In this paper recognition is taken to be a question of social ontology, regarding the very constitution of the social space of interaction. I concentrate on the question of whether certain aspects of the theory of recognition can be translated into the terms of a socio-ontological paradigm: to do so, I make reference to some conceptual tools derived from John Searle's social ontology and Robert Brandom's normative pragmatics. My strategy consists in showing that recognitive phenomena cannot be isolated (...) at the level of human interaction, and are, rather, in part proper to animal interaction as well. Furthermore, it is argued that recognitive powers are constitutive powers more basic than deontic ones and play a role much broader than the one they in fact assume in Searle and in Brandom. (shrink)
We present an ontology of pain and of other pain-related phenomena, building on the definition of pain provided by the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP). Our strategy is to identify an evolutionarily basic canonical pain phenomenon, involving unpleasant sensory and emotional experience based causally in localized tissue damage that is concordant with that experience. We then show how different variant cases of this canonical pain phenomenon can be distinguished, including pain that is elevated relative to peripheral (...) trauma, pain that is caused neuropathically (thus with no necessary peripheral stimulus), and pain reports arising through deception either of self or of others. We describe how our approach can answer some of the objections raised against the IASP definition, and sketch how it can be used to support more sophisticated discrimination of different types of pain resulting in improved data analysis that can help in advancing pain research. (shrink)
I shall attempt in what follows to show how mereology, taken together with certain topological notions, can yield the basis for future investigations in formal ontology. I shall attempt to show also how the mereological framework here advanced can allow the direct and natural formulation of a series of theses – for example pertaining to the concept of boundary – which can be formulated only indirectly (if at all) in set-theoretic terms.
This introduction to the second international conference on Formal Ontology and Information Systems presents a brief history of ontology as a discipline spanning the boundaries of philosophy and information science. We sketch some of the reasons for the growth of ontology in the information science field, and offer a preliminary stocktaking of how the term ‘ontology’ is currently used. We conclude by suggesting some grounds for optimism as concerns the future collaboration between philosophical ontologists and information (...) scientists. (shrink)
The Common Anatomy Reference Ontology (CARO) is being developed to facilitate interoperability between existing anatomy ontologies for different species, and will provide a template for building new anatomy ontologies. CARO has a structural axis of classification based on the top-level nodes of the Foundational Model of Anatomy. CARO will complement the developmental process sub-ontology of the GO Biological Process ontology, using it to ensure the coherent treatment of developmental stages, and to provide a common framework for the (...) model organism communities to classify developmental structures. Definitions for the types and relationships are being generated by a consortium of investigators from diverse backgrounds to ensure applicability to all organisms. CARO will support the coordination of cross-species ontologies at all levels of anatomical granularity by cross-referencing types within the cell type ontology (CL) and the Gene Ontology (GO) Cellular Component ontology. A complete cross-species CARO could be utilized in other ontologies for cross-product generation. (shrink)
Timothy Williamson has argued that in the debate on modal ontology, the familiar distinction between actualism and possibilism should be replaced by a distinction between positions he calls contingentism and necessitism. He has also argued in favor of necessitism, using results on quantified modal logic with plurally interpreted second-order quantifiers showing that necessitists can draw distinctions contingentists cannot draw. Some of these results are similar to well-known results on the relative expressivity of quantified modal logics with so-called inner and (...) outer quantifiers. The present paper deals with these issues in the context of quantified modal logics with generalized quantifiers. Its main aim is to establish two results for such a logic: Firstly, contingentists can draw the distinctions necessitists can draw if and only if the logic with inner quantifiers is at least as expressive as the logic with outer quantifiers, and necessitists can draw the distinctions contingentists can draw if and only if the logic with outer quantifiers is at least as expressive as the logic with inner quantifiers. Secondly, the former two items are the case if and only if all of the generalized quantifiers are first-order definable, and the latter two items are the case if and only if first-order logic with these generalized quantifiers relativizes. (shrink)
Philosophers frequently struggle with the relation of metaphysics to the everyday world, with its practical value, and with its relation to empirical science. This paper distinguishes several different models of the relation between philosophical ontology and applied (scientific) ontology that have been advanced in the history of philosopy. Adoption of a strong participation model for the philosophical ontologist in science is urged, and requirements and consequences of the participation model are explored. This approach provides both a principled view (...) and justification of the role of the philosophical ontologist in contemporary empirical science as well as guidelines for integrating philosophers and philosophical contributions into the practice of science. (shrink)
E. J. Lowe, a prominent figure in contemporary metaphysics, sets out and defends his theory of what there is. His four-category ontology is a metaphysical system which recognizes four fundamental categories of beings: substantial and non-substantial particulars and substantial and non-substantial universals. Lowe argues that this system has an explanatory power which is unrivaled by more parsimonious theories and that this counts decisively in its favor. He shows that it provides a powerful explanatory framework for a unified account of (...) causation, dispositions, natural laws, natural necessity and many other related matters, thus constituting a full metaphysical foundation for natural science. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that Nietzsche’s published works contain a substantial, although implicit, argument for the will to power as ontology—a critical and descriptive, rather than positive and explanatory, theory of reality. Further, I suggest this ontology is entirely consistent with a naturalist methodology. The will to power ontology follows directly from Nietzsche’s naturalist rejection of three metaphysical presuppositions: substance, efficient causality, and final causality. I show that a number of interpretations, including those of Clark, Schacht, (...) Reginster, and Richardson, are inconsistent with Nietzsche’s naturalism, because they presuppose efficient or final causality. In contrast, I argue that the will to power is not an explanatory theory, but a description of the basic, necessary character of reality, designed to critically reveal and minimize metaphysical presuppositions—to reject false explanations of reality and human behavior. It avoids substance-metaphysics by describing reality as will, a causal process without discrete efficient causes or agents. It eliminates efficient causality by describing events as maximal manifestations of power, rather than as agent-actualized potentialities. Finally, it opposes teleology by describing life as tending toward the activity of resistance as such, rather than toward explanatory end-states, such as the accumulation of power or overcoming of resistances. (shrink)
The discussions which follow rest on a distinction, first expounded by Husserl, between formal logic and formal ontology. The former concerns itself with (formal) meaning-structures; the latter with formal structures amongst objects and their parts. The paper attempts to show how, when formal ontological considerations are brought into play, contemporary extensionalist theories of part and whole, and above all the mereology of Leniewski, can be generalised to embrace not only relations between concrete objects and object-pieces, but also relations between (...) what we shall call dependent parts or moments. A two-dimensional formal language is canvassed for the resultant ontological theory, a language which owes more to the tradition of Euler, Boole and Venn than to the quantifier-centred languages which have predominated amongst analytic philosophers since the time of Frege and Russell. Analytic philosophical arguments against moments, and against the entire project of a formal ontology, are considered and rejected. The paper concludes with a brief account of some applications of the theory presented. (shrink)
This book contains selected papers from the First International Conference on the Ontology of Spacetime. Its fourteen chapters address two main questions: first, what is the current status of the substantivalism/relationalism debate, and second, what about the prospects of presentism and becoming within present-day physics and its philosophy? The overall tenor of the four chapters of the book’s first part is that the prospects of spacetime substantivalism are bleak, although different possible positions remain with respect to the ontological status (...) of spacetime. Part II and Part III of the book are devoted to presentism, eternalism, and becoming, from two different perspectives. In the six chapters of Part II it is argued, in different ways, that relativity theory does not have essential consequences for these issues. It certainly is true that the structure of time is different, according to relativity theory, from the one in classical theory. But that does not mean that a decision is forced between presentism and eternalism, or that becoming has proved to be an impossible concept. It may even be asked whether presentism and eternalism really offer different ontological perspectives at all. The writers of the last four chapters, in Part III, disagree. They argue that relativity theory is incompatible with becoming and presentism. Several of them come up with proposals to go beyond relativity, in order to restore the prospects of presentism. · Space and time in present-day physics and philosophy · Relatively low level of technicality, easily accessible · Introduction from scratch of the debates surrounding time · Top authors explaining their positions · Broad spectrum of approaches, coherently represented. (shrink)
This book gathers together thirteen of Peter van Inwagen's essays on metaphysics, several of which have acquired the status of modern classics in their field. They range widely across such topics as Quine's philosophy of quantification, the ontology of fiction, the part-whole relation, the theory of 'temporal parts', and human knowledge of modal truths. In addition, van Inwagen considers the question as to whether the psychological continuity theory of personal identity is compatible with materialism, and defends the thesis that (...) possible states of affairs are abstract objects, in opposition to David Lewis's 'extreme modal realism'. A specially-written introduction completes the collection, which will be an invaluable resource for anyone interested in metaphysics. (shrink)
The suggestion of Logical Quanta (LQ) is a bidirectional synthesis of the theory of logos of Maximus the Confessor and the philosophical interpretation of quantum mechanics. The result of such a synthesis is enrichment to the ontology of classical mechanics that enable us to have a unified view and an explanatory frame of the whole cosmos. It also enables us to overcome the Cartesian duality both on biology and the interaction of body and mind. Finally, one can reconstruct a (...) new understanding of religion. (shrink)
This paper studies the role of faces in animal life to gain insight into Merleau-Ponty's philosophy, especially his later ontology. The relation between animal faces and moving, animal bodies involves a peculiar, expressive logic. This logic echoes the physiognomic structure of perception that Merleau-Ponty detects in his earlier philosophy, and exemplifies and clarifies a logic elemental to his later ontology, especially to his concept of an invisible that is of (endogenous to) the visible. The question why the logic (...) of the face can manifest this analogy or homology with the logic of perception and ontology is treated through a study of embryology, which suggests that the logic of the face ramifies a deeper logic of being. Methodologically, the face is taken as something like a lens into the onto-logic of being. This lens suggests that what underlies Merleau-Ponty's later ontology is a logic of animality. (shrink)
Wittgenstein’s rule-following argument indicates that linguistic understanding does not consist in knowing interpretations, whereas Kripkenstein’s version suggests that meaning cannot be metaphysically fixed by interpretations. In the present paper, rule-following considerations are used to suggest that certain ontological questions cannot be answered by interpretations. Specifically, if the aim is to specify the ontology of a language, an interpretation cannot answer what object an expression of L denotes, if the interpretations are themselves L-expressions. Briefly, that’s because the ontology of (...) such interpretations, e.g., “ ‘Pollux’ denotes Pollux” or “ ‘Pollux’ denotes Beta Geminorum,” would naturally be in question as much as the expressions they interpret. So in order to settle the question of ontology, the interpretations themselves would need to be interpreted, and thus a regress. I conclude that knowing the answer to what ontology underlies L cannot be a matter of knowing interpretations. The paper ends with a quietist conclusion; the slogan is that empirical science is ontology enough, or rather, it is about all the ontology one should expect. (shrink)
This article spells out the reasons for calling God a substance and argues that theism nevertheless does not require substance ontology. It is compatible with an alternative ontology which I call stuff ontology.
From the time of Locke, discussions of personal identity have often ignored the question of our basic metaphysical nature: whether we human people are biological organisms, spatial or temporal parts of organisms, bundles of perceptions, or what have you. The result of this neglect has been centuries of wild proposals and clashing intuitions. What Are We? is the first general study of this important question. It beings by explaining what the question means and how it differs from others, such as (...) questions of personal identity and the mind-body problem. It then examines in some depth the main possible accounts of our metaphysical nature, detailing both their theoretical virtues and the often grave difficulties they face. The book does not endorse any particular account of what we are, but argues that the matter turns on more general issues in the ontology of material things. If composition is universal--if any material things whatever make up something bigger--then we are temporal parts of organisms. If things never compose anything bigger, so that there are only mereological simples, then we too are simples--perhaps the immaterial substances of Descartes--or else we do not exist at all (a view Olson takes very seriously). The intermediate view that some things compose bigger things and others do not leads almost inevitably to the conclusion that we are organisms. So we can discover what we are by working out when composition occurs. (shrink)
The application of digital humanities techniques to philosophy is changing the way scholars approach the discipline. This paper seeks to open a discussion about the difficulties, methods, opportunities, and dangers of creating and utilizing a formal representation of the discipline of philosophy. We review our current project, the Indiana Philosophy Ontology (InPhO) project, which uses a combination of automated methods and expert feedback to create a dynamic computational ontology for the discipline of philosophy. We argue that our distributed, (...) expert-based approach to modeling the discipline carries substantial practical and philosophical benefits over alternatives. We also discuss challenges facing our project (and any other similar project) as well as the future directions for digital philosophy afforded by formal modeling. (shrink)
We begin by describing recent developments in the burgeoning discipline of applied ontology, focusing especially on the ways ontologies are providing a means for the consistent representation of scientific data. We then introduce Basic Formal Ontology (BFO), a top-level ontology that is serving as domain-neutral framework for the development of lower level ontologies in many specialist disciplines, above all in biology and medicine. BFO is a bicategorial ontology, embracing both three-dimensionalist (continuant) and four-dimensionalist (occurrent) perspectives within (...) a single framework. We examine how BFO-conformant domain ontologies can deal with the consistent representation of scientific data deriving from the measurement of processes of different types, and we outline on this basis the first steps of an approach to the classification of such processes within the BFO framework. (shrink)
Formal ontology as it is presented in Husserl`s Third Logical Investigation can be interpreted as a fundamental tool to describe objects in a formal sense. It is presented one of the main sources: chapter five of Carl Stumpf`s Ûber den psycholoogischen Ursprung der Raumovorstellung (1873), and then it is described how Husserlian Formal Ontology is applied in Fifth Logical Investigation. Finally, it is applied to dramatic structures, in the spirit of Roman Ingarden.
The somewhat old-fashioned concept of philosophical categories is revived and put to work in automated ontology building. We describe a project harvesting knowledge from Wikipedia’s category network in which the principled ontological structure of Cyc was leveraged to furnish an extra layer of accuracy-checking over and above more usual corrections which draw on automated measures of semantic relatedness.
To have an ontology is to interpret a world. In this paper we argue that the brain, viewed as a representational system aimed at interpreting our world, possesses an ontology too. It creates primitives and makes existence assumptions. It decomposes target space in a way that exhibits a certain invariance, which in turn is functionally significant. We will investigate which are the functional regularities guiding this decomposition process, by answering to the following questions: What are the explicit and (...) implicit assumptions about the structure of reality, which at the same time shape the causal profile of the brain's motor output and its representational deep structure, in particular of the conscious mind arising from it (its ''phenomenal output'')? How do they constrain high-level phenomena like conscious experience, the emergence of a first-person perspective, or social cognition? By reviewing a series of neuroscientific results and integrating them with a wider philosophical perspective, we will emphasize the contribution the motor system makes to this process. As it will be shown, the motor system constructs goals, actions, and intending selves as basic constituents of the world it interprets. It does so by assigning a single, unified causal role to them. Empirical evidence demonstrates that the brain models movements and action goals in terms of multimodal representations of organism-object-relations. Under a representationalist analysis, this process can be conceived of as an internal, dynamic representation of the intentionality-relation itself. We will show how such a complex form of representational content, once it is in place, can later function as a functional building block for social cognition and for a more complex, consciously experienced representation of the first-person perspective as well. (shrink)
In this article I develop a theory of political ontology, working to differentiate it from traditional political philosophy and Schmittian political theology. As with political theology, political ontology has its primary grounding not in disinterested contemplation from the standpoint of pure reason, but rather in a confrontation with an existential problem. Yet while for Schmitt this is the problem of how to live and think in obedience to God, the problem for political ontology is the question of (...) being. Thus the political ontologist agrees with the political theologian that the political cannot be thought without an awareness of an irreducible exigency – the fact that one thinks as situated in response to a certain moral or ethical demand – but it takes this demand to consist not in divine revelation, but rather in the fact that the human being is a being for which being is at issue. With this definition in mind I go on to read Giorgio Agamben in resolutely ontological terms, arguing that his concepts of bare life and the exception are largely unintelligible if understood ontically. Instead, these concepts are part of a critique that has as its primary target not the ontic political systems and material institutions of modern states but rather the (negative) metaphysical ground of those systems. Political ontology insists on the intertwining of ontology and politics, claiming that theirs is a relation of mutual determination. (shrink)
The characteristic feature of phenomenology is the phenomenological constraint it exerts on its concepts: they should be embodied in concrete cases. Now, one might take that that possible match between concepts and the given would require some ontological foundation: as if the general determination provided by the concept should correspond to a particular piece of given to be found in the object itself as an abstract ‘moment’. Phenomenology would then call for an ontology of abstract particulars. Against such view, (...) the author advocates that such ontological foundation is flawed in principle, and that phenomenology as such does not call for any particular ontology: phenomenology rather introduces some kind of phenomenological constraint on the very way of ontological analysis. In order to determine what one can say to be in particular circumstances, one has to consider what one usually says to be in that kind of circumstances: on this alternative view, ontology rests on examples, as paradigmatic applications of concepts. The phenomenological move consists in disclosing how the very content of concepts depends on the ways they are applied, rather than what would be supposed to ‘correspond’ to them would depend on their alleged content—as if the latter was independent of any previous connection with the given. (shrink)
Terry Horgan and Mark Timmons’ work implies four criteria that moral phenomenology must be capable of meeting if it is to be a viable field of study that can make a worthwhile contribution to moral philosophy. It must be (a) about a unifed subject matter as well as being, (b) wide, (c) independent, and (d) robust. Contrary to some scepticism about the possibility or usefulness of this field, I suggest that these criteria can be met by elucidating the very foundations (...) of moral experience or what I call a moral ontology of the human person. I attempt to partially outline such an ontology by engaging with Robert Sokolowski's phenomenology of the human person from a moral perspective. My analysis of Sokolowski's thought leads me to five core ideas of a moral ontology of the human person: well-being, virtue, freedom, responsibility, and phronesis. Though I do not by any means boast a complete moral ontology of the human person, I go on to demonstrate how the account I have presented, or something like it, can go a long way to helping moral phenomenology meet the criteria it requires to be a viable and worthwhile pursuit. (shrink)
Meta-ontology (in van Inwagen's sense) concerns the methodology of ontology, and a controversial meta-ontological issue is to what extent ontology can rely on linguistic analysis while establishing the furniture of the world. This paper discusses an argument advanced by some ontologists (I call them unifiers) against supporters of or coincident entities (I call them multipliers) and its meta-ontological import. Multipliers resort to Leibniz's Law to establish that spatiotemporally coincident entities a and b are distinct, by pointing at (...) a predicate F () made true by a and false by b . Unifiers try to put multipliers in front of a dilemma: in attempting to introduce metaphysical differences on the basis of semantic distinctions, multipliers either (a) rest on a fallacy of verbalism, entailed by a trade-off between a de dicto and a de re reading of modal claims, or (b) beg the question against unifiers by having to assume the distinction between a and b beforehand. I shall rise a tu quoque, showing that unifiers couldn't even distinguish material objects (or events) from the spatiotemporal regions they occupy unless they also resorted to linguistic distinctions. Their methodological aim to emancipate themselves from linguistic analysis in ontological businesses is therefore problematic. (shrink)
The title of John Heil’s book From an Ontological Point of View is, of course, an adaptation of the title of Quine’s influential collection of essays From a Logical Point of View, published fifty years earlier in 1953. Quine’s book marked the beginning of a sea change in philosophy, away from ordinary language, armchair philosophising involving introspective examination of concepts, towards a more rigorous, analytical and scientific approach to answering philosophical questions. Heil’s book will, I think, mark the beginning of (...) another sea change in philosophy, this time, away from a focus on language, and towards a focus on ontology. For that reason, the replacement of ‘Logical’ with ‘Ontological’ in Heil’s title is apposite. This is not to deny that Quine, and analytic philosophy in his wake, was interested in ontology. Some of the most fundamental philosophical questions that have vexed philosophers in the last fifty years are ontological questions: Are there numbers? Are there properties? Are there events? And if there are any of these kinds of things, what is their nature? But post-Quinean philosophers often set about answering these questions by looking at the language we use when we talk about numbers, properties and events. For example, philosophers engaged in the debate between realists and nominalists about universals would ask whether talk of redness could be adequately paraphrased by talk of red things. If so, the nominalist concluded that we are not committed to the existence of universals. If not, the realist concluded that we cannot escape commitment to them. Heil recommends that we abandon this methodology, for it leads us up blind alleys and conceals more acceptable positions from us. We should instead turn our attention directly onto ontological matters. (shrink)
This collection explores the structure of consciousness and its place in the world, or inversely the structure of the world and the place of consciousness in it. Amongst the topics covered are: the phenomenological aspects of experience (inner awareness, self-awareness), dependencies between experience and the world (the role of the body in experience, the role of culturally formed background ideas) and the basic ontological categories found in the world at large (unity, state-of-affairs, connectedness, dependence and intentionality). Developing ideas drawn from (...) historical figures such as Descartes, Husserl, Aristotle, and Whitehead, the essays together demonstrate the interdependence of ontology and phenomenology and its significance for the philosophy of mind. (shrink)
Even though sign-systems are a crucial part of society, critical realism, as developed by Roy Bhaskar, does not yet have an adequate theory of signs and semiosis. The few suggestions that Bhaskar offers can be advanced through the semiotics of C.S. Peirce. In doing so, however, it becomes necessary to reconsider Bhaskar's ontological domains of the real, the actual, and the subjective, and expand the last domain into one of semiosis. This new understanding of ontological domains, incorporating Peirceian semiotics, provides (...) the basis for rethinking the ontology of society: the customary dyad structures/agents becomes the triad structures/agents/discourses, each of which possesses material, sociological, and meaningful aspects. (shrink)
I argue that the most promising approach to understanding J.J. Gibson's "affordances" takes affordances themselves as ontological primitives, instead of treating them as dispositional properties of more primitive things, events, surfaces, or substances. These latter are best treated as coalescences of affordances present in the environment (or "coalescences of use-potential," as in Sanders (1994) and Hilditch (1995)). On this view, even the ecological approach's stress on the complementary organism/environment pair is seen as expressing a particular affordance relation between the world (...) and the analyst. That the world is parsed in any way among events and objects, perceivers and worlds, etc., reflects equally features of certain real or possible perspectives on the world and features of the world itself. In section 1, I begin by contending that, contrary to the apparent expectations of some in the field, the bare existence of affordances is surely quite uncontroversial. In section 2, I argue that the most reasonable approach to foundational ontology is a relativistic one. In section 3, I address the claim that affordances must be ontologically complemented by effectivities for the sake of completeness, and I shall argue against that claim on grounds that I take to reflect some of Gibson's most important insights. This work will help to clarify the way affordances are to be used in the fourth and final section, where I argue that ontological work, even within special sciences, should not be merely "regional," and that the most attractive general approach to ontological questions is one that is based on affordances, rather than upon things, events, surfaces, and the like. (shrink)
Language understanding is one of the most important characteristics for human beings. As a pervasive phenomenon in natural language, metaphor is not only an essential thinking approach, but also an ingredient in human conceptual system. Many of our ways of thinking and experiences are virtually represented metaphorically. With the development of the cognitive research on metaphor, it is urgent to formulate a computational model for metaphor understanding based on the cognitive mechanism, especially with the view to promoting natural language understanding. (...) Many works have been done in pragmatics and cognitive linguistics, especially the discussions on metaphor understanding process in pragmatics and metaphor mapping representation in cognitive linguistics. In this paper, a theoretical framework for metaphor understanding based on the embodied mechanism of concept inquiry is proposed. Based on this framework, ontology is introduced as the knowledge representation method in metaphor understanding, and metaphor mapping is formulated as ontology mapping. In line with the conceptual blending theory, a revised conceptual blending framework is presented by adding a lexical ontology and context as the fifth mental space, and a metaphor mapping algorithm is proposed. (shrink)
Following a trajectory of thinking from the philosophy of Spinoza via the work of Nietzsche and through Deleuze's texts, this article explores the possibility of framing a contemporary pedagogical practice by an ontological order that does not presuppose the superiority of the mind over the body and that does not rely on universal morals but that considers instead, as its ontological point of departure, the actual bodies of children and pedagogues through what has come to be known as affective learning. (...) When considering the potentiality of a pure ontology, as outlined by Spinoza, I argue that Nietzsche's critique of higher values and universal morals allows for a deeper understanding of the limitations of a traditional image of thought. Furthermore, I argue that Deleuze's conception of the dogmatic image of thought can provide a helpful framework when connecting the work of the two aforementioned philosophers and when conceptualizing a possible image of thought based on the body as a singularity harboring flows of power, rather than one where the body is considered a necessary obstacle to be overcome in the quest for higher values that are situated always beyond the reach of the experiencing body. This philosophical discussion is then situated within the field of educational philosophy via the concept of affective learning which enables the incorporation of these ideas into a concrete educational setting. (shrink)
The present paper analyses the correctness of an argument aiming to show that Aristotelian ontology justifies a better interpretation of the world than naturalistic ontology. The problems connected with this argument can be reduced to three: (1) the assumption of a scientific appoach to the world does not imply the exclusion of subjectivity or intentionality; (2) the assumption of an ontology of substances does not imlpy the exclusion of ontological models deriving from the scientific approach to the (...) world; (3) the assumption of an ontology of substances is linked to the problem of the relation between the objective and the subjective world, involving the negation of causal closure of the objective world. An analysis of these problems will be presented below, together with a hypothesis of solution to the problem of illusoriness of the subjective dimension, in order to justify the confutation of an extreme naturalistic conception such as eliminativism. (shrink)
Standard microbial evolutionary ontology is organized according to a nested hierarchy of entities at various levels of biological organization. It typically detects and defines these entities in relation to the most stable aspects of evolutionary processes, by identifying lineages evolving by a process of vertical inheritance from an ancestral entity. However, recent advances in microbiology indicate that such an ontology has important limitations. The various dynamics detected within microbiological systems reveal that a focus on the most stable entities (...) (or features of entities) over time inevitably underestimates the extent and nature of microbial diversity. These dynamics are not the outcome of the process of vertical descent alone. Other processes, often involving causal interactions between entities from distinct levels of biological organisation, or operating at different time scales, are responsible not only for the destabilisation of pre-existing entities, but also for the emergence and stabilisation of novel entities in the microbial world. In this article we consider microbial entities as more or less stabilised functional wholes, and sketch a network-based ontology that can represent a diverse set of processes including, for example, as well as phylogenetic relations, interactions that stabilise or destabilise the interacting entities, spatial relations, ecological connections, and genetic exchanges. We use this pluralistic framework for evaluating (i) the existing ontological assumptions in evolution (e.g. whether currently recognized entities are adequate for understanding the causes of change and stabilisation in the microbial world), and (ii) for identifying hidden ontological kinds, essentially invisible from within a more limited perspective. We propose to recognize additional classes of entities that provide new insights into the structure of the microbial world, namely “processually equivalent” entities, “processually versatile” entities, and “stabilized” entities. (shrink)
In order to achieve genuine web intelligence, building some kind of large general machine-readable conceptual scheme (i.e. ontology) seems inescapable. Yet the past 20 years have shown that manual ontology-building is not practicable. The recent explosion of free user-supplied knowledge on the Web has led to great strides in automatic ontology building, but quality-control is still a major issue. Ideally one should automatically build onto an already intelligent base. We suggest that the long-running Cyc project is able (...) to assist here. We describe methods used to add 35K new concepts mined from Wikipedia to collections in ResearchCyc entirely automatically. Evaluation with 22 human subjects shows high precision both for the new concepts’ categorization, and their assignment as individuals or collections. Most importantly we show how Cyc itself can be leveraged for ontological quality control by ‘feeding’ it assertions one by one, enabling it to reject those that contradict its other knowledge. (shrink)
This is a ground-breaking study of the consequences of a central problem in Aristotle's Metaphysics in the interpretation given to it by Islamic and Christian Aristotelian philosophers: the relationship between individuals as individuals, and individuals as instances of a universal. Father Booth begins from an examination of the factors causing the aporia in the centre of Aristotle's ontology, going on to elaborate the way in which it occurred sometimes with confused reactions among the Greek, Syrian and Arab commentators, and (...) to note in particular the modifications to the weighting of elements in Aristotle's ontological figures (differing in detail, but in tendency the same) when his ontology was brought into the union with Platonist and other thought conventionally known as `Neoplatonism'. The discussion culminates in two chapters on the different reconciliations of the radical Aristotelian and the Neoplatonist traditions, proposed by Albertus Magnus and Thomas Aquinas, in which the factors in the aporia have a key importance. (shrink)
This paper critically examines the forays into metaphysics of The Dual Nature of Technical Artifacts Program (henceforth, DNP). I argue that the work of DNP is a valuable contribution to the epistemology of certain aspects of artifact design and use, but that it fails to advance a persuasive metaphysic. A central problem is that DNP approaches ontology from within a functionalist framework that is mainly concerned with ascriptions and justified beliefs. Thus, the materiality of artifacts emerges only as the (...) external conditions of realizability of function ascription. The work of DNP has a strong programmatic aspect and much of its foray into metaphysics is tentative, so the intent of my argument is partly synthetic: to sum up these issues as they are presented in the literature and highlight some recognized problems. But I also go beyond that, suggesting that these problems are foundational, arising from the very way in which DNP poses the question of artifact metaphysics. Although it sets out to incorporate objective aspects of technology, DNP places a strong focus on the intentional side of the purported matter-mind duality, bracketing off materiality in an irretrievable manner. Thus, some of the advantages of dualism are lost. I claim that DNP is dualistic, not merely based on “duality”, but that its version of dualism does not appropriately account for the material “nature” of artifacts. The paper ends by suggesting some correctives and alternatives to Dual Nature theory. (shrink)
In Scepticism and Animal Faith, Santayana pursues two projects: the development of a philosophy of animal faith and the presentation of an ontology. The two projects are not easily reconciled and Santayana appears not to have distinguished them or recognized that they pull in different directions. The hypothesis that he has two projects explains a variety of the anomalous features of Santayana's philosophy, including the account of matter concerning which Kerr-Lawson and I have long disagreed.
A collection of material on Husserl's Logical Investigations, and specifically on Husserl's formal theory of parts, wholes and dependence and its influence in ontology, logic and psychology. Includes translations of classic works by Adolf Reinach and Eugenie Ginsberg, as well as original contributions by Wolfgang Künne, Kevin Mulligan, Gilbert Null, Barry Smith, Peter M. Simons, Roger A. Simons and Dallas Willard. Documents work on Husserl's ontology arising out of early meetings of the Seminar for Austro-German Philosophy.
While classifications of mental disorders have existed for over one hundred years, it still remains unspecified what terms such as 'mental disorder', 'disease' and 'illness' might actually denote. While ontologies have been called in aid to address this shortfall since the GALEN project of the early 1990s, most attempts thus far have sought to provide a formal description of the structure of some pre-existing terminology or classification, rather than of the corresponding structures and processes on the side of the patient. (...) We here present a view of mental disease that is based on ontological realism and which follows the principles embodied in Basic Formal Ontology (BFO) and in the application of BFO in the Ontology of General Medical Science (OGMS). We analyzed statements about what counts as a mental disease provided (1) in the research agenda for the DSM-V, and (2) in Pies' model. The results were used to assess whether the representational units of BFO and OGMS were adequate as foundations for a formal representation of the entities in reality that these statements attempt to describe. We then analyzed the representational units specific to mental disease and provided corresponding definitions. Our key contributions lie in the identification of confusions and conflations in the existing terminology of mental disease and in providing what we believe is a framework for the sort of clear and unambiguous reference to entities on the side of the patient that is needed in order to avoid these confusions in the future. (shrink)
Nicolai Hartmann contributed significantly to the revitalization of the discipline of ontology in the early twentieth century. Developing a systematic, post-Kantian critical ontology ‘this side’ of idealism and realism, he subverted the widespread impression that philosophy must either exhaust itself in foundationalist epistemology or engage in system-building metaphysical excess. This essay provides an introduction to Hartmann’s approach in light of the recent translation of his early essay ‘How is Critical Ontology Possible?’ ( 1923 ) In it Hartmann (...) criticizes both the pretensions of epistemology as well as the principal errors of classical ontology, and he proposes a series of correctives that lead to his development of a highly original and elaborate stratified categorial ontology. This introduction explains the most important errors of the ‘old’ ontology, his correctives to them, and further fleshes out these correctives with reference to his mature ontological work. (shrink)
This unique collection examines the connections between two complementary approaches to philosophical social theory: Hegel-inspired theories of recognition (Anerkennung), and analytical social ontology.
A standard art-ontological position is to construe repeatable artworks as abstract objects that admit multiple concrete instances. Since photographic artworks are putatively repeatable, the ontology of photographic art is by default modelled after standard repeatable-work ontology. I argue, however, that the construal of photographic artworks as abstracta mistakenly ignores photography’s printmaking genealogy, specifically its ontological inheritance. More precisely, I claim that the products of printmaking media (prints) minimally must be construed in a manner consistent with basic print (...) class='Hi'>ontology, the most plausible model of which looks decidedly nominalist (what I call the relevant similarity model) and that as such, photographic artworks must be likewise construed, not as abstracta but as individual and distinct concreta. That is, the correct ontological account of photographic art must be one according to which photographic artworks are individual and distinct concrete artworks. In the end, I show that the ontology of photographic art resists the standard repeatable-work model because the putative repeatability of photographic artworks is upon closer inspection nothing more than the relevant similarity relation between individual and distinct photographic prints. (shrink)
In sections 1 through 5, I develop in detail what I call the standard theory of worlds and propositions, and I discuss a number of purported objections. The theory consists of five theses. The first two theses, presented in section 1, assert that the propositions form a Boolean algebra with respect to implication, and that the algebra is complete, respectively. In section 2, I introduce the notion of logical space: it is a field of sets that represents the propositional structure (...) and whose space consists of all and only the worlds. The next three theses, presented in sections 3, 4, and 5, respectively, guarantee the existence of logical space, and further constrain its structure. The third thesis asserts that the set of propositions true at any world is maximal consistent; the fourth thesis that any two worlds are separated by a proposition; the fifth thesis that only one proposition is false at every world. In sections 6 through 10, I turn to the problem of reduction. In sections 6 and 7, I show how the standard theory can be used to support either a reduction of worlds to propositions or a reduction of propositions to worlds. A number of proposition-based theories are developed in section 6, and compared with Adams's world-story theory. A world-based theory is developed in section?, and Stalnaker's account of the matter is discussed. Before passing judgment on the proposition based and world-based theories, I ask in sections 8 and 9 whether both worlds and propositions might be reduced to something else. In section 8, I consider reductions to linguistic entities; in section 9, reductions to unfounded sets. After rejecting the possibility of eliminating both worlds and propositions, I return in section 10 to the possibility of eliminating one in favor of the other. I conclude, somewhat tentatively, that neither worlds nor propositions should be reduced one to the other, that both worlds and propositions should be taken as basic to our ontology. (shrink)
Ontology is doubtless the most important part of Roman Ingarden’s (1893-1970) philosophy. Contrary to Husserl, Ingarden always believed that any serious philosophical investigation must involve an ontological basis and he tried to formulate a solid ontological framework for his philosophy. There are several reasons why this ontology deserves our attention. For those who are interested in Husserl’s transcendental phenomenology, Ingarden’s ontology could be treated as an ingenious attempt to analyse the conceptual structure and hidden ontological assumptions of (...) Husserl’s transcendental idealism. For those who want to understand the immanent dialectics of the post-Brentanian development of the ontology of intentionality, Ingarden’s conception of the purely intentional object could be a very valuable tool. But Ingarden’s ontology has also independent value, and hence it is also interesting for those who pursue ontology for its own sake. In this paper, I will investigate the basic scheme of Ingarden’s ontology, including pure qualities, individual real objects, purely intentional objects and ideas. This schema will prove to be in many aspects generated by his phenomenological, i.e. descriptive and anti-reductionist, ideology. (shrink)
In view of the presertt state of development of non cktssicallogic, especially of paraconsistent logic, a new stand regardmg the relatzons between logtc and ontology is deferded In a parody of a dicturn of Quine, my stand may be summarized as follows To be is to be the value of a vanable a specific language with a given underlymg logic Yet my stand differs from Qutne's, because, among other reasons, I accept some first order heterodox logIcs as genutne alternatwes (...) to ciassical logic I aiso discuss some questions of non classical logic to substantzate my argument, and suggest that rny position complements and extends some uleas advanced by L Apostei. (shrink)
Although better known for his phenomenology of perception and the perceived world, Merleau-Ponty’s writings also contain the outlines of a rich and unique account of the imagination and the imaginary. In this paper, I explicate the phenomenology of the image that Merleau-Ponty develops throughout his work. I show how Merleau-Ponty develops this account of the image in critical response to Sartre and in a way that follows from his own descriptions of what painters do when they paint and of what (...) we experience when we look at their paintings. The investigation of the particular mode of being of images leads to a consideration of the body and Merleau-Ponty’s later ontology. (shrink)
Ontology is a burgeoning field, involving researchers from the computer science, philosophy, data and software engineering, logic, linguistics, and terminology domains. Many ontology-related terms with precise meanings in one of these domains have different meanings in others. Our purpose here is to initiate a path towards disambiguation of such terms. We draw primarily on the literature of biomedical informatics, not least because the problems caused by unclear or ambiguous use of terms have been there most thoroughly addressed. We (...) advance a proposal resting on a distinction of three levels too often run together in biomedical ontology research: 1. the level of reality; 2. the level of cognitive representations of this reality; 3. the level of textual and graphical artifacts. We propose a reference terminology for ontology research and development that is designed to serve as common hub into which the several competing disciplinary terminologies can be mapped. We then justify our terminological choices through a critical treatment of the ‘concept orientation’ in biomedical terminology research. (shrink)
Toward an ontology of the social-historical -- Proto-institutions and epistemological encounters -- Anthropological aspects of subjectivity: the radical imagination -- Hermeneutical horizons of meaning -- The rediscovery of physis -- Objective knowledge in review -- Rethinking the world of the living being -- Reimaging cosmology -- Conclusion: the circle of creation.
This paper explores the ontology of musical improvisation (MI). MI, as process in which creative and performing activities are one and the same generative occurrence, is contrasted with the most widespread conceptual resource used in inquiries about music ontology of the Western tradition: the type/token duality (TtD). TtD, which is used for explaining the relationship between musical works (MWs) and performances, does not fit for MI. Nonetheless MI can be ontologically related to MWs. A MW can ensue from (...) MI and MI can be required for performing a MW faithfully. As performance on a MW, MI can offer versions of a MW, manifest a MW, and, especially, use it as one of its ‘ingredients’. Recordings of MI present special challenges and an unexpected ontological revival. (shrink)
It is often claimed that the beginnings of Brentano’s ontology were Aristotelian in nature; but this claim is only partially true. Certainly the young Brentano adopted many elements of Aristotle’s metaphysics, and he was deeply influenced by the Aristotelian way of doing philosophy. But he always interpreted Aristotle’s ideas in his own fashion. He accepted them selectively, and he used them in the service of ends that would not have been welcomed by Aristotle himself. The present paper is an (...) exposition of the development of Brentano’s ontology, beginning with the Lectures on Metaphysics first delivered by Brentano in Würzburg in 1867 and concluding with his late work from 1904–1917. (shrink)
In his ontological works Kurt Grelling tries to give a rigorous analysis of the foundations of the so-called Gestalt-psychology. Gestalten are peculiar emergent qualities, ontologically dependent on their foundations, but nonetheless non reducible to them. Grelling shows that this concept, as used in psychology and ontology, is often ambiguous. He distinguishes two important meanings in which the word “Gestalt” is used: Gestalten as structural aspects available to transposition and Gestalten as causally self-regulating wholes. Gestalten in the first meaning are, (...) according to Grelling, “equivalence classes of correspondences”, while Gestalten as self-regulating wholes have more to do with relations of ontological dependence. Grelling’s clarification of the concept of Gestalt is doubtless an excellent piece of philosophical analysis, but at the end of the day it turns out that his analysis captures at best only a part of intuitions traditionally connected with the notion of Gestalt. (shrink)
The present essay examines the conflicting ontological assumptions that one can find behind the word dao in the texts of the Laozi and Zhuangzi and argues that the relative indifference to these texts toward whether or not dao has an ontic reality should not be considered a flaw of early Daoism. Rather, the historical process by which the term dao collects various possible ontological implications can be thought of as a philosophical stance in its own right. That is, if the (...) terms which one is obliged to use in discussing the immaterial necessarily hide, at least as much as they explain, the nature of Being, then it is a reasonable response to decline to ground one’s ethics in an ontology, and that while the resulting philosophy may not qualify as a fully-adumbrated system, this does not diminish its potential usefulness. (shrink)
Part 1. Expression in Merleau-Ponty's aesthetics -- 1. Primordial perception and artistic expression: Merleau-Ponty and Cezanne -- 2. Expression, institution, and the field: a searching itinerary -- 3. Painterly and phenomenological interrogation in "Eye and mind" -- Part 2. Expression in animal life -- 4. The expressivity of animal behavior: embryogenesis and environing worlds -- 5. The expressivity of animal appearance and of directive and instinctual activities -- Part 3. Expression in Merleau-Ponty's ontology -- 6. The role of expression (...) in Merleau-Ponty's dialogue with the rationalists -- 7. The irreducibility of expression: Merleau-Ponty's ontology and its wider implications -- Concluding thoughts. (shrink)
The computational genomics community has come increasingly to rely on the methodology of creating annotations of scientific literature using terms from controlled structured vocabularies such as the Gene Ontology (GO). We here address the question of what such annotations signify and of how they are created by working biologists. Our goal is to promote a better understanding of how the results of experiments are captured in annotations in the hope that this will lead to better representations of biological reality (...) through both the annotation process and ontology development, and in more informed use of the GO resources by experimental scientists. (shrink)
This provocative new book attempts to resolve traditional problems of identity over time. It seeks to answer such questions as "How is it that an object can survive change?" and "How much change can an object undergo without being destroyed?" To answer these questions Professor Heller presents a completely new theory about the nature of physical objects and about the relationship between our language and the physical world. According to his theory, the only actually existing physical entities are what the (...) author calls "hunks," four dimensional objects extending across time and space. This is a major new contribution to ontological debate and will be essential reading for all philosophers concerned with metaphysics. (shrink)
Mental, mathematical, and moral facts are difficult to accommodate within an overall worldview due to the peculiar kinds of properties inherent to them. In this paper I argue that a significant class of social entities also presents us with an ontological puzzle that has thus far not been addressed satisfactorily. This puzzle relates to the location of certain social entities. Where, for instance, are organizations located? Where their members are, or where their designated offices are? Organizations depend on their members (...) for their existence, but the members of an organization can be where the organization is not. The designated office of an organization, however, need be little more than a mailbox. I argue that the problem can be solved by conceptualizing the relation between social entities and non-social entities as one of constitution, a relation of unity without identity. Constituted objects have properties that cannot be reduced to properties of the constituting objects. Thus, my attempt to solve the Location Problem results in an argument in favor of a kind of non-reductive materialism about the social. (shrink)
This article defends linguistic descent in contrast to the possibility of linguistic ascent or the formal mode in metaphysics. We can go both ways, but metaphysics metaphysically defined presupposes metaphysics conceptualstically defined, which presupposes metaphysicas ontologially defined. Predicates implie abstract concepts (categories in metaphysics), and abstract oncepts presuppose the concrete qualities from which they are abstracted. A distinction is made between any quality and that which has the quality. This article contains a refutation of Kant on the ontological argument. Being, (...) conceived as instantiation, is a predicate once we posit universal properties instantiated by whatever is. The article, in the author's subequent work, leads to an explicit nominalism which asserts universals only as practical postulates of theoretical reason, i.e., logical discourse. Qualities are unique, not open to multiple instantiation. (shrink)
The goal of the paper is to analyse some specific features of a very central concept for top-level ontologies for information systems: i.e. the concept of artefact. Specifically, we analyse the relation to be a copy of that is strongly linked to the notion of artefact andâas we will demonstrateâcould be useful to distinguish artefacts from objects of other kinds. Firstly, we outline some intuitive and commonsensical reasons for the need of a clarification of the notion of artefact in ontologies (...) for information systems, and we analyse some characterisations of the notion given by two top-level ontologies (Cyc and Wordnet). Secondly, we introduce and critically analyse Tzouvarasâ notion of copy. Thirdly, we try to complete an analysis of copy by distinguishing three kinds of copies: replicas (Tzouvarasâ notion of copy), rigid copies, and functional copies. With the help of these three notions we outline a first and preliminary distinction between artefacts, objects of art and natural objects. (shrink)
This article deals with the euthanasia debate in light of new life-sustaining technologies such as the left ventricular assist device (LVAD). The question arises: does the switching off of a LVAD by a doctor upon the request of a patient amount to active or passive euthanasia, i.e. to ‘killing’ or to ‘letting die’? The answer hinges on whether the device is to be regarded as a proper part of the patient's body or as something external. We usually regard the switching (...) off of an internal device as killing, whereas the deactivation of an external device is seen as ‘letting die’. The case is notoriously difficult to decide for hybrid devices such as LVADs, which are partly inside and partly outside the patient's body. Additionally, on a methodological level, I will argue that the ‘ontological’ arguments from analogy given for both sides are problematic. Given the impasse facing the ontological arguments, complementary phenomenological arguments deserve closer inspection. In particular, we should consider whether phenomenologically the LVAD is perceived as a body part or as an external device. I will support the thesis that the deactivation of a LVAD is to be regarded as passive euthanasia if the device is not perceived by the patient as a part of the body proper. (shrink)
As available intelligence data and information expand in both quantity and variety, new techniques must be deployed for search and analytics. One technique involves the semantic enhancement of data through the creation of what are called ‘ontologies’ or ‘controlled vocabularies.’ When multiple different bodies of heterogeneous data are tagged by means of terms from common ontologies, then these data become linked together in ways which allow more effective retrieval and integration. We describe a simple case study to show how these (...) benefits are being achieved, and we describe our strategy for developing a suite of ontologies to serve the needs of the war-fighter in the ever more complex battlespace environments of the future. (shrink)
Epistemic reasons are mental states. They are not propositions or non-mental facts. The discussion proceeds as follows. Section 1 introduces the topic. Section 2 gives two concrete examples of how our topic directly affects the internalism/externalism debate in normative epistemology. Section 3 responds to an argument against the view that reasons are mental states. Section 4 presents two problems for the view that reasons are propositions. Section 5 presents two problems for the view that reasons are non-mental facts. Section 6 (...) argues that reasons are mental states. Section 7 responds to objections. (shrink)
This paper provides an axiomatic formalization of a theory of foundational relations between three categories of entities: individuals, universals, and collections. We deal with a variety of relations between entities in these categories, including the is-a relation among universals and the part-of relation among individuals as well as cross-category relations such as instance-of, member-of, and partition-of. We show that an adequate understanding of the formal properties of such relations – in particular their behavior with respect to time – is critical (...) for formal ontology. We provide examples to support this thesis from the domain of biomedicine. (shrink)
Modern philosophy is, for what appear to be good reasons, uniformly hostile to sui generis final causes. And motivated to develop philosophically and scientifically plausible interpretations, scholars have increasingly offered reductivist and eliminitivist accounts of Aristotle's teleological commitment. This trend in contemporary scholarship is misguided. We have strong grounds to believe Aristotle accepted unreduced sui generis teleology, and reductivist and eliminitivist accounts face insurmountable textual and philosophical difficulties. We offer Aristotelians cold comfort by replacing his apparent view with failed accounts. (...) And so we ought to admit Aristotle’s prima facie commitments and deal with — if not accept — the consequences. (shrink)
In a series of papers over a period of several years Barry Smith andWerner Ceusters have offered a number of cogent criticisms of historical approaches to creating, maintaining, and applying biomedical terminologies and ontologies. And they have urged the adoption of what they refer to as a “realism-based” approach. Indeed, at times they insist that the realism-based approach not only offers clear advantages and a well-founded methodological basis for ontology development and evaluation, but that such a realist perspective is (...) in fact necessary for understanding and using terminologies and ontologies in science. -/- This paper explores a number of questions surrounding such claims, provides a careful characterization of the type of realism recommended by Smith and Ceusters, and evaluates the role that realism plays in the critiques and recommendations that they offer. The conclusion reached is that while Smith’s and Ceusters’ criticisms of prior practice in the treatment of ontologies and terminologies in medical informatics are often both perceptive and well founded, and while at least some of their own proposals demonstrate obvious merit and promise, none of this either follows from or requires the brand of realism that they propose. (shrink)
Even among those philosophers who hold particular aspects of Hegel's philosophy in high regard, there have been few since the 19th century who have found Hegel's "metaphysics" plausible, and just as few not sceptical about the coherency of the "logical" project on which it is meant to be based. Indeed, against the type of work characteristic of the late nineteenth-century logical revolution which issued in modern analytic philosophy, it is often difficult to see exactly how Hegel's "logical" writings can be (...) read as a contribution to logic at all. Furthermore, any tendency toward skepticism here can only have been reinforced by the well-known views of Bertrand Russell about the logical inadequacy of the "Hegelian" approach of his predecessors. (shrink)
The present essay is devoted to the application of ontology in support of research in the natural sciences. It defends the thesis that ontologies developed for such purposes should be understood as having as their subject matter, not concepts, but rather the universals and particulars which exist in reality and are captured in scientific laws. We outline the benefits of a view along these lines by showing how it yields rigorous formal definitions of the foundational relations used in many (...) influential ontologies, illustrating our results by reference to examples drawn from the domain of the life sciences. (shrink)
Roderick Chisholm has been for many years one of the most important and influential philosophers contributing to metaphysics, philosophy of mind, and epistemology. This book can be viewed as a summation of his views on an enormous range of topics in metaphysics and epistemology. Yet it is written in the terse, lucid, unpretentious style that has become a hallmark of Chisholm's work. The book is an original treatise designed to defend an original, non-Aristotelian theory of categories. Chisholm argues that there (...) are necessary things and contingent things; necessary things being things that are not capable of coming into being or passing away. He defends the argument from design, and thus includes the category of necessary substance (God). Further contentions of the essay are that attributes are also necessary beings, but not necessary substances, and that human beings are contingent substances but may not be material substances. (shrink)
This is a book about the concept of a physical thing and about how the names of things relate to the things they name. It questions the prevalent view that names 'refer to' or 'denote' the things they name. Instead it presents a new theory of proper names, according to which names express certain special properties that the things they name exhibit. This theory leads to some important conclusions about whether things have any of their properties as a matter of (...) necessity. This will be an important book for philosophers in metaphysics and the philosophy of language, though it will also interest linguists concerned with the semantics of natural language. (shrink)
A picture of the world as chiefly one of discrete objects, distributed in space and time, has sometimes seemed compelling. It is however one of the main targets of Henry Laycock's book; for it is seriously incomplete. The picture, he argues, leaves no space for "stuff" like air and water. With discrete objects, we may always ask "how many?," but with stuff the question has to be "how much?" Laycock's fascinating exploration also addresses key logical and linguistic questions about the (...) way we categorize the many and the much. (shrink)
In recent years methodological debates in the social sciences have increasingly focused on issues relating to epistemology. Realism and Sociology makes an original contribution to the debate, charting a middle ground between postmodernism and positivism.
The world of ontology development is full of mysteries. Recently, ISO Standard 15926 (“Lifecycle Integration of Process Plant Data Including Oil and Gas Production Facilities”), a data model initially designed to support the integration and handover of large engineering artefacts, has been proposed by its principal custodian for general use as an upper level ontology. As we shall discover, ISO 15926 is, when examined in light of this proposal, marked by a series of quite astonishing defects, which may (...) however provide general lessons for the developers of ontologies in the future. (shrink)
Art as abstract machine -- The artist-philosopher : Deleuze, Nietzsche, and the critical art of affirmation -- Spinoza : mystical atheism, and the art of beatitude -- We need new signs : towards a cinematic image of thought -- A freedom for the end of the world : painting and absolute deterritorialisation -- Songs of molecules : the chaosmosis of sensation -- The agitations of convulsive life : painting the flesh -- Conclusion, a break, a becoming, and a belief.
Increasingly, in data-intensive areas of the life sciences, experimental results are being described in algorithmically useful ways with the help of ontologies. Such ontologies are authored and maintained by scientists to support the retrieval, integration and analysis of their data. The proposition to be defended here is that ontologies of this type – the Gene Ontology (GO) being the most conspicuous example – are a part of science. Initial evidence for the truth of this proposition (which some will find (...) self-evident) is the increasing recognition of the importance of empirically-based methods of evaluation to the ontology development work being undertaken in support of scientific research. Ontologies created by scientists must, of course, be associated with implementations satisfying the requirements of software engineering. But the ontologies are not themselves engineering artifacts, and to conceive them as such brings grievous consequences. Rather, ontologies such as the GO are in different respects comparable to scientific theories, to scientific databases, and to scientific journal publications. Such a view implies a new conception of what is involved in the authoring, maintenance and application of ontologies in scientific contexts, and therewith also a new approach to the evaluation of ontologies and to the training of ontologists. (shrink)
Affective science conducts interdisciplinary research into the emotions and other affective phenomena. Currently, such research is hampered by the lack of common definitions of te rms used to describe, categorise and report both individual emotional experiences and the results of scientific investigations of such experiences. High quality ontologies provide formal definitions for types of entities in reality and for the relationships between such entities, definitions which can be used to disambiguate and unify data across different disciplines. Heretofore, there has been (...) little effort directed towards such formal representation for affective phenomena, in part because of widespread debates within the affective science community on matters of definition and categorization. We describe our efforts towards developing an Emotion Ontology (EMO) to serve the affective science community. We here focus on conformity to the BFO upper ontology and disambiguation of polysemous terminology. (shrink)
According to a view attractive to both metaphysicians and ethicists, every period in a person’s life is the life of a being just like that person except that it exists only during that period. These “subpeople” appear to have moral status, and their interests seem to clash with ours: though it may be in some person’s interests to sacrifice for tomorrow, it is not in the interests of a subperson coinciding with him only today, who will never benefit from it. (...) Or perhaps there is no clash, and a subperson’s interests derive from those of the person it coincides with. But this makes it likely that our own interests derive from those of other beings coinciding with us. (shrink)
Considerations regarding predication in ordinary language as well as the ontology of relations suggest a refinement of the Ontological Square, a conceptual scheme used in many foundational ontologies and which consists of particular substrates as well as their types on the one hand and particular attributes as well as their types on the other hand. First, the distinction between particulars and universals turns out to be one of degree, since particulars are merely the least elements in the subsumption hierarchy. (...) Second, relations may be analysed in terms of roles as ways of participating in events. In consequence, the Logic of the Ontological Square proposed in (Schneider 2009) has to be revised accordingly. (shrink)