Multiple Recognitions: Reconsidered

Yesterday I closed with these lines:

Requirement: A system of identification must support the same identifiers resolving to different identifications.

The consequences of deciding otherwise on such a requirement, I will try to take up tomorrow. (Multiple Recognitions)

Rereading that for today’s post, I don’t agree with myself.

The requirement isn’t a requirement at all but an observation that the same identifier may have multiple resolutions.

Better to say that the designer of systems of identification should be aware of that observation. To avoid situations like I posed yesterday with “I will call you a cab” example.

A fortuitous mistake because it leads to the next issue that I wanted to address: Do identifiers have contexts in which they have only a single resolution?

Yesterday’s mistake has made me more wary of sweeping pronouncements so I am posing the context issue as a question. 😉

Can you think of any counter-examples?

The easiest place to look would be in comedy, where mistaken identity (such as in Shakespeare), double meanings, etc., are bread and butter of the art. Two or more people hear or see the same identifier and reach different resolutions.

In those cases, if we had a rule that identifiers could only have a single resolution, we would have to simply skip over those cases. That seems like an inelegant solution.

Or would you shrink the context down to the individuals who had the different resolutions of an identifier?

Perhaps, perhaps but then what is your solution when later in the play one or more individuals discover their mistake and now hold a common resolution but still remember the one that was in error? Or perhaps more than one that was in error? How do we describe the context(s) there?

There is a long history of such situations in comedy. You may be tempted to say that recreational literature can be excluded. That “fictional” work isn’t the first place we want semantic technologies to work.

Perhaps but remember that comedy and “fiction” have their origin in our day to day affairs. The misunderstandings they parody are our misunderstandings.

The saying: “what did X know and when did they know it?” takes on new meaning when we take about the interpretation of identifiers. Perhaps “freedom fighter” is a more sympathetic term until you “know” those forces are operating death squads. And may have different legal consequences.

How do you think boundaries for contexts should be set/designated? Seems like that would be an important issue to take up.

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