[Crm-sig] Modelling an Actor carrying out an action at the Behest of Another

Francesco Beretta francesco.beretta at cnrs.fr
Thu Apr 23 01:28:42 EEST 2020

Dear George, Martin, Rob, all

Thank you for this very interesting and relevant discussion which 
definitely belongs to CRMsoc. I'd kindly ask those who can, to create an 
issue in the CRMsoc documentation, with these emails, in order to make 
this discussion more accessible. Also, in my opinion, this rich 
discussion shows the limits of a mailing list: it would be very useful 
to split and regroup the different sub-questions and answers within 
different threads (e.g in a forum) and it takes a lot of time to read 
and reorder all the points of view — in the own mind or on 'paper'. In 
the end, only a few people will have the time and the motivation of 
doing this, while the interest of the issue would deserve discussion by 
a wider community.

This said, I think three different levels appear and are partly mixed 
up: a phenomenal, an epistemological and a technical. And this makes the 
issue even more difficult to solve, at least to the extent that these 
different levels are not differentiated.

On the phenomenal level the question is: what is the modelled phenomenon 
? A personal, time-related quality or skill of the person in charge of 
the activity ? or the fact that he/she acts as representative of an 
institution, as a more general activity ? or with a specific mission in 
this case ? or because he/she is employed by an organization and carries 
out that activity within that framework ? It seems difficult to have a 
unique way of modelling all these different possible aspects of reality.

Also, the perception of them depends on the point of view of the 
observer, as social sciences teach us. Even in natural science, 
objectivity is a matter of convention and the model of reality is only 
one of the possible representations of it, not yet falsified. This is 
even more true for social phenomena, even if one limits oneself to the 
level of pure information. Choosing between phases, time-limited 
qualities of entities or events to model these social facts is therefore 
as much the result of epistemological choices as it is the result of the 
comtemplation of the phenomenal reality as such. Definitely an issue for 
CRMsoc where the epistemological approach should be wider then the one 
in CMRbase. Assuming that the modelled domain is the one of /social/ 
states of affairs.

And finally there is the techical issue. We try to model this complex 
reality, and all these different perspectives, with simple, limited 
constructs like (RDFS) classes and properties, then —given the richness 
of the phenomena— we are obliged to introduce additional constructs, 
such as properties of properties (14.1 etc.), property classes (PC) or 
by splitting events in sub-events through partitioning, which are not 
really specified in the standard, or at least not in a very visible way 
for the community.

During the 12 years of the symogih.org experience 
<http://symogih.org/?q=type-of-knowledge-unit-classes-tree> we had long 
discussions on this issue (without beeing able to really answer it) : 
knowing that a person is involved in an event and has thus a /role/ in 
it, are the aforementioned phenomena characteristic of the person, of 
the role, or of both in the context of that event ? the answer depends 
on the modelled phenomenon and on the point of view of the data producer.

Technically speaking one could express this in (at least) two ways:


<modeling> a Activity ;
     label “modeling activity carried out by George, as a member of Takin> ;
     carried_out_by _[actor-with-contextual-quality]*.

_[actor-with-contextual-quality] has_actor <george> ;
     has_quality <time related skill>**.
     has_motivation <specific mission for this activity>**.
     has_general_activity <more general activity>**.

* blank node
** the corresponding temporal entities, with own properties or (if 
shortcuts and simplifications) the corresponding types


<modeling> a Activity ;
     label “modeling activity carried out by George, as a member of Takin> ;
     carried_out_by* <george>.

carried_out_by* with_the_quality** <time related skill>.
carried_out_by* with_the_motivation** <specific mission for this activity>.
carried_out_by* in_the_contex_of_general_activity** <more general 

* as PC or reified property (I do not use here the usual statement 
construct for reified properties to keep it readable)
** as  property of property

Solution 1. focuses on the quality or mission of the actor but raises 
the question of the identity of the blank node, as stated in the 
previous discussion on this list. A blank node has not a specific 
identity but how are then defined the related properties ?
This approch expresses in a suitable manner the social quality inherent 
to the actor, whether perceived or factual, occurring mainly during the 
activity. It is therefore nearer to reality or, at least, our discourse 
about reality.

Solution 2. emphasizes the importance of the actor's role in the context 
of the action, qualifies and clarifies it. It adopts an existing 
construct (statement reification) but calls for a clearer definition in 
CRM and its model family of the meaning of 'properties of properties' 
and their use. And also: in fact the quality or mission does not belong 
to the role, but to the actor, so this kind of modelling is somewhat 

Both solutions seem to work technically but reveal the difficulty of 
expressing a complex reality and specific points of view with simple 

Best wishes



Dr. habil. Francesco Beretta

Chargé de recherche au CNRS,
Responsable du Pôle histoire numérique,
Laboratoire de recherche historique Rhône-Alpes

14, Avenue Berthelot
69363 LYON CEDEX 07
+ 33 (0)6 51 84 48 84

Le Pôle histoire numérique 
<http://larhra.ish-lyon.cnrs.fr/pole-histoire-numerique> du LARHRA
Le projet dataforhistory.org <http://dataforhistory.org/> – Ontology 
Management Environment OntoME <http://ontome.dataforhistory.org/>
Le projet symogih.org <http://symogih.org/>– SPARQL endpoint 

-------- Message transféré --------
Sujet : 	Re: [Crm-sig] Modelling an Actor carrying out an action at the 
Behest of Another
Date : 	Wed, 22 Apr 2020 22:04:09 +0300
De : 	Martin Doerr <martin at ics.forth.gr>
Pour : 	George Bruseker <george.bruseker at gmail.com>
Copie à : 	crm-sig <crm-sig at ics.forth.gr>

Dear All,

This may find your interest:

F. Steimann. On the representation of roles in object-oriented and 
conceptual modelling.Data& Knowl-edge Engineering35(1): 83–106, 2000.

This is a back ground paper of the current CRMbase approach.

I found these, but have not yet read in detail:


and particularly


  Social Ontology: Collective Intentionality and Group Agents

Raimo Tuomela 
Oxford University Press, 23 Αυγ 2013 - 320 σελίδες
0 Κριτικές 
Social ontology, in its broadest sense, is the study of the nature of 
social reality, including collective intentions and agency. The starting 
point of Tuomela's account of collective intentionality is the 
distinction between thinking and acting as a private person ("I-mode") 
versus as a "we-thinking" group member ("we-mode"). The we-mode approach 
is based on social groups consisting of persons, which may range from 
simple task groups consisting of a few persons to corporations and even 
to political states. Tuomela extends the we-mode notion to cover groups 
controlled by external authority. Thus, for instance, cooperation and 
attitude formation are studied in cases where the participants are 
governed "from above" as in many corporations. The volume goes on to 
present a systematic philosophical theory related to the 
collectivism-versus-individualism debate in the social sciences. A weak 
version of collectivism (the "we-mode" approach) depends on group-based 
collective intentionality. We-mode collective intentionality is not 
individualistically reducible and is needed to complement 
individualistic accounts in social scientific theorizing. The we-mode 
approach is used in the book to account for collective intention and 
action, cooperation, group attitudes, and social practices and 
institutions, as well as group solidarity. Tuomela establishes the first 
complete theory of group reasons (in the sense of members' reasons for 
participation in group activities). The book argues in terms of 
game-theoretical group-reasoning that the kind of weak collectivism that 
the we-mode approach involves is both conceptually and 
rational-functionally different from what an individualistic approach 
("pro-group I-mode" approach) entails.

  Dr. Martin Doerr
  Honorary Head of the
  Center for Cultural Informatics
  Information Systems Laboratory
  Institute of Computer Science
  Foundation for Research and Technology - Hellas (FORTH)
  N.Plastira 100, Vassilika Vouton,
  GR70013 Heraklion,Crete,Greece
  Email:martin at ics.forth.gr   

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