Chapter 8. Classification: Assigning Resources to Categories

Robert J. Glushko
Jess Hemerly
Vivien Petras
Michael Manoochehri
Longhao Wang
Jordan Shedlock
Daniel Griffin

8.1. Introduction

In Chapter 6 we discussed different types of semantic relationships and contrasted abstract relationships between categories that define a semantic hierarchy like

        Meat  is-a  Food

with concrete relationships involving specific people like members of the Simpson family:

        Homer Simpson  is-a  Husband

When we make an assertion that a particular instance like Homer Simpson is a member of class, we are classifying the instance.

Classification, the systematic assignment of resources to intentional categories, is the focus of this chapter. In Chapter 7, “Categorization: Describing Resource Classes and Types, we described categories created by people as cognitive and linguistic models for applying prior knowledge and we discussed a set of principles for creating categories and category systems. We explained how cultural categories serve as the foundations upon which individual and institutional categories are based. Institutional categories are most often created in abstract and information-intensive domains where unambiguous and precise categories enable classification to be purposeful and principled. Computational categories inherited by supervised learning techniques are usually as interpretable as those created by people, but categories created by unsupervised machine learning techniques ...

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