An ontology of geographic kinds is designed to yield a better understanding of the structure of the geographic world, and to support the development of geographic information systems that are conceptually sound. This paper first demonstrates that geographical objects and kinds are not just larger versions of the everyday objects and kinds previously studied in cognitive science. Geographic objects are not merely located in space, as are the manipulable objects of table-top space. Rather, they are tied intrinsically to space, and (...) this means that their spatial boundaries are in many cases the most salient features for categorization. The ontology presented here will accordingly be based on topology (the theory of boundary, contact and separation) and on mereology (the theory of extended wholes and parts). Geographic reality comprehends mesoscopic entities, many of which are best viewed as shadows cast onto the spatial plane by human reasoning and language. Because of this, geographic categories are much more likely to show cultural differences in category definitions than are the manipulable objects of table-top space. (shrink)
I shall presuppose as undefended background to what follows a position of scientific realism, a doctrine to the effect (i) that the world exists and (ii) that through the working out of ever more sophisticated theories our scientific picture of reality will approximate ever more closely to the world as it really is. Against this background consider, now, the following question: 1. Do the empirical theories with the help of which we seek to approximate a good or true picture of (...) reality rest on any non-empirical presuppositions? One can answer this question with either a 'yes' or a 'no'. 'No' is the preferred answer of most contemporary methodologists -- Murray Rothbard is one distinguished counterexample to this trend -- who maintain that empirical theories are completely free of non-empirical ('a priori') admixtures and who see science as a matter of the gathering of pure 'data' obtained through simple observation. From such data scientific propositions are then supposed to be somehow capable of being established. (shrink)
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. (shrink)
That uses of language not only can, but even normally do have the character of actions was a fact largely unrealised by those engaged in the study of language before the present century, at least in the sense that there was lacking any attempt to come to terms systematically with the action-theoretic peculiarities of language use. Where the action-character of linguistic phenomena was acknowledged, it was normally regarded as a peripheral matter, relating to derivative or non-standard aspects of language which (...) could afford to be ignored. (shrink)
The current resurgence of interest in cognition and in the nature of cognitive processing has brought with it also a renewed interest in the early work of Husserl, one of the most sustained attempts to come to grips with the problems of logic from a cognitive point of view. Logic, for Husserl, is a theory of science; but it is a theory which takes seriously the idea that scientific theories are constituted by the mental acts of cognitive subjects. The present (...) essay begins with an exposition of Husserl's act-based conception of what a science is, and goes on to consider his account of the role of linguistic meanings, of the ontology of scientific objects, and of evidence and truth. The essay concentrates almost exclusively on the Logical Investigations of 1900/01. This is not only because this work, which is surely Husserl's single most important masterpiece, has been overshadowed first of all by his Ideas I and then later by the Crisis. It is also because the Investigations contain, in a peculiarly clear and pregnant form, a whole panoply of ideas on logic and cognitive theory which either simply disappeared in Husserl's own later writings or became obfuscated by an admixture of that great mystery which is 'transcendental phenomenology'. (shrink)
Those who conceive logic as a science have generally favoured one of two alternative conceptions as to what the subject-matter of this science ought to be. On the one hand is the nowadays somewhat old-fashioned-seeming view of logic as the science of judgment, or of thinking or reasoning activities in general. On the other hand is the view of logic as a science of ideal meanings, 'thoughts', or 'propositions in themselves'. There is, however, a third alternative conception, which enjoyed only (...) a brief flowering in the years leading up to the first World War, but whose lingering presence can be detected in the background of more recent ontologising trends in logic, as for example in the 'situation semantics' of Barwise and Perry. This third conception sees logic as a science of special objects called 'Sachverhalte' or 'states of affairs'. A view of this sort is present in simplified form in the works of Meinong, but it received its definitive formulation in the writings of Adolf Reinach, a student of Husserl who is otherwise noteworthy for having anticipated, in a monograph of 1913, large chunks of what later became known as the theory of speech acts.(1). (shrink)
To seek to elucidate Husserl's phenomenology by contrasting it with that of the Munich phenomenologist Johannes Daubert (1877-1947) is to betray an intention to explain something well-known by reference to something that is wholly obscure. Thus most philosophers are somehow aware of Edmund Husserl. But Johannes Daubert?
It will be the thesis of this paper that there are among our mental acts some which fall into the category of real material relations. That is: some acts are necessarily such as to involve a plurality of objects as their relata or fundamenta. Suppose Bruno walks into his study and sees a cat. To describe the seeing, here, as a relation, is to affirm that it serves somehow to tie Bruno to the cat. Bruno's act of seeing, unlike his (...) feeling depressed, his putative thinking-about-Santa-Claus or his musing, abstractedly, about the tallest spy, has at least two fundamenta: it is, as a matter of necessity, dependent for its existence upon both Bruno himself and the cat that he sees. This idea will naturally raise echoes of Russell's doctrine of knowledge by acquaintance. 'I am acquainted with an object', Russell tells us, 'when I have a direct cognitive relation to that object, i. e. when I am directly aware of the object itself' (1918, p. 209). And indeed a distinction in many ways like that between acquaintance and description will find a place within the theory here projected, but there are crucial differences. (shrink)