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Re: [ontolog-forum] (OT) German and "mother-like-ness"

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Ed Barkmeyer <edbark@xxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 08 Jan 2008 18:55:43 -0500
Message-id: <47840D7F.2090104@xxxxxxxx>
Duane Nickull wrote:
>> Stavros Macrakis wrote:
>>> Let me try to save this discussion from utter triviality.
>>> Lakoff has pointed out the centrality of metaphor, analogy, and graded
>>> categories in natural language, contrasting them with the property-based
>>> strict categories of Aristotle.  The female biological and genetic parent
>>> who lives with and cares for a child, is its legal parent, and is married to
>>> and lives with and its biological and genetic father is certainly a "mother"
>>> in every traditional way, ...
>>> How to treat these in an ontology?
>>> -- with exceptions?  "A foster mother is a mother except that ...."    (01)

> DN: Since you have already defined a mother as a "biological and genetic
> parent..." then according to your definition, a foster mother (might not be)
> an instance of mother (it depends if she has born another child).    (02)

Perhaps my reading of Stavros' English has the same problems as John's 
read of Kant.  I didn't see Stavros' list of characteristics as a 
definition.  What he said was that that set of characteristics is more 
than sufficient.  The ontological question is:  Which ones are 
*necessary*?  And from whose perspective?    (03)

> DN: according to the above, mother and foster mother are disjoint as one is
> a biological parent and one is not.  This truly distinguishes them from each
> other.    (04)

And this is precisely the kind of attitude that makes biologists quail 
(yet another animal) when we talk about ontologies based on formal 
logics.  "biological parent" is key to some perspectives, but not 
others, and none of them has exclusive use of the term "mother".    (05)

-Ed    (06)

Edward J. Barkmeyer                        Email: edbark@xxxxxxxx
National Institute of Standards & Technology
Manufacturing Systems Integration Division
100 Bureau Drive, Stop 8263                Tel: +1 301-975-3528
Gaithersburg, MD 20899-8263                FAX: +1 301-975-4694    (07)

"The opinions expressed above do not reflect consensus of NIST,
  and have not been reviewed by any Government authority."    (08)

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