Representing and reasoning over a taxonomy of part-whole relations
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Many types of part-whole relations have been proposed in the literature to aid the conceptual modeller to choose the most appropriate type, but many of those relations lack a formal specification to give clear and unambiguous semantics to them. To remedy this, a formal taxonomy of types of mereological and meronymic part-whole relations is presented that distinguishes between transitive and intransitive relations and the kind of entity types that are related. The demand to use it effectively brings afore new requirements for automated reasoning over a hierarchy of relations. To ensure logically and ontologically correct inferencing over both the class and role hierarchy, the new reasoning service RBox compatibility for Description Logics reasoners is introduced. The proposed combination of formal semantics and the new reasoning service will improve the representation of the application domain when using part-whole relations in conceptual models and ontologies.