Endurants and Perdurants in Directly Depicting Ontologies

AI Communications 13 (4):247–258 (2004)
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We propose an ontological theory that is powerful enough to describe both complex spatio-temporal processes and the enduring entities that participate therein. For this purpose we introduce the notion a directly depicting ontology. Directly depicting ontologies are based on relatively simple languages and fall into two major categories: ontologies of type SPAN and ontologies of type SNAP. These represent two complementary perspectives on reality and employ distinct though compatible systems of categories. A SNAP (snapshot) ontology comprehends enduring entities such as organisms, geographic features, or qualities as they exist at some given moment of time. A SPAN ontology comprehends perduring entities such as processes and their parts and aggregates as they unfold themselves through some temporal interval. We give an axiomatic account of the theory of directly depicting ontologies and of the core parts of the metaontological fragment within which they are embedded.
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