Is 'everything' a refrence or isn't it?

Donn Cave donn at
Tue Jan 10 15:37:33 EST 2006

In article <1136858652.907049.120600 at>,
 rurpy at wrote:

> "Donn Cave" <donn at> wrote in message
> news:1136792417.696119 at
> > So you've had time to think about how you would define value, in a
> > few words.  Any ideas?
> Not yet.  The reason is that I am still trying to figure out
> what a value is myself.  Do all objects have values?  If
> not which do and which don't?  What's the value of int(1)?
> An object?  Some otherwise unreachable thing that
> represents the abstract concept of the number 1?
> What the value of object()?  A few weeks ago I turned
> to that page for enlightenment, with the results I reported.
> > I find the topic difficult, myself.  I think you really have to apply
> > some context to the question, so there may not be any satisfactory
> > definition for the language reference.
> I have a hard time accepting that.  I do not think there
> is any aspect of human thought that cannot be described
> by a sufficiently skilled writer.

But you're asking for more than that.  We're not just talking
about how people think about value, you want a definition that's
suitable for a language reference.  Whereupon you would indeed
run into the kinds of questions you pose above, and more.

> > But maybe it would be simple with the right focus.  If we could somehow
> > define value, how would that help?  I mean, presumably we need to
> > understand all this stuff because we want to write some software, and
> > if we dive in without understanding, our attempts will be plagued with
> > conceptual errors.  Is there something about value in particular that
> > seems to be a problem here?  ``No, you idiot, that's not a value -
> > THIS is a value!''
> Yes, see above.  How can you feel confident working with
> things that aren't understood?  (c.f. this thead about
> problems resulting from python beginner's misconceptions
> about references.)

I'm saying that the definition of value doesn't contribute to
my understanding of my work.  I guess we might say that the
whole point of a computer programming language is a mechanism
for the representation and manipulation of values, and our
task is to understand the mechanism enough to work with it.
That's what the language reference is for.

   Donn Cave, donn at

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