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  1. I trabocchetti della rappresentazione spaziale.Roberto Casati & Achille C. Varzi - 1999 - Sistemi Intelligent 11 (1):7–28.
    This is a position article summarizing our approach to the philosophy of space and spatial representation. Our concern is mostly methodological: above all, we argue that a number of philosophical puzzles that arise in this field—puzzles concerning the nature of spatial entities, their material and mereological constitution, their relationship with the space that they occupy—stem from a confusion between semantic issues and true metaphysical concerns.
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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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  • Fiat Objects.Barry Smith - 2001 - Topoi 20 (2):131-148.
    Human cognitive acts are directed towards entities of a wide range of different types. What follows is a new proposal for bringing order into this typological clutter. A categorial scheme for the objects of human cognition should be (1) critical and realistic. Cognitive subjects are liable to error, even to systematic error of the sort that is manifested by believers in the Pantheon of Olympian gods. Thus not all putative object-directed acts should be recognized as having objects of their own. (...)
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  • La distinction entre noms massifs et noms comptables.David Nicolas - 2002 - Editions Peeters.
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  • Confini. Dove finisce una cosa e inizia un’altra.Achille C. Varzi - 2007 - In Andrea Bottani & Richard Davies (eds.), Ontologie regionali. Mimesis. pp. 209–222.
    Ci imbattiamo in un confine ogni volta che pensiamo a un’entità demarcata rispetto a ciò che la circonda. C’è un confine (una superficie) che delimita l’interno di una sfera dal suo esterno; c’è un confine (una frontiera) che separa il Maryland dalla Pennsylvania. Talvolta la collocazione esatta di un confine non è chiara o è in qualche modo controversa (come quando si cerchi di tracciare i limiti del monte Everest, o il confine del nostro corpo). Talaltra il confine non corrisponde (...)
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  • Enactment and Construction of the Cognitive Niche: Toward an Ontology of the Mind- World Connection.Konrad Werner - 2020 - Synthese 197 (3):1313-1341.
    The paper discusses the concept of the cognitive niche and distinguishes the latter from the metabolic niche. By using these posits I unpack certain ideas that are crucial for the enactivist movement, especially for its original formulation proposed by Varela, Thompson and Rosh. Drawing on the ontology of location, boundaries, and parthood, I argue that enacting the world can be seen as the process of cognitive niche construction. Moreover, it turns out that enactivism—as seen through the lens of the conceptual (...)
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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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  • On Spatial and Temporal Ex Mensura Boundaries.Giovanni Boniolo, Rossella Faraldo & Antonio Saggion - 2009 - Foundations of Science 14 (3):181-193.
    In this paper we will propose an empirical analysis of spatial and temporal boundaries. Unlike other proposals, which deal mainly with the commonsense level of the subject, we will ground our explication on well-established scientific practice and language. In this way we show how to reconsider in an innovative way questions such as the distinction between the bona fide boundaries and the fiat boundaries, the thickness and the ownership of the boundaries. At the same time we propose a division between (...)
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  • Barry Smith an Sich.Gerald J. Erion & Gloria Zúñiga Y. Postigo (eds.) - 2017 - Cosmos + Taxis.
    Festschrift in Honor of Barry Smith on the occasion of his 65th Birthday. Published as issue 4:4 of the journal Cosmos + Taxis: Studies in Emergent Order and Organization. Includes contributions by Wolfgang Grassl, Nicola Guarino, John T. Kearns, Rudolf Lüthe, Luc Schneider, Peter Simons, Wojciech Żełaniec, and Jan Woleński.
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  • Ontological Categories in GOL.Barbara Heller & Heinrich Herre - 2004 - Axiomathes 14 (1-3):57-76.
    General Ontological Language (GOL) is a formal framework for representing and building ontologies. The purpose of GOL is to provide a system of top-level ontologies which can be used as a basis for building domain-specific ontologies. The present paper gives an overview about the basic categories of the GOL-ontology. GOL is part of the work of the research group Ontologies in Medicine (Onto-Med) at the University of Leipzig which is based on the collaborative work of the Institute of Medical Informatics (...)
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  • Representational Advantages.Roberto Casati - 2003 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 103 (3):281–298.
    Descriptive metaphysics investigates our naïve ontology as this is articulated in the content of our perception or of our pre-reflective thought about the world. But is access to such content reliable? Sceptics about the standard modes of access (introspection, or language-driven intuitions) may think that investigations in descriptive metaphysics can be aided by the controlled findings of cognitive science. Cognitive scientists have studied a promising range of representational advantages, that is, ways in which cognition favours one type of entity over (...)
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  • A Unified Theory of Truth and Reference.Barry Smith & Berit Brogaard - 2000 - Logique Et Analyse 43 (169-170):49–93.
    The truthmaker theory rests on the thesis that the link between a true judgment and that in the world to which it corresponds is not a one-to-one but rather a one-to-many relation. An analogous thesis in relation to the link between a singular term and that in the world to which it refers is already widely accepted. This is the thesis to the effect that singular reference is marked by vagueness of a sort that is best understood in supervaluationist terms. (...)
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  • Metaphysics.Barry Smith - 2010 - In Asbjørn Steglich-Petersen (ed.), Metaphysics: Five Questions. Automatic Press. pp. 143-158.
    Attempts to trace a unifying thread of ontological realism extending through 1. my early writings on Frege, Brentano, Husserl, Wittgenstein, Ingarden and (with Kevin Mulligan and Peter Simons) on truthmakers; 2. work on formal theories of the common-sense world, and on mereotopology, fiat objects, geographical categories, and environments (with David Mark, Roberto Casati, Achille Varzi), to 3. current work on applied ontology in biology and medicine, and on the theory of document acts and on the ontology of information artifacts.
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  • Aristoteles 2002.Barry Smith - 2003 - In T. Buchheim (ed.), Kann man heute noch etwas anfangen mit Aristoteles? Meiner. pp. 3-38.
    The essay surveys recent developments in ontology and defends a strategy for improvement of ontologies based on ontological realism. As a thought experiment, we consider central theses of Aristotelian metaphysics, and show how they fall short of what we believe to be the requirements of ontology today. Above all, Aristotle provides us with no strategy for the reconciliation of common-sense realism and scientific realism where these diverge. We focus specifically on shortfalls in Aristotle’s treatment of individual accidents, especially in regard (...)
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  • The Cornucopia of Formal-Ontological Relations.Barry Smith & Pierre Grenon - 2004 - Dialectica 58 (3):279–296.
    The paper presents a new method for generating typologies of formal-ontological relations. The guiding idea is that formal relations are those sorts of relations which hold between entities which are constituents of distinct ontologies. We provide examples of ontologies (in the spirit of Zemach’s classic “Four Ontologies” of 1970), and show how these can be used to give a rich typology of formal relations in a way which also throws light on the opposition between threeand four-dimensionalism.
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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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  • Logical Properties of Foundational Mereogeometrical Relations in Bio-Ontologies.Thomas Bittner - 2009 - Applied ontology 4 (2):109-138.
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  • Undetached Parts and Disconnected Wholes.Achille C. Varzi - 2013 - In Christer Svennerlind, Jan Almäng & Rögnvaldur Ingthorsson (eds.), Johanssonian Investigations. Essays in Honour of Ingvar Johansson on His Seventieth Birthday. Ontos Verlag. pp. 696–708.
    I offer a diagnosis of the parallelism between the Doctrine of Potential Parts and the Doctrine of Potential Wholes and briefly examine its bearing on Johansson’s account of the Tibbles-Tib Problem.
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  • Spatial Reasoning and Ontology: Parts, Wholes, and Locations.Achille C. Varzi - 2007 - In Marco Aiello, Ian E. Pratt-Hartmann & Johan van Benthem (eds.), Handbook of Spatial Logics. Springer Verlag. pp. 945-1038.
    A critical survey of the fundamental philosophical issues in the logic and formal ontology of space, with special emphasis on the interplay between mereology (the theory of parthood relations), topology (broadly understood as a theory of qualitative spatial relations such as continuity and contiguity), and the theory of spatial location proper.
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  • La Teoría Pragmática de la Vaguedad. Problemas Y Perspectivas (the Pragmatic Theory of Vagueness. Problems and Perspectives).Enrique Romerales - 2004 - Theoria 19 (1):49-75.
    Los dos grandes problemas del enfoque supervaluacionista para la vaguedad son determinar cuáles son las precisificaciones admisibles y la vaguedad de orden superior ilimitado. Apelando al uso de los términos vagos por la comunidad lingüística competente puede dividirse de forma tajante la extension de un término precisando en qué casos se aplica definidamente, en cuáles se aplica indefinidamente y en cuales es indeterminado si se aplica. Esto produce dos órdenes de vaguedad, con lo que se bloquean los argumentos sorites. Finalmente (...)
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  • Truthmaker Realism.Barry Smith - 1999 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 77 (3):274 – 291.
    We take as our starting point a thesis to the effect that, at least for true judgments of many varieties, there are parts of reality which make such judgments are true. We argue that two distinct components are involved in this truthmaker relation. On the one hand is the relation of necessitation, which holds between an object x and a judgment p when the existence of x entails the truth of p. On the other hand is the dual notion of (...)
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  • The Universe Among Other Things.Achille C. Varzi - 2006 - Ratio 19 (1):107–120.
    Peter Simons has argued that the expression ‘the universe’ is not a genuine singular term: it can name neither a single, completely encompassing individual, nor a collection of individuals. (It is, rather, a semantically plural term standing equally for every existing object.) I offer reasons for resisting Simons’s arguments on both scores.
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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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  • Nisza.Achille C. Varzi & Barry Smith - 2000 - Filozofia Nauki 3:5–30.
    Pojęcie niszy (otoczenia, kontekstu, siedliska, środowiska) nie cieszy się specjalnym zainteresowaniem ontologów, mimo że ma szerokie zastosowanie w rozmaitych dyscyplinach, od biologii ewolucyjnej po ekonomię. Niniejszy artykuł zawiera pierwszą teorię formalną tego pojęcia — teorię relacji pomiędzy przedmiotami a ich niszami. Teoria ta opiera się na istniejącym dorobku mereologii, topologii i teorii lokalizacji przestrzennej, które są narzędziami ontologii formalnej. Jest ona tutaj ilustrowana głównie za pomocą prostych przykładów z biologii, ale pojęcie niszy należy rozumieć — podobnie jak pojęcia części, granicy (...)
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  • Boundaries in Reality.Tuomas E. Tahko - 2012 - Ratio 25 (4):405-424.
    This paper defends the idea that there must be some joints in reality, some correct way to classify or categorize it. This may seem obvious, but we will see that there are at least three conventionalist arguments against this idea, as well as philosophers who have found them convincing. The thrust of these arguments is that the manner in which we structure, divide or carve up the world is not grounded in any natural, genuine boundaries in the world. Ultimately they (...)
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  • Sixteen Days.Barry Smith & Berit Brogaard - 2003 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 28 (1):45 – 78.
    When does a human being begin to exist? We argue that it is possible, through a combination of biological fact and philosophical analysis, to provide a definitive answer to this question. We lay down a set of conditions for being a human being, and we determine when, in the course of normal fetal development, these conditions are first satisfied. Issues dealt with along the way include: modes of substance-formation, twinning, the nature of the intra-uterine environment, and the nature of the (...)
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  • On the Computational Realization of Formal Ontologies: Formalizing an Ontology of Instantiation in Spacetime Using Isabelle/HOL as a Case Study.Thomas Bittner - 2019 - Applied ontology 14 (3):251-292.
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  • Continua in Biological Systems.Ingvar Johansson - 2007 - The Monist 90 (4):499-522.
    We defend the fundamental ontological-pragmatic principle that where there are continua in reality science is often forced to make partly fiat terminological delimitations. In particular, this principle applies when it comes to describing biological organisms, their parts, properties, and relations. Human-made fiat delimitations are indispensable at the level of both individuals and the natural kinds which they instantiate. The kinds of pragmatically based ‘fiatness’ that we describe can create incompatibilities and lack of interoperability even between properly designed ontologies, if not (...)
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  • Precise Entities but Irredeemably Vague Concepts?Enrique Romerales - 2002 - Dialectica 56 (3):213-233.
    Various arguments have recently been put forward to support the existence of vague or fuzzy objects. Nevertheless, the only possibly compelling argument would support, not the existence of vague objects, but indeterminately existing objects. I argue for the non‐existence of any vague entities—either particulars or properties ‐ in the mind‐independent world. Even so, many philosophers have claimed that to reduce vagueness to semantics is of no avail, since linguistic vagueness betrays semantic incoherence and this is no less a problem than (...)
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  • Precise Entities but Irredeemably Vague Concepts?Enrique Romerales - 2002 - Dialectica 56 (3):213–233.
    Various arguments have recently been put forward to support the existence of vague or fuzzy objects. Nevertheless, the only possibly compelling argument would support, not the existence of vague objects, but indeterminately existing objects. I argue for the non‐existence of any vague entities—either particulars or properties ‐ in the mind‐independent world. Even so, many philosophers have claimed that to reduce vagueness to semantics is of no avail, since linguistic vagueness betrays semantic incoherence and this is no less a problem than (...)
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  • Mereological Commitments.Achille C. Varzi - 2000 - Dialectica 54 (4):283-305.
    We tend to talk about parts in the same way in which we talk about whole objects. Yet a part is not something to be included in an inventory of the world over and above the whole to which it belongs, and a whole is not something to be included in an inventory over and above its own parts. This paper is an attempt to clarify a way of dealing with this tension which may be labeled the Minimalist View: an (...)
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  • Mereological Commitments.Achille C. Varzi - 2000 - Dialectica 54 (4):283–305.
    We tend to talk about (refer to, quantify over) parts in the same way in which we talk about whole objects. Yet a part is not something to be included in an inventory of the world over and above the whole to which it belongs, and a whole is not something to be included in the inventory over and above its constituent parts. This paper is an attempt to clarify a way of dealing with this tension which may be labeled (...)
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  • Individuals, Universals, Collections: On the Foundational Relations of Ontology.Thomas Bittner, Maureen Donnelly & Barry Smith - 2004 - In Achille Varzi Laure Vieu (ed.), ”, Formal Ontology in Information Systems. Proceedings of the Third International Conference. Amsterdam: IOS Press. pp. 37–48.
    This paper provides an axiomatic formalization of a theory of foundational relations between three categories of entities: individuals, universals, and collections. We deal with a variety of relations between entities in these categories, including the is-a relation among universals and the part-of relation among individuals as well as cross-category relations such as instance-of, member-of, and partition-of. We show that an adequate understanding of the formal properties of such relations – in particular their behavior with respect to time – is critical (...)
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  • Geographic Objects and the Science of Geography.Amie L. Thomasson - 2001 - Topoi 20 (2):149-159.
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  • Explaining essences.Michael J. Raven - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 178 (4):1043-1064.
    This paper explores the prospects of combining two views. The first view is metaphysical rationalism : all things have an explanation. The second view is metaphysical essentialism: there are real essences. The exploration is motivated by a conflict between the views. Metaphysical essentialism posits facts about essences. Metaphysical rationalism demands explanations for all facts. But facts about essences appear to resist explanation. I consider two solutions to the conflict. Exemption solutions attempt to exempt facts about essences from the demand for (...)
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  • Thinking Animals or Thinking Brains?David Hershenov - 2021 - Acta Analytica 36 (1):11-24.
    Animalism offers a more attractive account of the human person than the Embodied Mind Account. If people are not animals, but small proper parts of animals, then there is a threat of spatially coincident thinkers. This will likely have to be avoided at the cost of the sparsest of ontologies, one in which there are no larger entities that can become reduced to the size of the brain or cerebrum-size thinker. This will be a rather implausible ontology as such thinkers (...)
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  • Heyting Mereology as a Framework for Spatial Reasoning.Thomas Mormann - 2013 - Axiomathes 23 (1):137- 164.
    In this paper it is shown that Heyting and Co-Heyting mereological systems provide a convenient conceptual framework for spatial reasoning, in which spatial concepts such as connectedness, interior parts, (exterior) contact, and boundary can be defined in a natural and intuitively appealing way. This fact refutes the wide-spread contention that mereology cannot deal with the more advanced aspects of spatial reasoning and therefore has to be enhanced by further non-mereological concepts to overcome its congenital limitations. The allegedly unmereological concept of (...)
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  • Michelangelo’s Puzzle.Giuseppe Spolaore & Pierdaniele Giaretta - 2018 - Philosophia 46 (2):453-464.
    Michelangelo thought that stone statues pre-exist their sculptors’ performance. Michelangelo’s view gives rise to a puzzle, which we call Michelangelo’s puzzle. Michelangelo’s puzzle looks structurally similar to so-called problems of material constitution ; so it is tempting to suppose that it can be similarly accounted for. This paper argues that the supposition is misguided. Michelangelo’s puzzle raises specific problems, which cannot be adequately dealt with unless one is prepared to give up either the natural view that stone sculptures are human (...)
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  • A Geographical Taxonomy for Geo-Ontologies.Timothy Tambassi - 2017 - Axiomathes 27 (4):355-374.
    This article intends to provide an overview on the philosophical and geographical background of geo-ontologies and to propose a geographical classification of these ontologies, in response to their increasing diffusion within the contemporary debate. Accordingly, the first two paragraphs are devoted to offer a short introduction to the ontological turn in philosophy and to the development of the ontology of geography, that is that part of the ontology mainly focused on geographic entities and their boundaries, spatial representation, meretopological relations and (...)
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  • Russell and the Temporal Contiguity of Causes and Effects.Graham Clay - 2018 - Erkenntnis 83 (6):1245-1264.
    There are some necessary conditions on causal relations that seem to be so trivial that they do not merit further inquiry. Many philosophers assume that the requirement that there could be no temporal gaps between causes and their effects is such a condition. Bertrand Russell disagrees. In this paper, an in-depth discussion of Russell’s argument against this necessary condition is the centerpiece of an analysis of what is at stake when one accepts or denies that there can be temporal gaps (...)
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  • Interactive Fiat Objects.Juan C. González - 2013 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 4 (2):205-217.
    The initial stage for the discussion is the distinction between bona fide and fiat objects drawn by Barry Smith and collaborators in the context of formal ontology. This paper aims at both producing a rationale for introducing a hitherto unrecognized kind of object—here called ‘Interactive Fiat Objects’ (IFOs)—into the ontology of objects, and casting light on the relationship between embodied cognition and interactive ontology with the aid of the concepts of affordance and ad hoc category. I conclude that IFOs are (...)
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  • SNAPVis and SPANVis: Ontologies for Recognizing Variable Vista Spatial Environments.Tiansi Dong - 2004 - In International Conference on Spatial Cognition. Springer. pp. 344-365.
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  • On Interpreting Something as Food.Nicola Piras & Andrea Borghini - 2021 - Food Ethics 6 (1).
    In this paper we discuss the role that individual and collective acts of interpretation play in shaping a metaphysics of food. Our analysis moves from David Kaplan’s recent contention that food is always open to interpretation, and substantially expands its theoretical underpinnings by drawing on recent scholarship on food and social ontology. After setting up the terms of the discussion, we suggest that the contention can be read subjectively or structurally, and that the latter can be given three sub-readings. We (...)
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  • Is There a Problem of Action at a Temporal Distance?Rögnvaldur Ingthorsson - 2007 - SATS 8 (1):138-154.
    It has been claimed that the only way to avoid action at a temporal distance in a temporal continuum is if effects occur simultaneously with their causes, and that in fact Newton’s second law of motion illustrates that they truly are simultaneous. Firstly, I point out that this interpretation of Newton’s second law is problematic because in classical mechanics ‘acceleration’ denotes a vector quantity. It is controversial whether vectors themselves are changes as opposed to properties of a change, and therefore (...)
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  • Interpretive Semiotics and Translation Theory: The Semiotic Conditions to Translation.Ubaldo Stecconi - 2004 - Semiotica 2004 (150).
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  • Mobius and Paradox: On the Abstract Structure of Boundary Events in Semiotic Systems.Yair Neuman - 2003 - Semiotica 2003 (147).
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  • Vagueness in Geography.Achille C. Varzi - 2001 - Philosophy and Geography 4 (1):49–65.
    Some have argued that the vagueness exhibited by geographic names and descriptions such as ‘Albuquerque’, ‘the Outback’, or ‘Mount Everest’ is ultimately ontological: these terms are vague because they refer to vague objects, objects with fuzzy boundaries. I take the opposite stand and hold the view that geographic vagueness is exclusively semantic, or conceptual at large. There is no such thing as a vague mountain. Rather, there are many things where we conceive a mountain to be, each with its precise (...)
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  • Events, Truth, and Indeterminacy.Achille C. Varzi - 2002 - The Dialogue 2:241-264.
    The semantics of our event talk is a complex affair. What is it that we are talking about when we speak of Brutus’s stabbing of Caesar? Exactly where and when did it take place? Was it the same event as the killing of Caesar? Some take questions such as these to be metaphysical questions. I think they are questions of semantics—questions about the way we talk and about what we mean. And I think that this conflict between metaphysic and semantic (...)
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  • Meso-Level Objects, Powers, and Simultaneous Causation.Tobias Hansson Wahlberg - 2017 - Metaphysica 18 (1):107-125.
    I argue that Mumford and Anjum’s recent theory of simultaneous causation among powerful meso-level objects is problematic in several respects: it is based on a false dichotomy, it is incompatible with standard meso-level physics, it is explanatory deficient, and it threatens to render the powers metaphysics incoherent. Powers theorists are advised, therefore, to adopt a purely sequential conception of causation.
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  • Reexamining Fiat, Bona Fide and Force Dynamic Boundaries for Geopolitical Entities and Their Placement in DOLCE.Edward Heath Robinson - 2012 - Applied Ontology 7 (1):93-108.
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