The purpose of the Model Challenge problems is to assess the capability of modeling languages and/or logics to represent various constructions which occur in a variety of conceptual modeling disciplines. The first several challenges are concerned with what is called composite structures (See Cory’s site). In the marriage example the composite structure is the husband and wife components of the marriage and the spousal relationship. Again the problem is to create model which describes one or more marriages. The modeling quality evaluation is precision: are non-intended models are excluded. This requires that the language have some implicit or explicit notion of semantics. This problem is simplified to only be concerned with the static case. Later temporal aspects will be investigated.
If no one else does I will likely provide examples in SysML, OWL, and FOL. Each of these languages has pluses and minuses for this problem. The intent for the challenge is to analyze the effectiveness of the languages and do comparisons. The result will help inform the OMG group which is attempting to define a precise semantics for composite structures.
From: ontology-summit-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:ontology-summit-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Cory Casanave
Sent: Wednesday, May 02, 2012 6:32 PM
To: Ontology Summit 2012 discussion
Subject: Re: [ontology-summit] First Model Bench Challenge
The actual purpose of the example was to demonstrate composite concepts – i.e. that the concept of “spouse” is meaningful within the context of marriage. However we could assume that the further purpose is to define common concept to allow information federation regarding marriages, spouses and such.
Your premise is that it is “rarely feasible” to have such a model without s specific purpose (i.e. system?) in mind. Yet, one of the fundamentally purposes of federation is to correlate information from independently conceived systems. If there are no concepts shared beyond those “designed in” then no communication between or involving such systems is possible.
The complexities of how various institutions decide to classify marriage is interesting but, to my mind, not that relevant. If we over axiomatize concepts they are never correct. A federation model should seek to say as little as possible about a concept to define it (specializations of that concept may then add more details – such as common law marriage in Virginia). The details of why certain individuals or institutions may or may not consider certain individuals to be in a state of marriage is less important than they do. For example, if I were asking for a list of marriages across a collection of jurisdictions, I will get a set. How they derived each subset is their business – what we would like is for the general definition to be compatible with whatever policies each jurisdiction imposes. What jurisdictions we “trust” is another matter.
I know this flies in the face of some peoples ontological principles, in that we may not know the differentia for marriage even if we have a well-defined and identifiable concept. However, in real practice the concept does exist and is in regular use in some form that allows us to communicate beyond the scope of a designed system.
I'm going to answer this, in part because it is interesting, and in part because it illustrates why I generally don't respond to this sort of group attempt to formulate a generally good ontology of (x), when neither Subject Matter Experts nor readily researchable use cases are involved. I think the attempt is rarely feasible, and usually involves a wrong methodology for applied computational ontology development. Just about every subject is much more complex than expected, and more contextual, when you actually get into it. In practice, working ontologists do (or should, as a rule) determine how detailed and complex the model needs to be, and with respect to what, with reference to intended scope: what does this model need to support (including potential for reuse/extension)? What assumptions of the use context should be made explicit and then used to bound the model? If we have no such reference, the exercise is endless. If we have one but have no experts, we are modeling what we, professional ontologists but amateurs in the area of concern think about it, not the reality or practice.
In this case, I'm not an expert, not a lawyer, etc... but may have above average knowledge for the group, since I have some relevant practical experience, requiring getting to know several states' laws regarding common-law marriage and also its treatment by, for example, health insurance providers and the IRS.
Common-law marriage is governed by law, but different jurisdictions set the specifications differently (or do not recognize common-law marriages at all). The treatment is, in fact, often unclear.
Let clause(a) = "P1 and P2 are competent adults, as defined in the state of jurisdiction"
Let clause(b) = "P1 and P2 are competent adults, as defined in the state of jurisdiction, and exactly one of P1 and P2 is male and exactly one of P1 and P2 is female, as defined in the state of jurisdiction"
Note that legal competence and legal gender each may change over time, and it can therefore be the case that while the length of cohabitation of P1 and P2 is known, either the competence or the legal gender of P1 or P2 may change during that cohabitation and by doing so cause P1 and P2 to satisfy clause(a) or clause(b) when they did not before, and the date of the change may be unclear under the law in the state of jurisdiction
Most states in the US that have common-law marriage currently have something based on clause (b), but not all do.
Here, are some examples of different U.S. State treatments:
(1a, 1b) If [clause(a)|clause(b)], and P1 and P2 live together for >=n years, then P1 and P2 are entitled to be treated as married by the state, should they request such treatment.
(2a, 2b) If [clause(a)|clause(b)], and P1 and P2 live together for >n years, then P1 and P2 are married in the eyes of the state, and if there is a separation, division of property, or subsequent marriage of either P1 or P2 to another party, laws governing divorce apply.
(3a, 3b) If [clause(a)|clause(b)], and P1 and P2 live together currently and represent themselves as married to the community, then P1 and P2 are married in the eyes of the state. [No minimum time requirement]
(4) There is no common-law marriage, but a common-law marriage established in another jurisdiction will be recognized if it was recognized by that jurisdictions while the parties lived in that jurisdiction. If it satisfied the law of that jurisdiction but was not formally recognized by that jurisdiction, it will not be recognized [due to the difficulties of one jurisdiction's authorities deciding on the satisfaction of another jurisdiction's laws].
(5) There is no common-law marriage, and a common-law marriage established in another jurisdiction, even if recognized formally by that jurisdiction and other authorities such as the US Federal Govt, will not be recognized if there is anything unclear or inconsistent with this jurisdictions laws.
(3b) is the case Texas, by the way. That one is perhaps the most fascinating, because under it standard conditions, saying you're married makes it true. A speech act, indeed!
The US Govt will recognize a common-law marriage based on (3b), e.g. for tax purposes, if the representation is performed via some witnessed, notarized document, but may date the marriage as beginning at some prior time.
(5) is the case in Virginia, according to several Virginia family law experts/practitioners of my acquaintance, Virginia courts will look for a way to decline to recognize common-law marriages whenever possible.
In the case which gave rise to my awareness of these issues, a common-law marriage was established in Texas (3b), recognized by the US Federal Govt and various other entities, redundantly re-established via civil ceremony in Massachusetts in a later year, then dissolved in Virginia. The Virginia experts representing the parties to the case were not in broad agreement, but did agree that the case ought to proceed using the date of the later Massachusetts ceremony, not the date of the Texas recognition. One reason was the risk of having to start over if the court simply refused to recognize the Texas marriage. The primary reason, however, was that none of these experts felt that they could establish a challenge-resistant start date for the Texas marriage! So it was, in their view, entirely unclear, despite its being governed by law, perhaps partly because of its government by too many laws!
So, on the specific point, the start of the situation can indeed be unclear. And on the general point, even the most basic structure of the situation and the event vary, even if we are considering only the legal concepts and not the religious or other cultural concepts, and to represent any of them adequately for any use, you probably need to have some expert resources.
On Wed, May 2, 2012 at 4:52 PM, Wartik, Steven P "Steve" <swartik@xxxxxxx> wrote:
I wouldn't say it's unclear. It's governed by law, right? If you live together for some number of years, you are entitled to have the state recognize you as married. The date and time may not be as precise as if you have a wedding ceremony but can nevertheless be established. (Okay, I'm not a lawyer, and that's probably not the exact legal definition.)