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canonical

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canonical


  3  definitions  found 
 
  From  WordNet  r  1.6  [wn]: 
 
  canonical 
  adj  1:  appearing  in  a  Biblical  canon;  "a  canonical  book  of  the 
  Christian  New  Testament"  [syn:  {canonic}] 
  2:  of  or  relating  to  or  required  by  canon  law  [syn:  {canonic}] 
  3:  reduced  to  the  simplest  and  most  significant  form  possible 
  without  loss  of  generality;  "a  basic  story  line";  "a 
  canonical  syllable  pattern"  [syn:  {basic},  {canonic}] 
  4:  conforming  to  orthodox  or  recognized  rules  "the  drinking  of 
  cocktails  was  as  canonical  a  rite  as  the  mixing"-  Sinclair 
  Lewis  [syn:  {canonic},  {sanctioned}] 
 
  From  Jargon  File  (4.2.3,  23  NOV  2000)  [jargon]: 
 
  canonical  adj  [very  common;  historically,  `according  to 
  religious  law']  The  usual  or  standard  state  or  manner  of  something 
  This  word  has  a  somewhat  more  technical  meaning  in  mathematics. 
  Two  formulas  such  as  9  +  x  and  x  +  9  are  said  to  be  equivalent  because 
  they  mean  the  same  thing  but  the  second  one  is  in  `canonical  form' 
  because  it  is  written  in  the  usual  way  with  the  highest  power  of  x  first 
  Usually  there  are  fixed  rules  you  can  use  to  decide  whether  something  is 
  in  canonical  form  The  jargon  meaning,  a  relaxation  of  the  technical 
  meaning,  acquired  its  present  loading  in  computer-science  culture 
  largely  through  its  prominence  in  Alonzo  Church's  work  in  computation 
  theory  and  mathematical  logic  (see  {Knights  of  the  Lambda  Calculus}). 
  Compare  {vanilla}. 
 
  Non-technical  academics  do  not  use  the  adjective  `canonical'  in 
  any  of  the  senses  defined  above  with  any  regularity;  they  do  however 
  use  the  nouns  `canon'  and  `canonicity'  (not  **canonicalness  or 
  **canonicality).  The  `canon'  of  a  given  author  is  the  complete  body  of 
  authentic  works  by  that  author  (this  usage  is  familiar  to  Sherlock  Holmes 
  fans  as  well  as  to  literary  scholars).  `_The_  canon'  is  the  body  of 
  works  in  a  given  field  (e.g.,  works  of  literature,  or  of  art,  or  of  music) 
  deemed  worthwhile  for  students  to  study  and  for  scholars  to  investigate. 
 
  The  word  `canon'  has  an  interesting  history.  It  derives 
  ultimately  from  the  Greek  `kanon'  (akin  to  the  English  `cane')  referring 
  to  a  reed.  Reeds  were  used  for  measurement,  and  in  Latin  and  later 
  Greek  the  word  `canon'  meant  a  rule  or  a  standard.  The  establishment 
  of  a  canon  of  scriptures  within  Christianity  was  meant  to  define  a 
  standard  or  a  rule  for  the  religion.  The  above  non-techspeak  academic 
  usages  stem  from  this  instance  of  a  defined  and  accepted  body  of  work 
  Alongside  this  usage  was  the  promulgation  of  `canons'  (`rules')  for  the 
  government  of  the  Catholic  Church.  The  techspeak  usages  ("according  to 
  religious  law")  derive  from  this  use  of  the  Latin  `canon'. 
 
  Hackers  invest  this  term  with  a  playfulness  that  makes  an  ironic 
  contrast  with  its  historical  meaning.  A  true  story:  One  Bob  Sjoberg 
  new  at  the  MIT  AI  Lab,  expressed  some  annoyance  at  the  incessant  use 
  of  jargon.  Over  his  loud  objections,  GLS  and  RMS  made  a  point  of  using 
  as  much  of  it  as  possible  in  his  presence,  and  eventually  it  began  to 
  sink  in  Finally,  in  one  conversation,  he  used  the  word  `canonical' 
  in  jargon-like  fashion  without  thinking.  Steele:  "Aha!  We've  finally 
  got  you  talking  jargon  too!"  Stallman:  "What  did  he  say?"  Steele: 
  "Bob  just  used  `canonical'  in  the  canonical  way." 
 
  Of  course,  canonicality  depends  on  context,  but  it  is  implicitly 
  defined  as  the  way  _hackers_  normally  expect  things  to  be  Thus  a 
  hacker  may  claim  with  a  straight  face  that  `according  to  religious  law' 
  is  _not_  the  canonical  meaning  of  `canonical'. 
 
 
 
  From  The  Free  On-line  Dictionary  of  Computing  (13  Mar  01)  [foldoc]: 
 
  canonical 
 
  (Historically,  "according  to  religious  law") 
 
  1.    A  standard  way  of  writing  a  formula.  Two 
  formulas  such  as  9  +  x  and  x  +  9  are  said  to  be  equivalent 
  because  they  mean  the  same  thing  but  the  second  one  is  in 
  "canonical  form"  because  it  is  written  in  the  usual  way  with 
  the  highest  power  of  x  first  Usually  there  are  fixed  rules 
  you  can  use  to  decide  whether  something  is  in  canonical  form 
  Things  in  canonical  form  are  easier  to  compare. 
 
  2.    The  usual  or  standard  state  or  manner  of 
  something  The  term  acquired  this  meaning  in  computer-science 
  culture  largely  through  its  prominence  in  {Alonzo  Church}'s 
  work  in  computation  theory  and  {mathematical  logic}  (see 
  {Knights  of  the  Lambda-Calculus}). 
 
  Compare  {vanilla}. 
 
  This  word  has  an  interesting  history.  Non-technical  academics 
  do  not  use  the  adjective  canonical"  in  any  of  the  senses 
  defined  above  with  any  regularity;  they  do  however  use  the 
  nouns  canon"  and  canonicity"  (not  "canonicalness"*  or 
  "canonicality"*).  The  canon"  of  a  given  author  is  the 
  complete  body  of  authentic  works  by  that  author  (this  usage  is 
  familiar  to  Sherlock  Holmes  fans  as  well  as  to  literary 
  scholars).  "The  canon"  is  the  body  of  works  in  a  given  field 
  (e.g.  works  of  literature,  or  of  art,  or  of  music)  deemed 
  worthwhile  for  students  to  study  and  for  scholars  to 
  investigate. 
 
  The  word  canon"  derives  ultimately  from  the  Greek  kanon" 
  (akin  to  the  English  "cane")  referring  to  a  reed.  Reeds  were 
  used  for  measurement,  and  in  Latin  and  later  Greek  the  word 
  canon"  meant  a  rule  or  a  standard.  The  establishment  of  a 
  canon  of  scriptures  within  Christianity  was  meant  to  define  a 
  standard  or  a  rule  for  the  religion.  The  above  non-technical 
  academic  usages  stem  from  this  instance  of  a  defined  and 
  accepted  body  of  work  Alongside  this  usage  was  the 
  promulgation  of  canons"  ("rules")  for  the  government  of  the 
  Catholic  Church.  The  usages  relating  to  religious  law  derive 
  from  this  use  of  the  Latin  "canon". 
 
  Hackers  invest  this  term  with  a  playfulness  that  makes  an 
  ironic  contrast  with  its  historical  meaning.  A  true  story: 
  One  Bob  Sjoberg  new  at  the  {MIT}  {AI  Lab},  expressed  some 
  annoyance  at  the  incessant  use  of  jargon.  Over  his  loud 
  objections,  {GLS}  and  {RMS}  made  a  point  of  using  as  much  of 
  it  as  possible  in  his  presence,  and  eventually  it  began  to 
  sink  in  Finally,  in  one  conversation,  he  used  the  word 
  canonical"  in  jargon-like  fashion  without  thinking.  Steele: 
  "Aha!  We've  finally  got  you  talking  jargon  too!"  Stallman: 
  "What  did  he  say?"  Steele:  "Bob  just  used  canonical"  in  the 
  canonical  way." 
 
  Of  course,  canonicality  depends  on  context,  but  it  is 
  implicitly  defined  as  the  way  *hackers*  normally  expect  things 
  to  be  Thus  a  hacker  may  claim  with  a  straight  face  that 
  "according  to  religious  law"  is  *not*  the  canonical  meaning  of 
  "canonical". 
 
  (1994-12-22) 
 
 




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