From an existential point of view the most general differentiation that we can create with regards to the elements present in our reality is whether they are touchable actual material things or on the contrary, things that cannot be touched but nonetheless influence our existence. Based on this rule we can categorize these elements as Concepts (immaterial, untouchable) elements and as Specifics (material, touchable) or in other words concrete manifestations of the concepts.
- Definition 2, Concepts
Concepts are terminologies for stand alone facts, objects, phenomenons, etc, from reality in a way that humans consider them as distinct from all the other facts, objects, etc, from reality, they assign them individual identification (name) and definition.
The notation for the concept will be the UTF8 representation of the word in the dictionary that represent the concept in their base form: Person, Elephant, Create, Be, Run, Time, Happiness, Future, Past, etc.
- Definition 3, Specifics
Specifics are materializations of concepts. Particular instances of a Concept.
The notation for a specific will be that of the concept of which the specific is a materialization of, followed by a unique reference in parenthesis: Concept(x). In this case, the x in the parenthesis must be a specific that can uniquely identify the given specific within the case.
Not every concept can have instances. For example “one” (1) is a instance of the Number concept, A specific Person (myself for instance) is a materialization of the Person concept, a specific rock of the Rock concept and so on. These concepts can be called suggestively “Material Concepts”. On the other hand, concepts like “tall”, “sad”, “fast”, “run”, “dig”, “future”, “past” and many more have no materialization, they are “Abstract Concepts”.
SPInDL does not make a differentiation between abstract and material concepts. Within a particular case, all concepts are considered to be abstract until they have a materialization, at which point they become material. It is not however regulated whether a concept can or cannot have a materialization. Human reality is very complex and even seemingly immaterial concepts can have materializations on rare occasions. Take “time” for instance: it is a highly intangible concept which although present in our everyday life it is mostly handled as an abstract concept. Even so, we do occasional consider specific periods of time and refer to them as “the time of something”, like (“the time of Picasso”). This is not an isolated case, the infinitely complex human reality has many such example and as such it is better for any knowledge representation system to remain open. It will remain at the latitude of the program whether it will allow materialization of a concept or not.
A small note is warranted on the concept of specifics within a case. In everyday life when we have specifics in discussion we constantly adjust context in order to easily avoid confusion about the objects that we discuss, therefore we are tempted to talk about specifics using a characteristic (property) of it. This is especially valid when we consider universally unique identification properties, such as the case of things that are regularly stored as data (people’s personal information, car information, etc). But for most objects in reality there is no such thing as an absolute identification property. An object is usually identified (in a communication) with several traits: “The pine tree that grows in front of John’s house”, that together are sufficiently unique within the give context. Nevertheless, inside our brain we have a very specific, absolute reference about all objects that matter to us. When we think to ourselves, inside our heads, there is no doubt about the particular instance we refer to. We need no such description to identify which pine tree we are talking about. References within the cases should take this aspect into consideration and use internal pointers for all specifics which are separate from all the properties, facts that are recorded about the given specific.