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Subject: Re: [soa-rm-ra] The multiple overlapping senses of joint action.

This would be easier to discuss in the context of the Section 3 
subsection on Joint Action. I would also like to see the subsection on 
Trust. Was this perhaps distributed while my email was down (Thursday 
July 16 to Monday July 20)? I only actually lost all mail from Thursday 
mid-day to Saturday afternoon. If not, is there any chance we'll have it 
before tomorrow'smeeting?


Francis McCabe wrote:
> Ken
>  I was NOT addressing trust in the write up on joint action.
>  I think that there are genuinely two different notions of action: the 
> action that individual actors perform (including cutting down trees) 
> and the actions that they perform severally.
>  I think that getting clarity about the relationship between 
> communicative actions and service actions is extremely beneficial. 
> Seeing the two side-by-side as it were solves an important 
> architectural problem. I admit that I fail to see why you cannot see 
> that.
>  Remember that the purpose of interacting with services is to get 
> things done. But, as anyone who attends a lot of meetings will 
> understand, talking about solving problems is not the same thing as 
> actually solving them.
> Frank
> On Jul 21, 2009, at 6:28 AM, Laskey, Ken wrote:
>> Frank,
>> Two points here: one for a clarification and the other still 
>> questioning the necessity of the elaboration.
>> First, if I cut down a tree, is there a joint action?  There is 
>> certainly a real world effect.
>> I use this as my "action" scenario in order to avoid messages.  
>> Message exchange seems to always require joint action -- the speaker 
>> and the listener -- for anything to get done.  The message exchange 
>> is by construction a joint action, and all the other levels of intent 
>> you mention often get masked.
>> The concept of an action meant for different purposes is critical for 
>> trust because the question comes down to whether the individual 
>> intent of the parties will likely lead to acceptable RWEs, even if 
>> the intents are somewhat different.
>> This leads me to the second point: what of all this is required to 
>> tell the story for the RA?  Interaction is made up of joint actions, 
>> but when is it not sufficient to talk about interaction?  We seem to 
>> do quite well in section 4, although it will take a bit of effort to 
>> reconstruct what Jeff and I decided when we first had the action to 
>> tackle this.  As for trust, the initial write-up I did seemed to 
>> capture more than some folks felt necessary, and it made no mention 
>> of joint action.
>> One of our principles is parsimony.  I understand, although I still 
>> have a few questions on, your elaboration of joint action.  The 
>> question is whether this is the most parsimonious way to tell the 
>> story.  Of more concern, will anyone not part of our discussion 
>> understand it?
>> Ken
>> ________________________________________
>> From: Francis McCabe [fmccabe@gmail.com]
>> Sent: Tuesday, July 21, 2009 12:33 AM
>> To: soa-rm-ra@lists.oasis-open.org RA
>> Subject: [soa-rm-ra] The multiple overlapping senses of joint action.
>> A joint action is a coordinated set of actions involving the efforts
>> of two or more actors to achieve an effect
>> In any social context joint actions abound: people talking to each
>> other, people buying and selling, people arranging their lives. In
>> addition, joint action is at the heart of interactions within the
>> context of a SOA ecosystem.
>> There is another sense in which joint actions abound: even within a
>> single incident of interaction there are typically several overlapping
>> joint actions.
>> For example, when one person says to another: "it is stuffy in here"
>> there is an immediate sense in which there is a joint action -- a
>> joint communicative action. The intended effect being that the
>> listener believes that the speaker intends him to understand that the
>> speaker believes that the atmosphere is uncomfortable. (The listener
>> may also believe that the atmosphere *is* uncomfortable as a result of
>> the communication.)
>> However, in the right context, there may be another joint action: the
>> apparent declaration may in fact be a command.  The intent being that
>> the speaker wishes the listener to understand that the door should be
>> opened.
>> There may be a further layer to this scenario: the speaker might be
>> aware that there is someone who is waiting to be let in. The command
>> to open the door is actually a command to admit the visitor to the room.
>> Fundamentally all three of these senses of joint action are
>> superimposed on top of each other. However, there is a strong sense in
>> which the different joint actions may be quite interchangeable. For
>> example, instead of declaring that the "room is stuffy", the speaker
>> might have simply said "open the door". Or the speaker might have said
>> "please let John in". In each case the effect would have been the same
>> -- modulo the sensitivities of the speaker and listener -- the door
>> being open and the visitor admitted to the room.
>> The relationship between the communicative joint action: the utterance
>> of the declaration and the command joint action is a `uses'
>> relationship. The speaking joint action is used to convey the command
>> joint action; which in turn is used to convey the visitor admittance
>> action.
>> In many situations the best predicate that describes the relationship
>> between these different joint actions is the 'counts as' predicate.
>> The utterance action counts as the command to open the door. The
>> command to open the door counts as the request to admit the visitor.
>> It can be extremely useful to identify and separate the different
>> overlapping senses of joint action. It allows us to separately
>> describe and process the communicative actions from the command joint
>> actions. This, in turn, reflects the fact that each layer has its own
>> logic and ontology.
>> For example, at the utterance level, the issues are to do with the
>> successful understanding of the content of the communication -- did
>> the listener hear and understand the words, did the speaker intend to
>> say them, and so on.
>> At the level of the command to open the door, the issues center on
>> whether there is a predisposition on the part of the listener to obey
>> commands given to him by the speaker.
>> In the context of a SOA ecosystem we can separately capture the logic
>> and mechanics of what is involved in electronic communication -- the
>> sending of messages, the security of the communication and so on; from
>> the logic and mechanics of command -- does the listener believe that
>> the speaker has the appropriate authority to issue the command.
>> As with human communication, electronic interactions are similarly
>> interchangeable: the commitment to purchase a book requires some form
>> of communication between buyer and seller; but the purchase action
>> itself is unchanged by the use of email or an HTTP post of an XML
>> document.
>> In summary, the concept of joint action allows us to honor the fact
>> that both parties in an interaction are required for there to be an
>> actual effect; it allows us to separate out the different levels of
>> the interaction into appropriate semantic layers; and it allows us to
>> recombine those layers in potentially different ways whilst still
>> achieving the intended real world effects of action in a SOA ecosystem.
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Rex Brooks
President, CEO
Starbourne Communications Design
GeoAddress: 1361-A Addison
Berkeley, CA 94702
Tel: 510-898-0670

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