[rdfweb-dev] Relationship Schema Updated

Ian Davis iand at internetalchemy.org
Sun Mar 14 12:28:32 UTC 2004

Hi Michael,

On Sunday, March 14, 2004, 9:08:41 AM, Michael Bauser wrote:

> I *think* you're thinking that an intersection of foaf:gender and
> /rel:(child|parent|sibling|spouse)Of/ are enough to identify someone's
> role, like "husband" or "wife". There are at least Three Problems that
> prove this won't work:
I think morten was suggesting that a combination of parentOf and
gender=male was enough to state the following and no more: the person
is male and the parent of someone else. I really don't think you can
infer more than that, to do so introduces cultural assumptions on your

There's no reason to confuse gender with role in marriage. I'll stick
my neck out and suggest that a marriage involves at least two
participants by definition. What is required beyond that?

> (Is this getting weird enough for everybody yet?)
Not particularly, why?

> It's not about gender, it's about lineages and social roles. spouseOf,
> childOf, siblingOf, and parentOf just don't make the grade, because
> there inability to anchor someone's position in a lineage prevents them
> from describing real roles in real social networks.
Your conclusion doesn't follow from the premises of your argument.
spouse, child, sibling and parent are specifically non gender. Lineage
is a small part of describing relationships.

> Kinship is not a trivial aspect of social networks. In fact, kinship
> networks are the only social networks that are universal. Every human
> society recognizes some form of kinship (and the eight basic kinship
> relationships), and every human being has kin. We can't even *pretend*
> FOAF is good for describing social networks unless there's a compatible
> vocabulary that has the key kinship relationships locked down.
I suggest to you that there are social networks that are universal other
than kinship. For example, coalitions is one of Brown's Human
Universals (see
http://condor.depaul.edu/~mfiddler/hyphen/humunivers.htm for one


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