semantics and meaning

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From: Joaquin Miller (
Date: Tue 10 Sep 2002 - 00:31:08 BST

>... our definition of the semantic domain is cast as an OO model, rather 
>than in set theory. There are two reasons for this. (1) it leads us to 
>tools (such as those discussed in a previous posting) faster (2) it seems 
>easier to get OO models past the folks in the OMG than set theory.

This is not only very clever (2) and practical (1), i expect it is 
sound.  And it is certainly good for helping folks understand--so long as 
what is going on is made clear.

The way this is said here does seem to confirm my understanding that what 
2U is doing is formal semantics, just using its own domain, rather than the 
customary sets and structures of sets (such as the famous possible worlds).

So i remain comfortable in saying that we also need to consider what a 
model means.

This is where 3C and 2U could cover each others backs,
since we do nothing formal,
but a fair-to-middlin' job on meaning.

You will recall that we say:

"Because the UML 2 language is an order n language,
there is guaranteed to be a set theoretic formal
semantics. This guaranteed formal semantics will
consist of a standard set theory and a semantic
mapping from UML 2 to that set theory, providing an
interpretation in set theory of any UML statement.

In fact, we believe that UML is best served by a third
order language with a Henkin semantics; but we leave
formal analysis to others.

We do not provide a formal semantics,
but focus instead on providing a meaning:
a clear, clean, concise

and exact

at Part II Section 3 Meaning and Semantics, p. 26.


Footnote:  By the way, i asked John Corcoran if he could point me to a 
reference for the the theorem about a guaranteed set-theoretic semantics 
for an order n langauge, and he said he would be surprised if anyone had 
bothered to prove that !

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