The Role of Identity Conditions in Ontology Design

Nicola Guarino

Current ontologies’ upper-level taxonomic structure is often quite complicated and hard to understand. In this paper I show how the the oretical too ls of so-called Formal Ontology, and especially the theory of identity, can help to formulate cleaner, more general, more rigorous, and more understandable upper-level ontologies. I focus in particular ar on some examples of multiple gen erali zatio n, pro posing a way of simplify ing the domain stucture by splitting some concepts according to different identity conditions, or by excluding them because of their limited organizational role.

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