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  1. The Transcendentist Theory of Persistence.Damiano Costa - 2017 - Journal of Philosophy 114 (2):57-75.
    This paper develops an endurantist theory of persistence. The theory is built around one basic tenet, which concerns existence at a time – the relation between an object and the times at which that object is present. According to this tenet, which I call transcendentism, for an object to exist at a time is for it to participate in events that are located at that time. I argue that transcendentism is a semantically grounded and metaphysically fruitful. It is semantically grounded, (...)
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  • Ontology with Human Subjects Testing: An Empirical Investigation of Geographic Categories.Barry Smith & David M. Mark - 1998 - American Journal of Economics and Sociology 58 (2):245–272.
    Ontology, since Aristotle, has been conceived as a sort of highly general physics, a science of the types of entities in reality, of the objects, properties, categories and relations which make up the world. At the same time ontology has been for some two thousand years a speculative enterprise. It has rested methodologically on introspection and on the construction and analysis of elaborate world-models and of abstract formal-ontological theories. In the work of Quine and others this ontological theorizing in abstract (...)
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  • Parts, Wholes, and Part-Whole Relations: The Prospects of Mereotopology.Achille C. Varzi - 1996 - Data and Knowledge Engineering 20:259–286.
    We can see mereology as a theory of parthood and topology as a theory of wholeness. How can these be combined to obtain a unified theory of parts and wholes? This paper examines various non-equivalent ways of pursuing this task, with specific reference to its relevance to spatio-temporal reasoning. In particular, three main strategies are compared: (i) mereology and topology as two independent (though mutually related) chapters; (ii) mereology as a general theory subsuming topology; (iii) topology as a general theory (...)
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  • Ontology and Geographic Objects: An Empirical Study of Cognitive Categorization.David M. Mark, Barry Smith & Barbara Tversky - 1999 - In C. Freksa & David M. Mark (eds.), Spatial Information Theory. Cognitive and Computational Foundations of Geographic Information Science (Lecture Notes in Computer Science 1661). pp. 283-298.
    Cognitive categories in the geographic realm appear to manifest certain special features as contrasted with categories for objects at surveyable scales. We have argued that these features reflect specific ontological characteristics of geographic objects. This paper presents hypotheses as to the nature of the features mentioned, reviews previous empirical work on geographic categories, and presents the results of pilot experiments that used English-speaking subjects to test our hypotheses. Our experiments show geographic categories to be similar to their non-geographic counterparts in (...)
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  • Topological Essentialism.Roberto Casati & Achille C. Varzi - 2000 - Philosophical Studies 100 (3):217-236.
    Considering topology as an extension of mereology, this paper analyses topological variants of mereological essentialism (the thesis that an object could not have different parts than the ones it has). In particular, we examine de dicto and de re versions of two theses: (i) that an object cannot change its external connections (e.g., adjacent objects cannot be separated), and (ii) that an object cannot change its topological genus (e.g., a doughnut cannot turn into a sphere). Stronger forms of structural essentialism, (...)
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  • Fiat and Bona Fide Boundaries.Barry Smith & Achille C. Varzi - 2000 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 60 (2):401-420.
    There is a basic distinction, in the realm of spatial boundaries, between bona fide boundaries on the one hand, and fiat boundaries on the other. The former are just the physical boundaries of old. The latter are exemplified especially by boundaries induced through human demarcation, for example in the geographic domain. The classical problems connected with the notions of adjacency, contact, separation and division can be resolved in an intuitive way by recognizing this two-sorted ontology of boundaries. Bona fide boundaries (...)
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  • A Spatio-Temporal Ontology for Geographic Information Integration.Thomas Bittner & Barry Smith - 2009 - International Journal for Geographical Information Science 23 (6):765-798.
    This paper presents an axiomatic formalization of a theory of top-level relations between three categories of entities: individuals, universals, and collections. We deal with a variety of relations between entities in these categories, including the sub-universal relation among universals and the parthood relation among individuals, as well as cross-categorial relations such as instantiation and membership. We show that an adequate understanding of the formal properties of such relations – in particular their behavior with respect to time – is critical for (...)
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  • Basic Problems of Mereotopology.Achille C. Varzi - 1998 - In Nicola Guarino (ed.), Formal Ontology in Information Systems. Ios Press. pp. 29–38.
    Mereotopology is today regarded as a major tool for ontological analysis, and for many good reasons. There are, however, a number of open questions that call for an answer. Some are philosophical, others have direct applicative import, but all are crucial for a proper assessment of the strengths and limits of mereotopology. This paper is an attempt to put sum order in this area.
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  • Perché i buchi sono importanti. Problemi di rappresentazione spaziale.Roberto Casati & Achille C. Varzi - 1997 - Sapere 63 (2):38–43.
    The methodological anarchy that characterizes much recent research in artificial intelligence and other cognitive sciences has brought into existence (sometimes resumed) a large variety of entities from a correspondingly large variety of (sometimes dubious) ontological categories. Recent work in spatial representation and reasoning is particularly indicative of this trend. Our aim in this paper is to suggest some ways of reconciling such a luxurious proliferation of entities with the sheer sobriety of good philosophy.
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  • The Niche.Barry Smith & Achille C. Varzi - 1999 - Noûs 33 (2):214-238.
    The concept of niche (setting, context, habitat, environment) has been little studied by ontologists, in spite of its wide application in a variety of disciplines from evolutionary biology to economics. What follows is a first formal theory of this concept, a theory of the relations between objects and their niches. The theory builds upon existing work on mereology, topology, and the theory of spatial location as tools of formal ontology. It will be illustrated above all by means of simple biological (...)
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  • The Limit Decision Problem and Four-Dimensionalism.Costa Damiano - 2017 - Vivarium 55 (1-3):199-216.
    I argue that medieval solutions to the limit decision problem imply four-dimensionalism, i.e. the view according to which substances that persist through time are extended through time as well as through space, and have different temporal parts at different times.
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  • The Formal Structure of Ecological Contexts.Barry Smith & Achille C. Varzi - 1999 - In Paolo Bouquet, Patrick Brezillon, Francesca Castellani & Luciano Serafini (eds.), Modeling and Using Context. Proceedings of the Second International and Interdisciplinary Conference. Springer. pp. 339–350.
    This is an informal presentation of the theory of niches understood as ecological contexts. The first part sets out the basic conceptual background. The second part outlines the main principles of the theory and addresses the question of how the theory can be extended to aid our thinking in relation to the special types of causal integrity that characterize niches and niched entities.
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  • Mereotopological Connection.Anthony G. Cohn & Achille C. Varzi - 2003 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 32 (4):357-390.
    The paper outlines a model-theoretic framework for investigating and comparing a variety of mereotopological theories. In the first part we consider different ways of characterizing a mereotopology with respect to (i) the intended interpretation of the connection primitive, and (ii) the composition of the admissible domains of quantification (e.g., whether or not they include boundary elements). The second part extends this study by considering two further dimensions along which different patterns of topological connection can be classified - the strength of (...)
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  • Ontological Tools for Geographic Representation.Roberto Casati, Barry Smith & Achille C. Varzi - 1998 - In Nicola Guarino (ed.), Formal Ontology in Information Systems (FOIS). Ios Press. pp. 77--85.
    This paper is concerned with certain ontological issues in the foundations of geographic representation. It sets out what these basic issues are, describes the tools needed to deal with them, and draws some implications for a general theory of spatial representation. Our approach has ramifications in the domains of mereology, topology, and the theory of location, and the question of the interaction of these three domains within a unified spatial representation theory is addressed. In the final part we also consider (...)
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  • SNAP and SPAN: Towards Dynamic Spatial Ontology.Pierre Grenon & Barry Smith - 2004 - Spatial Cognition and Computation 4 (1):69–103.
    We propose a modular ontology of the dynamic features of reality. This amounts, on the one hand, to a purely spatial ontology supporting snapshot views of the world at successive instants of time and, on the other hand, to a purely spatiotemporal ontology of change and process. We argue that dynamic spatial ontology must combine these two distinct types of inventory of the entities and relationships in reality, and we provide characterizations of spatiotemporal reasoning in the light of the interconnections (...)
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  • Shadows of Constitution.István Aranyosi - 2007 - The Monist 90 (3):415-431.
    Mainstream metaphysics has been preoccupied by inquiring into the nature of major kinds of entities, like objects, properties and events, while avoiding minor entities, like shadows or holes. However, one might want to hope that dealing with such minor entities could be profitable for even solving puzzles about major entities. I propose a new ontological puzzle, the Shadow of Constitution Puzzle, incorporating the old puzzle of material constitution, with shadows in the role of the minor entity to guide our approach (...)
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  • Formal Ontology of Space, Time, and Physical Entities in Classical Mechanics.Thomas Bittner - 2018 - Applied Ontology 13 (2):135-179.
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  • Directly Depicting Granular Ontologies.Thomas Bittner & Barry Smith - 2004 - In IFOMIS Reports. pp. 117--151.
    Published in extended form as "Endurants and Perdurants in Directly Depicting Ontologies", -/- We propose an ontological theory that is powerful enough to describe both complex spatio-temporal processes and the enduring entities that participate in such processes. For this purpose we distinguish between ontologies and metaontology. Ontologies are based on very simple directly depicting languages and fall into two major categories: ontologies of type SPAN and ontologies of type SNAP. These represent two complementary perspectives on reality and result in distinct (...)
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  • Nisza.Achille C. Varzi & Barry Smith - 2000 - Filozofia Nauki 3:5–30.
    The concept of niche (setting, context, habitat, environment) has been little studied by ontologists, in spite of its wide application in a variety of disciplines from evolutionary biology to economics. What follows is a first formal theory of this concept, a theory of the relations between objects and their niches. The theory builds upon existing work on mereology, topology, and the theory of spatial location as tools of formal ontology. It is illustrated above all by means of simple biological examples, (...)
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