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  1. 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Thick Concepts and Sociological Research.Gabriel Abend - 2019 - Sociological Theory 37 (3):209-233.
    I consider how to do sociological things with thick concepts, what’s the relation between thick concepts and social facts, what’s unique about thick concepts, and what’s unique about creatures in whose lives there are thick concepts.
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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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