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Re: [ontolog-forum] is-part-of: a really, really, bad practice?

To: ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
From: John F Sowa <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sun, 19 May 2013 23:30:06 -0400
Message-id: <519998BE.3020302@xxxxxxxxxxx>
On 5/19/2013 5:17 PM, jmcclure@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx wrote:
> I argue the industry badly needs consensus about the best practice
> for how attributes/relations are to be named.    (01)

My recommendation is to use the most common phrase in ordinary language.    (02)

> in "old style" systems these names are nouns, perhaps qualified nouns;
> in "new style" systems these names are, uh, something other than a noun.    (03)

In ordinary English, it's common practice is to represent relations
with nouns.  The syntax of English and other languages allows verbs
and adjectives to be *nominalized* in order to refer to the relations:    (04)

"The Romans destroyed Carthage in 146 BC"  =>
     "The destruction of Carthage by the Romans in 146 BC"    (05)

"The book is easy to read" =>
     "The ease of reading the book"    (06)

For words like part and family relations like mother, child, sibling,
uncle, etc., there are no obvious verbs.  It's more convenient to use
noun + 'of'.  In fact, English syntax makes it easy to switch 'of'
to 'has' in order to form inverses:    (07)

"X is the father of Y"  =>  "Y has a father X"  (or has X as father).    (08)

"X is a part of Y"  =>  "Y has a part X"    (09)

The nominal form is easy to modify as needed:    (010)

"X is a proper part of Y"  =>  "Y has a proper part X"    (011)

"X is an only child of Y and Z"  =>  "Y and Z have an only child X"    (012)

This seems like a good argument for using nouns to name relations.    (013)

John    (014)

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