Representing Roles and Purpose

Reference: J. Fan, K. Barker, B. Porter, P. Clark. Representing Roles and Purpose. To appear in Proc 1st Int Conf on Knowledge Capture (K-Cap'01), 2001.

Abstract: Ontology designers often distinguish Entities (things that are) from Events (things that happen). It is not obvious how this division admits Roles (things that are, but only in the context of things that happen). For example, Person might be considered an Entity, while Employee is a Role. A Person remains a Person independent of the Events in which he participates. Someone is an Employee only by virtue of participating in an Employment Event. The problem of how to represent Roles is not new, but there is little consensus on a solution. In this paper, we present an ontology that finds a place for Roles as well as a representation that allows Roles to be related to Entities and Events to express the teleological notion of purpose.