Fiat and bona fide boundaries

We argue that the ba­sic typology of spatial bound­aries involves an opposi­tion between bona fide (or physi­cal) boundaries on the one hand, and fiat bound­aries on the other, the latter being exemplified especially by boundaries induced through human demarcation, for example in the geographic realm. The classical metaphysical 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 yield a notion of contact that is effectively modeled by classical topology; the analogue of contact involving fiat boundaries calls, however, for a different account, based on the intuition that fiat boundaries do not support the open/closed distinction on which classical topology is based. In the presence of this two-sorted ontology it then transpires that mereotopology—topology erected on a mereological basis—is more than a trivial formal variant of classical point-set topology.
Keywords mereotopology  boundaries  geography  fiat objects
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