Content-type: text/html Downes.ca ~ Stephen's Web ~ Objects and their Parts: The Problem of Material Composition

Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

Someone the other day suggested I should consider the utility of a 'context-free language' for certain applications (think: learning engineering). This article offers one of the (many) reasons why context-free language is a chimera. It poses a simple question: when you consider the way some things are made up of other things, what counts as an object? The only reasonable answer is 'mereological conservatism', which hold that smaller objects sometimes, but not always, compose some further object. For example: a car without an engine might not be a car, but a car without a drive shaft probably is a car. What makes the difference? Context. Image: Todd McLellan.

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada
stephen@downes.ca

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Last Updated: Jun 14, 2024 01:30 a.m.

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