|From:||Gary Berg-Cross <gbergcross@xxxxxxxxx>|
|Date:||Fri, 23 Aug 2013 08:54:44 -0400|
We’ve had numerous discussions about taxonomies on this forum. A recent one was around “Taxonomies, cuts, and the decimal system.” As part of this William Frank made some comments on different “orthogonal taxonomies, or classification schemes, for different families of concepts.” William went on to note that:
Combinations of classifiers that are part of orthogonal classification schemes need to be accommodated in a different manner (most effectively, in my experience, through composition, but most commonly through "multiple inheritance" (but me, I do not know what "inheritance" means, except in biology and in class-oriented programming languages -- ((though I used to know, before I thought about it much)).
I was reminded of the issue of taxonomic understanding reading a review of the DSM-5: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders,(Fifth Edition by the American Psychiatric Association) written by Ian Hacking. It appears in the London Review of Books and was called “Lost in the Forest.”
After discussing the history of the DSM and describing the efforts to revise it, Hacking makes his most critical comments on what he describes as its mis-application of classification schemes from Biology to mental illness. He stated it this way (note - NOS, stands for Not Otherwise Specified):
“There have been many systems for classifying mental illness since then, but all seem to me to be on the botanical model, and that has been their fatal flaw. Many other kinds of illness are very like plants, and can be uniquely characterised, as Kraepelin tried to do, by a distinctive pattern of symptoms when a cause is not yet known. We don’t use NOS in the rest of medicine, and we do not have much systematic comorbidity. Perhaps in the end the DSM will be regarded as a reductio ad absurdum of the botanical project in the field of insanity. I do not say this because I believe that most psychiatry will, some day, be reduced to neuroscience, biochemistry and genetics. I take no stance on that here. The NIMH said it would stop using DSM because it lacked ‘validity’. In fact the DSM-5 has made a great effort to make sure it meets the criteria for what it sees as validity. That is not my problem. I am making a claim grounded more on logic than on medicine. Sauvages’s dream of classifying mental illness on the model of botany was just as misguided as the plan to classify the chemical elements on the model of botany. There is an amazingly deep organisation of the elements – the periodic table – but it is quite unlike the organisation of plants, which arises ultimately from descent. Linnaean tables of elements (there were plenty) did not represent nature.”
I think this idea of alternate, deep organization schemes within different domains is an important thing to consider when we try to build ontologies of them. Of course this makes backbone organization of domains a bit more challenging unless we have some grounds for the deep organizational principles in a domain. With mental illness we do not have an agreed upon model.
Gary Berg-Cross, Ph.D.
NSF INTEROP Project
SOCoP Executive Secretary
On Thu, Aug 22, 2013 at 2:26 PM, John F Sowa <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
Bitext is an abbreviation for "bilingual text". That is the basis
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