December 27, 2006

Concept Categorisation

Categorisation of concepts may be the stumbling block of the successful conceptionary: as it is supposed to be 'universally available' to all users, the use of any categorisation system may provide a cultural bias that is not understood by all users. For example: the categories Basic, Academic, Commercial, Historical and Fiction might provide a useful starting point for categorisation, but what would these mean to a farmer from central Africa?

These terms (the example categories) are themselves 'concepts' that are familiar to many cultures, but not completely universal.

The categorisation may be more appropriately based upon the level of complexity of the concept. The level of complexity may be measured as the number, (or depth), of other concepts it depends upon. For example: the colour red may only have the concept of 'colour' underlying it, in which case 'red' is relatively simple as a concept. However, if 'red' is dependent upon a 'vertical stack' of concepts (such as: colour, light, frequency, velocity, amplitude, wave, photon, particle, mass, quanta, energy) then the concept may said to have a high level of complexity and require prior knowledge of the lesser/component concepts.

The 'categorisation of concepts' by 'concept dependency' may be eliminated (due to the possibility of circular relationships) and, instead, 'links' between the concepts and their human representations may be limited to certain 'types'.

'Language' provides an obvious link between concept and the words used for it by different people in different places and times in history. 'Examples of Use' would extend this for clarity in each language. Where 'Literature' may further extend the link to places where to concept is used exhaustively, or interestingly, in existing written documents (or film/theatre/media). It is possible to provide audio examples of use, (video for sign languages, for the deaf), phonetic and metadata for speech recognition systems such as Professor David Hill's conceptionary (Section 1.3) was collated for.

'Culture' provides a link to explain how a common concept is treated differently by different people. Examples: god, law, property, freedom. 'Culture' may be extended by 'Geography', 'Politics', 'Art' and 'History'.

'Technical' may provide the path to more complex human understanding of a single concept, by extending through to 'Science' and further to specific definitions by the various academic communities who use the same concept in different environments (and often in different ways). As well as Science, other specialisations may be linked, such as 'Commercial', 'Industrial', 'Agricultural', 'Domestic' ...

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