What's a part? On formalizing part-whole relations
This paper deals with commonsense understanding of part-whole relations. A unifying definition for the different kinds of parts is proposed for one domain, that of rigid, man-made objects. First, the representation of objects via basic dimensions, reference systems and attributes is described. Then, different kinds of parts, based on the classification of Gerstl and Pribbenow (1996), are examined. Several problems with the seemingly uncomplicated notion of “part” are discussed. Modifying the representation of objects makes it possible to give one single definition of “a part P of an object O”.
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