tentative.  But the critical point that distinguishes laws from the facts is that the laws are constraints on the way a sequence of actions may, can, or must result in some observable facts.  If that sequence is what somebody had intended in order to achieve some goal, then it can be called the execution of a plan.

MW: A sequence of action (types) is a method, but not a plan. A plan may be a particular execution of a method (but not necessarily).




Matthew West                           

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