The logic of the ontological square

Studia Logica 91 (1):25 - 51 (2009)
The Ontological Square is a categorial scheme that combines two metaphysical distinctions: that between types (or universals ) and tokens (or particulars ) on the one hand, and that between characters (or features ) and their substrates (or bearers ) on the other hand. The resulting four-fold classification of things comprises particular substrates, called substances , universal substrates, called kinds , particular characters, called modes or moments , and universal characters, called attributes . Things are joined together in facts by primitive ontological ties or nexus . This article describes a logic that is meant to capture the basic intuitions behind the Ontological Square. Given a minimal correspondence between atomic logical form and ontological structure, the commitment to nexus as a distinct ontological category entails a rehabilitation of copulae as ties of predication. Thus, the Logic of the Ontological Square is a copula calculus rather than a predicate calculus; its soundness and completeness can be established with respect to a model akin to a so-called first-order semantics for standard second-order logic.
Keywords Universals  particulars  substances  modes  formal ontology  predication  copula
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