[rdfweb-dev] Another relationships proposal

Ian Davis iand at internetalchemy.org
Fri Mar 19 23:00:01 UTC 2004

On Friday, March 19, 2004, 8:58:57 PM, David Menendez wrote:
> True, but the vocabulary is merely asserting the existence of a
> relationship (and again, { A ancestor B } means "B is an ancestor of A
> according to the rules A uses"). I think that even the most patrilineal
> society would accept that people *have* maternal grandmothers, even if
> they aren't important in terms of inheritance.

> That is to say, if I say { A ancestor B }, I'm claiming that there is
> *some* line of descent from B to A.
I don't think I expressed my point very clearly. What I meant to say
was that I though the parent/ancestor subclass/superclass relationship
was not universally shared. See my follow up message where I move
ancestor to be a peer class of parent.

I think there is another problem with your proposal (and I think this
is part of Michael's argument). You define mother to be "whatever
mother means in the culture of the subject". In some cultures the
sisters of the biological mother are also called mothers. Under your
proposal (and the current relationship vocab) there is no way to
distinguish the two because don't know the culture of the subject.

Is this important? I've worked under the assumption that it is not. If
I want to query for all mothers then I shouldn't be surprised to find
more than one mother per person on average. If all those returned are
considered to be mothers by the subject then that's fine and we
shouldn't argue with that. Where it causes problems is if the enquirer
expects the results to conform to their personal cultural rules.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Family provides some good background on
these issues, particularly

This suggests another way to model this:

rel:Family a owl:Class
  rdfs:subClassOf rel:Relationship .

rel:family a rdf:Property
  rdfs:domain foaf:Person ;
  rdfs:range rel:Family .

_:ian a foaf:Person
  rel:family [
    rel:mother _:mum ;
    rel:father _:dad ;
    rel:son  _:boy ;
    rel:son  _:ian ;
    rel:daughter _:girl ] .

Here the relationships are not to the subject _:ian but to the family
unit. This is a strawman easily demolished but it might shed light on
other models.

> I don't think those quite capture the meaning I was thinking of.
> Basically, it would be convenient to say { A father B; biologicalParent
> B. } in one triple. { A genitor B. } implies { A biologicalParent B. },
> but not { A father B }.

I don't know if there is such a term. I guess
biologicalFather/bioligicalMother are the obvious ones.


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