A Crash Course in Metaphysics for the Database Designer

A Crash Course in Metaphysics for the Database Designer

John M. Artz (George Washington University, USA)
Copyright: © 1997 |Pages: 6
DOI: 10.4018/jdm.1997100103
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Abstract

Information modeling is the first stage of database design. The central problem in information modeling is the identification of the proper set of objects to be included in the model. The wrong set of objects can lead to data integrity problems and incorrect information being delivered to unwitting users. A subtle but important point is that the information model represents object classes which are groupings of objects with similar characteristics. At the heart of the problem of identifying object classes is the question “Do object classes exist in the world waiting to be discovered by the information modeler, or are they constructed by the modeler based on abstractions drawn from the application domain?” Although most modeling approaches implicitly assume that object classes do exist, an analysis of the opinions of several major western philosophers from Plato to Wittgenstein suggest that this assumption may be flawed. If this is the case, the practice of information modeling changes dramatically.

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