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[uom-ontology-std] report from the critical path

To: uom-ontology-std <uom-ontology-std@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, Peter Yim <peter.yim@xxxxxxxx>
From: Pat Hayes <phayes@xxxxxxx>
Date: Sat, 5 Dec 2009 09:18:00 -0600
Message-id: <FF34FD34-5C3A-4AFF-9EA5-443C5D98E494@xxxxxxx>

Folks, I spoke too optimistically when I said I could have some UoM CL  
done by next Monday. I have not been able to get enough clear time to  
focus on this during the past week, and for family reasons will not  
have very much free time this weekend. If everyone is in agreement, I  
would like to use some time on Monday's call to focus on, and clarify,  
the issue raised by Ed B. in his recent email on the [-admin] thread:    (01)

Chuck Ehrlich is willing to serve as our VIM guru and to raise issues of
ambiguities in the BIPM TG.  He believes, however, that we may run
directly into a deliberate ambiguity that is the result of a
disagreement between two camps.  The notion of the "magnitude of a
quantity" as an interpretation of "quantity" is sacred to the
specification camp and heresy to the measurement camp.  The big issue is
about which notion the word "quantity" is used for, and in VIM3 it is
-----    (02)

This is an example of what might be called institutionalized  
vagueness, and the VIM seems to have this in several places. Right at  
the beginning, in 1.1, the definition of quantity uses the term  
'reference' which (note 2) can be a unit, a procedure or a material,  
or any combination of these. This now seems to me to be an example of  
such a careful blurring of categories to obtain consensus, rather than  
a meaningful notion in itself. It is rather hard to see what can be  
meaningfully said about the class {unit, procedure, material}, so I  
think that we will be obliged to deconstruct concepts like this back  
into their components when writing our ontology. This may seem  
retrograde from the VIM's point of view, since they probably expended  
considerable community effort in creating these ambiguous terminologies.    (03)

Pat    (04)

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