Dear Doug, (01)
> On Tue, August 2, 2011 4:18, Matthew West said:
> > Dear John,
> > I disagree with your characterisation of a plan below.
> JS>> The word 'law' is a generic term for a wide range of propositions
> >> 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).
> JS> 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
> > 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
> > future, the plan is the actions you intend to take, not the desired
> > outcome.
> I suggest that a plan is something in between these two positions. The
> Goal could be considered not to be "part" of the Plan, but an organizing
> principle for the Plan. However, the Plan would be a proposed method of
> achieving the Goal (through instantiating a set of Action types with a
> specific (partial) ordering), and not a set of Actions. The intent is
> NOT to engage in specific Actions, but to engage in Actions that meet
> constraints of the plan (including inter-action temporal constraints). (02)
MW: That is certainly not what I mean by a plan. In particular, a plan is
not a plan for me (or for example a company like Shell) unless it is at the
level of particular actions that are to be performed. Only particular
actions will bring about the desired outcome. Types of action achieve
nothing in themselves, they are abstract.
> > 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
> > seems to stop people choosing them).
> Are you referring to bad plan design or bad plan execution? (03)
MW: In this case bad plan design. However bad your plan, you can't do
> JS>> 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.
> In terms of possible worlds, the possible world of the plan is a loosely
> constrained future world with much unspecified. The actual 4D world that
> we inhabit (or 3D world that we WILL inhabit) has infinitely more content
> (more facts are instantiated) than the possible world of the plan. The
> possible world of the plan may or may not be consistent with the 4D/future
> 3D world of the plan, but it certainly is not the actual world we (will)
> inhabit. (04)
MW: I don't think it matters. Any description of the actual world will be
underspecified, but that does not mean it is not a description of the actual
world, so I do not see why an underspecified description of the possible
world of a plan could not possibly be a description of our world, just
because it is underspecified.
> JS>> The desired goal can be called a possible world. But more
> >> 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
> > time.
> Recognizing that that particular state of affairs could exist in different
> situations that have nothing to do with each other other than what is
> specified by the goal.
> JS>> The specifications of the plan could be called axioms, constraints,
> >> or laws.
> > MW: No.
> MW & JS are merely using different definitions of the word "constraints"
> here. JS is not referring to linear programming constraints.
> > 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 LP constraints are not the plan, but the plan can be conceptualized
> as a set of constraints on actions that can be taken to realize the plan. (05)
MW: I disagree. The plan is not a plan until it is some particular
activities to be carried out. The constraints alone only define a feasible
region. If you are doing the travelling salesman problem it is not enough
that there are a large number of possible choices of the order of visits.
You actually have to alight on one of them, even if it is not the best
before you have a plan.
> JS>> 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).
> A Method may be more generic than a Plan. E.g., a method for making a
> cake may be a recipe, while a plan for making a cake may involve a
> specific oven, set of utensils, flour and eggs from certain bins, a
> certain cook, etc. I don't understand how the definition of "plan" can
> be the *execution* of a method, which i understand to mean a single
> complex event. (06)
MW: It's a plan because the activities are in the future and not the past. (07)
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> -- doug f
> > Regards
> > Matthew West
> > Information Junction
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