Formal ontology, common sense, and cognitive science

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Abstract
Common sense is on the one hand a certain set of processes of natural cognition - of speaking, reasoning, seeing, and so on. On the other hand common sense is a system of beliefs (of folk physics, folk psychology and so on). Over against both of these is the world of common sense, the world of objects to which the processes of natural cognition and the corresponding belief-contents standardly relate. What are the structures of this world? How does the scientific treatment of this world relate to traditional and contemporary metaphysics and formal ontology? Can we embrace a thesis of common-sense realism to the effect that the world of common sense exists uniquely? Or must we adopt instead a position of cultural relativism which would assign distinct worlds of common sense to each group and epoch? The present paper draws on recent work in computer science (especially in the fields of naive and qualitative physics), in perceptual and developmental psychology, and in cognitive anthropology, in order to consider in a new light these and related questions and to draw conclusions for the methodology and philosophical foundations of the cognitive sciences.
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First archival date: 2015-11-21
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2009-01-28

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