Ontologies, Mental Disorders and Prototypes

  • Maria Cristina AmorettiEmail author
  • Marcello Frixione
  • Antonio Lieto
  • Greta Adamo
Part of the Philosophical Studies Series book series (PSSP, volume 134)


As it emerged from philosophical analyses and cognitive research, most concepts exhibit typicality effects, and resist to the efforts of defining them in terms of necessary and sufficient conditions. This holds also in the case of many medical concepts. This is a problem for the design of computer science ontologies, since knowledge representation formalisms commonly adopted in this field (such as, in the first place, the Web Ontology Language – OWL) do not allow for the representation of concepts in terms of typical traits. However, the need of representing concepts in terms of typical traits concerns almost every domain of real world knowledge, including medical domains. In particular, in this article we take into account the domain of mental disorders, starting from the DSM-5 descriptions of some specific mental disorders. On this respect, we favor a hybrid approach to the representation of psychiatric concepts, in which ontology oriented formalisms are combined to a geometric representation of knowledge based on conceptual spaces.


Representation of concepts Formal ontologies Conceptual spaces Medical ontologies Mental disorders DSM-5 Prototypes Exemplars 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maria Cristina Amoretti
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Marcello Frixione
    • 1
    • 2
  • Antonio Lieto
    • 3
    • 4
  • Greta Adamo
    • 5
    • 6
  1. 1.DAFIST, Philosophy SectionUniversity of GenoaGenoaItaly
  2. 2.Center for the Philosophy of Health and DiseaseGenoaItaly
  3. 3.Department of Computer ScienceUniversity of TurinTurinItaly
  4. 4.ICAR-CNRPalermoItaly
  5. 5.Bruno Kessler FoundationTrentoItaly
  6. 6.DIBRISUniversity of GenoaGenoaItaly

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