As we saw in earlier chapters on frames and description logics, when we think about the world in an object-centered way we inevitably end up thinking in terms of hierarchies or taxonomies. This reflects the importance of abstraction, classification, and generalization in the enterprise of knowledge representation. Groups of things in the world naturally share properties, and we talk about them most concisely using words for abstractions like “furniture” or “situation comedy” or “seafood.” Further, hierarchies allow us to avoid repeating representations—it is sufficient to say that “elephants are mammals” to immediately know a great deal about them. Taxonomies of kinds of objects are so fundamental to our thinking about ...

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