[rdfweb-dev] Relationship Schema Updated

Richard Lennox listserve at richardlennox.net
Fri Mar 19 22:44:10 UTC 2004

Actually to take a definition from www.dictionary.com gender is:
  1.. Grammar.
    1.. A grammatical category used in the classification of nouns,
pronouns, adjectives, and, in some languages, verbs that may be arbitrary or
based on characteristics such as sex or animacy and that determines
agreement with or selection of modifiers, referents, or grammatical forms.
    2.. One category of such a set.
    3.. The classification of a word or grammatical form in such a category.
    4.. The distinguishing form or forms used.
  2.. Sexual identity, especially in relation to society or culture.
    1.. The condition of being female or male; sex.
    2.. Females or males considered as a group: expressions used by one
I do not interpret any of these as "role" and believe you are mistaken in
the belief that the general population understand the word gender as a role.
What has the Supreme Court got to do with anything that is designed to be
global??  In the "Queen's" English, gender is the same as saying sex  of a
person (as was taught right throughout education).

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Michael Bauser" <michael at bauser.com>
To: <rdfweb-dev at vapours.rdfweb.org>
Sent: Friday, March 19, 2004 4:30 AM
Subject: Re: [rdfweb-dev] Relationship Schema Updated

> Hash: SHA1
> Richard Lennox wrote:
> > Ok Im pretty new to this but will throw my opinion into the pot.
> > Firstly, is it not enough to just say spouseOf? There is no indication
> > of wife or husband just that  X is the spouse Of Y.  In todays
> > societies there is no reason as to why gender should come into this
> > relationship at all. Gender describes the person not the
> > realationship.
> Actually, "sex" describes the person. "Gender" describes a role. The two
> became confused because Supreme Court Justices didn't like using the
> word "sex" in their opinions.

I think you were discussing points of husband and wife and accepting these
roles in marriage, I was pointing out that there is little use in discussing
roles within a marriage because in todays (Western even?!) society these
roles are almost nonexistent.

> > The point regarding male-roles and female-roles in the relationship -
> > maybe 50yrs ago there were defined roles but not today.
> Um, I think that was my point, too. I think you're seeing a moral
> judgement where there's just meant to be data. (And perhaps making a
> moral judgement of your own, about what it means to recognize a

First they do match because they are translations.  Where familay siides are
to be indicated in Englis paternal or maternal are used.  In society (as
wiht other such things) this is normally irrelevant to most contexts so it
is dropped.

> I'm not advocating things like "mother" and "father" as designations of
> anatomy, or even social duties. (RDF doesn't care who does the
> housework, I hope.) "mother" and "father" here are coordinates in a
> social network that are used *with* other descriptive data (cultural
> background, bloodline, and temporal data, mostly) to infer social
> information. (If for some reason you needed to write a vocabulary that
> says "only mothers cook dinner", go for it. Just keep that out of the
> base data.) Take, for instance, the relatively trivial example of
> "inferring what words I use to describe my relatives". Here are some my
> first- and second-degree kin, along with the English terms I use to
> describe them:
> Debra mother
> Gail aunt
> Heather cousin
> James uncle
> Jeff cousin
> Kristin cousin
> Linda aunt
> Matthew cousin
> Michael father
> Raquel cousin
> Robert cousin
> You get, I get it, everyone here gets it. OK. Now, if for some reason,
> you thought I was one of the Grand Valley Dani of New Guinea:
> Debra akoja
> Gail he opaije
> Heather akosa
> James ami
> Jeff ejak
> Kristin ejak
> Linda akoja
> Matthew oe
> Michael opaije
> Raquel oe etu
> Robert ami
> See that lack of one-to-one correlation? That's because English kinship
> terms are actually atypical in how little information they use. It's
> unusual (in the overall scheme of things) that the English system
> doesn't care what "side of the family" my kin is on: most systems
> distinguish between the two sides for at least some kin terms. (If you
> had more data about how I'm related to my aunts and uncles, for example,
> you might see how the Dani system makes different distinctions for
> male-male-male connections (generation is more important than sex)
> than it does about female-male-male connections (sex is more
> important than generation), and that might even lead you to some
> insights about how the Dani trace lineages. Kinship is about the *path*
> from relative to relative, which in the case of the Dani, is
> anatomy-influenced, because Dani kinship doesn't acknowledge
> gender-changes. In the case of Nuer, and apparently the family of
> everybody on this list, it's not always anatomy-influenced because they
> *do* recognize gender change.)
> And that's the *trivial* example. In more elaborate scenarios, those
> paths provide guidlines for things like who to invite to my wedding or
> funeral. That's interesting data, and it might even be useful to any
> Dani members who are planning my funeral.
> And again, while many societies define "side" by anatomy, not all of
> them do. Even the societies that remove anatomy as a qualification for
> "motherhood" or "fatherhood" recognize the difference between "mother"
> and "father" *because* they need it as part of the coordinates in a
> kinship network. The problem with the proposed relationship vocabulary
> is that it *intentionally* throws away data relevent to *more than half*
> the people in the world *without* admitting its biased. "Generic
> parents" break most kinship systems. It's a very biased vocabulary that
> will make it harder for people in different societies to understand each
> others' data.

Fair enough but why genitals why not foaf:birth_gender ?? You must have been
either male or female to parent a child biologically.  Surely it must be
recognised that if a man fathered a child, then decided to not be a male
person, and is to be recognised as a parent of said child, it must be
recognised that he was male at the time of fathering said child.  (In the
extreme case, where the child is fathered (excuse me if this is not p.c.)
pre-op but while the father wishes to be recoginsed as something other than
a male this should still be recognised as male at the conception.
biological fact no?!

> > Other relationships can be inferred through logic.  parentOf for
> > example, gender specifies that the person is either father or mother,
> > despite the practical parental role played in the childs life.
> You missed that foaf:gender is not limited to male/female. If you want
> FOAF to describe anatomical sex, then somebody has to propose
> "foaf:genitals". I'm not ready to do that.
> > For example, scientifically at this point in time
> "this point in time"? Ouch. We're back to cultural biases. I'm trying to
> advocate a vocabulary that's flexible enough to store data about social
> networks past, present, *and* future. If you're thinking we only have to
> describe what "we" do "now", you're letting a subtle cultural bias lead
> to a bad design decision: You're advocating a fragile standard that you
> *know* will eventually break.
> Also, anthropology *is* a science.
> > Women cannot be fathers (maybe with gene work in the future but there
> > would need to be great social change).
> We're mixing up two things here: *kinship* is the description of social
> relationships; *pedigree* is the description of biological
> relationships. My concern has been primarly about the social network
> (which is why I didn't originally propose any distinctions between
> "biological father" and "adoptive father", but I see now that won't
> quite work for the masses). When it comes to describing social networks,
> it come down to this: If I ask somebody "Who is your father?" and they
> point to someone I'm *sure* is a woman, it doesn't mean that woman isn't
> a father; it means that the person I asked a question of doesn't require
> fathers to have penises.
> If you want to describe a *biological* network of pedigree-relations,
> you either need a separate vocabulary, or an additional property (I'm
> now leaning towards biological/marriage/other as a second relationship
> property to be used *with* the eight relationships, as I explain in my
> reply to Jim.)
> (A "pedigree vocabulary" would probably be even smaller than a kinship
> vocabulary, since spouse/husband/wife isn't really relevant. It will
> eventually need a relationship for "clone", though.)
> > Somewhat different point: should there not be something to say while
> > not biologically parentOf, parentOf in the case of adoption.
> Probably, but the other vocabulary refuses to deal with that, too. I
> *believe* it can be handled (without too much difficulty) by using the
> second property, and/or a reference to a life event (for instance if the
> FOAF file includes a description of an "adoption event", any foaf:Person
> linked to that event would presumably be the adoptor or the adoptee.)
> Using a few good events is requires less new vocabulary than creating
> kin:adoptiveFather, kin:adoptiveMother, kin:adoptiveBrother, and so on.
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