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

To: "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Cory Casanave <cory-c@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 3 Aug 2011 17:42:26 -0400
Message-id: <B958E6B1BCD5114789747469E80A8762A90D45D8B4@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
We also do planning as part of or EA practice and also do a reasonable about of 
project management. I recognize the way you are using the term as the level of 
planning required to get CxO "sign off" for an enterprise plan as you suggest.  
However, this does not preclude the possibility of other plans that may not be 
as complete.  Plans for sign-off must also include other viewpoints, such as 
finances.  But, not all plans need a CxO signoff for financial commitment.    (01)

Certainly there is a concept for a plan as you suggest, perhaps I would call it 
an "action plan".  There is also a concept for the more general notion of plan 
as John suggests that may or may not include specific actions or other 
viewpoints.  What seems essential to a plan is some intended future state.    (02)

Aren't we all used to these squabbles over terms when we should be worried 
about the concepts?  When more than one concept get attached to a term we just 
need to qualify the terms and move on.  Experts, such as project managers, will 
tend to attach their opinion on what makes up a "good" (in their expert view) 
variant of a concept - and then try and assign that goodness as a requirement 
for everyone.  So perhaps a good plan, to a project manager, must include 
actions.  But to an architect a floor plan is a pure future state.    (03)

So I would agree with John that the most general concept of plan (or at least 
the concept I attach to that term) includes intended possible worlds.  This 
seems well supported by the definitions John sites.  Actions to achieve a 
possible world make a more complete action plan.    (04)

-Cory    (05)

-----Original Message-----
From: ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx 
[mailto:ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Matthew West
Sent: Wednesday, August 03, 2011 3:21 PM
To: '[ontolog-forum] '
Subject: Re: [ontolog-forum] intangibles (was RE: Why most classifications are 
fuzzy)    (06)

Dear John,    (07)

> But any information about the future that "seems" to come from an 
> extensional analysis of some 4D region is always derivable from the 
> intensional specifications that determine or predict those possible 
> worlds (or those spatio-temporal regions).    (08)

MW: Yes, and any information about the future that "seems" to arise from 
intensional specifications is actually a possible world or some part of one.
> > 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.
> I like your last sentence, which uses the word 'intend'.
> It shows that the origin of the information is the *intention* (with a 
> T), which determines the *intension* (with an S), which determines the 
> *extensions* in those possible worlds.    (09)

MW: I don't have a problem with intentions, they are what determine which 
possible worlds are interesting.
> But I disagree that "a plan is a set of actions".  Whether you're 
> using a 4D analysis or 3+1D is irrelevant to the definition of 'plan'.    (010)

MW: Well I spent 30 years working for Shell, an organization that lived and 
thrived by creating plans and then executing them. My usage is just how I found 
the word being used there.
> As I suggest to anybody who works on knowledge representation or 
> ontology, consult a good dictionary for a neutral (i.e., non-dogmatic, 
> not theory laden) opinion about the way words are commonly used.
> For example, the Merriam-Webster 9th Collegiate Dictionary says that 
> the word 'plan' comes from the same Latin root as the word 'plane'.  
> That origin leads to MW definition #1:
> > 1. a drawing or diagram drawn on a plane.
> > 2c. a detailed formulation of a program of action    (011)

MW: It is this last that corresponds to the usage I am referring to. So 
therefore not to any of the others, which are distinct. The plan of a building 
for instance is an entirely different sort of thing (and is as likely to be of 
a building after it was built as before).
> All these definitions say that a plan is a goal or a method.    (012)

MW: Not so.    (013)

> None of them identify a plan with the sequence of actions.    (014)

MW: See 2c "a program of action" is just that.
> If you prefer a British view, following are the four senses of 'plan' 
> in the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English:
> > 1. a (carefully considered) arrangement for carrying out
> >    some future activity.    (015)

MW: This is near enough the sense I mean.
> Both dictionaries emphasize the goal (or a drawing of the goal) and 
> the intentions that led to the goal:  a plan "always implies mental 
> formulation", and the arrangement is "carefully considered".    (016)

MW: Of course.
> > 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).
> Please note that both dictionaries define a plan as either a goal or a 
> method for achieving the goal.  I have never heard anybody use the 
> word 'plan' in the way you describe.    (017)

MW: I suggest you both re-read what you have posted and talk to some people who 
do project management for a living.
> Another comment about word usage:
> > JFS: 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.
> My primary word was 'specifications'.  They determine the methods the 
> dictionaries mention.  There are two ways to specify a method:
>   1. Procedural:  An ordered sequence of imperative commands,
>      as in a typical programming language.
>   2. Declarative:  A set of propositions that state the starting
>      conditions (prerequisites) and ending conditions (desired
>      goal) for any procedure that implements the method.
> A procedural specification is useful for efficient execution by a 
> specific machine or by a human agent who is not expected to innovate 
> or to deviate from a fixed sequence.
> A declarative specification is more general, since it covers an 
> open-ended variety of procedures that begin with the starting 
> conditions and end with the desired goal.  It allows greater 
> flexibility in changing the order of execution and adapting to 
> unforeseen circumstances.  But it does require a more intelligent 
> machine or human.
> I used the words 'axioms', 'constraints', or 'laws' for the 
> propositions that state the preconditions and postconditions of a 
> declarative specification.  I am happy to replace those words with any 
> other way of talking about the propositions.
> I'll admit that people rarely use the terminology of logicians or 
> computer scientists to talk about their planning sessions.
> But you can analyze their informal discussions and classify their ways 
> of describing plans as procedural, declarative, or some informal 
> mixture of both.    (018)

MW: I've spent enough of my working life doing planning that I know full well 
that you have not produced a plan that anyone will accept as such when you have 
done no more than state the boundary conditions. Only when you have produced a 
solution that satisfies those boundary conditions do you have something a 
budget holder would sign of as a plan.    (019)

Regards    (020)

Matthew West                            
Information  Junction
Tel: +44 1489 880185
Mobile: +44 750 3385279
Skype: dr.matthew.west
http://www.matthew-west.org.uk/    (021)

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