Many types of part-wholerelations have been proposed in the literature to aid the conceptual modeller to choose the most appropriate type, but many of those relations lack a formal specification to give clear and unambiguous semantics to them. To remedy this, a formal taxonomy of types of mereological and meronymic part-wholerelations is presented that distinguishes between transitive and intransitive relations and the kind of entity types that are related. The demand to use (...) it effectively brings afore new requirements for automated reasoning over a hierarchy of relations. To ensure logically and ontologically correct inferencing over both the class and role hierarchy, the new reasoning service RBox compatibility for Description Logics reasoners is introduced. The proposed combination of formal semantics and the new reasoning service will improve the representation of the application domain when using part-wholerelations in conceptual models and ontologies. (shrink)
A recurring problem in conceptual modelling and ontology development is the representation of part-wholerelations, with a requirement to be able to distinguish between essential and mandatory parts. To solve this problem, we formally characterize the semantics of these shareability notions by resorting to the temporal conceptual model E RVT and its formalization in the description logic DLRUS.
Representing parthood relations in ORM has received little attention, despite its added-value of the semantics at the conceptual level. We introduce a high-level taxonomy of types of meronymic and mereological relations, use it to construct a decision procedure to determine which type of part-whole role is applicable, and incrementally add mandatory and uniqueness constraints. This enables the conceptual modeller to develop models that are closer to the real-world subject domain semantics, hence improve quality of the software.
This paper develops the notion of a situated part structure and applies it to the semantics of the modifiers 'whole' and 'individual'. It argues that the ambiguity of 'whole' should be traced to two different conceptions of part structures of objects being at play: one according to which the parts of an objects are just the material parts and another, Aristotelian conception according to which the parts of an object include properties of form.
Rudolf Leuckart's 1851 pamphlet Ueber den Polymorphismus der Individuen (On the polymorphism of individuals) stood at the heart of naturalists' discussions on biological individuals, parts and wholes in mid-nineteenth-century Britain and Europe. Our analysis, which accompanies the first translation of this pamphlet into English, situates Leuckart's contribution to these discussions in two ways. First, we present it as part of a complex conceptual knot involving not only individuality and the understanding of compound organisms, but also the alternation of generations, the (...) division of labor in nature, and the possibility of finding general laws of the organic world. Leuckart's pamphlet is important as a novel attempt to give order to the strands of this knot. It also solved a set of key biological problems in a way that avoided some of the drawbacks of an earlier teleological tradition. Second, we situate the pamphlet within a longer trajectory of inquiry into part-wholerelations in biology from the mid-eighteenth century to the present. We argue that biological individuality, along with the problem-complexes with which it engaged, was as central a problem to naturalists before 1859 as evolution, and that Leuckart's contributions to it left a long legacy that persisted well into the twentieth century. As biologists' interests in part-wholerelations are once again on the upswing, the longue durée of this problem merits renewed consideration. (shrink)
We can see mereology as a theory of parthood and topology as a theory of wholeness. How can these be combined to obtain a unified theory of parts and wholes? This paper examines various non-equivalent ways of pursuing this task, with specific reference to its relevance to spatio-temporal reasoning. In particular, three main strategies are compared: (i) mereology and topology as two independent (though mutually related) chapters; (ii) mereology as a general theory subsuming topology; (iii) topology as a general theory (...) subsuming mereology. Some more speculative strategies and directions for further research are also considered. (shrink)
Using the notorious bridge law “water is H 2 O” and the relation between molecular structure and quantum mechanics as examples, I argue that it doesn’t make sense to aim for specific definition(s) of intertheoretical or interdiscourse relation(s) between chemistry and physics (reduction, supervenience, what have you). Proposed definitions of interdiscourse and part-wholerelations are interesting only if they provide insight in the variegated interconnected patchwork of theories and beliefs. There is “automatically” some sort of interdiscourse relation if (...) different discourses claim to have something to say about the same situation (event, system), which is the basis of (contingent) local supervenience relations, which, proper empirically support being provided, can be upgraded to ceteris paribus bridge laws. Because of the ceteris paribus feature, and the discourse dependence of event identification, there is at best only global supervenience of the “special sciences” on the physical (and of parts of physics on other parts of physics). (shrink)
The centrality of the whole/part relation in mathematics is demonstrated through the presentation and analysis of examples from algebra, geometry, functional analysis,logic, topology and category theory.
It is often held that according to Aristotle the city is a natural organism. One major reason for this organic interpretation is no doubt that Aristotle describes the relationship between the individual and the city as a part-whole relationship, seemingly the same relationship that holds between the parts of a natural organism and the organism itself. Moreover, some scholars (most notably Jonathan Barnes) believe this view of the city led Aristotle to accept an implicit totalitarianism. I argue, however, that (...) an investigation of the various ways Aristotle describes parts and wholes reveals that for Aristotle the city has a unity (and thus a nature) quite different from that of a natural organism. (shrink)
This is the second in a sequence of three essays which axiomatize and apply Edmund Husserl's dependence ontology of parts and wholes as a non-Diodorean, non-Kantian temporal semantics for first-order predicate modal languages. The Ontology of Intentionality I introduced enough of Husserl's dependence-ontology of parts and wholes to formulate his account of order as effected by relating moments of unity, and The Ontology of Intentionality II extends that axiomatic dependence-ontology far enough to enable its semantic application. Formalizing the compatibility [Vereinbarkeit] (...) relation implicated in Husserl's notorious doctrine of impossible meanings, the essay introduces a compatibility restriction on relations to formulate Husserl's distinction between singular [einheitliche] and plural [mehrheitliche] objects, using plural relating moments to define first-order versions of Husserl's notions of relation complexes (i.e. Sachverhalte), abstracta of n-ary relation complexes, categorial relations, abstract eide as unifications of categorial relations, semantic domains as completions of abstract eide, and material regions as semantic domains which are compatibility upper bounds of categorial relations. These concepts will enable the formal dependence-ontological noetic semantics for two-valued, first-order modal languages introduced in the sequel Two-Valued Logics of Intentionality, the third essay in the sequence. (shrink)
I relate plural quantification, and predicate logic where predicates do not need a fixed number of argument places, to the part-whole relation. For more on these themes see later work by Boolos, Lewis, and Oliver & Smiley.
Efforts to bridge emotion theory with neurobiology can be facilitated by dynamic systems (DS) modeling. DS principles stipulate higher-order wholes emerging from lower-order constituents through bidirectional causal processes cognition relations. I then present a psychological model based on this reconceptualization, identifying trigger, self-amplification, and self-stabilization phases of emotion-appraisal states, leading to consolidating traits. The article goes on to describe neural structures and functions involved in appraisal and emotion, as well as DS mechanisms of integration by which they interact. These (...) mechanisms include nested feedback interactions, global effects of neuromodulation, vertical integration, action-monitoring, and synaptic plasticity, and they are modeled in terms of both functional integration and temporal synchronization. I end by elaborating the psychological model of emotion–appraisal states with reference to neural processes. (shrink)
We examine some assumptions about the nature of 'levels of reality' in the light of examples drawn from physics. Three central assumptions of the standard view of such levels (for instance, Oppenheim and Putnam 1958) are (i) that levels are populated by entities of varying complexity, (ii) that there is a unique hierarchy of levels, ranging from the very small to the very large, and (iii) that the inhabitants of adjacent levels are related by the parthood relation. Using examples from (...) physics, we argue that it is more natural to view the inhabitants of levels as the behaviors of entities, rather than entities themselves. This suggests an account of reduction between levels, according to which one behavior reduces to another if the two are related by an appropriate limit relation. By considering cases where such inter-level reduction fails, we show that the hierarchy of behaviors differs in several respects from the standard hierarchy of entities. In particular, while on the standard view, lower-level entities are 'micro' parts of higher-level entities, on our view, a system's macro-level behavior can be seen as a ('non-spatial') part of its micro-level behavior. We argue that this second hierarchy is not really in conflict with the standard view and that it better suits examples of explanation in science. (shrink)
The paper outlines a model-theoretic framework for investigating and comparing a variety of mereotopological theories. In the first part we consider different ways of characterizing a mereotopology with respect to (i) the intended interpretation of the connection primitive, and (ii) the composition of the admissible domains of quantification (e.g., whether or not they include boundary elements). The second part extends this study by considering two further dimensions along which different patterns of topological connection can be classified - the strength of (...) the connection and its multiplicity. (shrink)
A well-known ``overdetermination''argument aims to show that the possibility of mental causes of physical events in a causally closed physical world and the possibility of causally relevant mental properties are both problematic. In the first part of this paper, I extend an identity reply that has been given to the first problem to a property-instance account of causal relata. In the second, I argue that mental types are composed of physical types and, as a consequence, both mental and physical types (...) may be causally relevant with respect to the same physical effect, contrary to the overdetermination argument. In further sections, I argue that mental types have causal powers, consider some objections and reject an alternative version of part-whole physicalism. Throughout I assume that causal relata are tropes and property types are classes of tropes. (shrink)
In this paper, we describe the conceptual elusiveness of the notion of function as used in engineering practice. We argue that it should be accepted as an ambiguous notion, and then review philosophical argumentations in which engineering functions occur in order to identify the consequences of this ambiguity. Function is a key notion in engineering, yet is used by engineers systematically in a variety of meanings. First, we demonstrate that this ambiguous use is rational for engineers by considering the role (...) of functions in design methods and by analysing the ambiguity in terms of Kuhn’s notion of methodological incommensurability. Second, we discuss ontological and mereological analyses of engineering functions and describe a proof that subfunctions cannot formally be taken as parts of the functions they decompose. Engineering functions figure sometimes in philosophical work and are then typically taken as having an unambiguous, well-defined meaning. Finally, we therefore revisit work in philosophy of technology on the dual nature of technical artefacts, in philosophy of science on functional and mechanistic explanations, and in philosophy of biology on biological functions, and explore the consequences of the fact that engineering function is an ambiguous notion. It is argued that one of these consequences may be that also the notion of biological function has an ambiguous meaning. (shrink)
I claim that explanations of human behaviour by Edward O. Wilsonand Charles Lumsden are constituted by a religiously functioningmetaphysics: emergent materialism. The constitutive effects areidentified using six criteria, beginning with a metaphorical re-description of dissimilarities between levels of organization interms of the lower level, and consist of conceptual andexplanatory reductions (CER). Wilson and Lumsden practice CER,even though CER is not required by emergent materialism. Theypreconceive this practice by a re-description which conflates thelevels of organization and explain failure of CER in (...) terms oftechnical, not ontological or epistemological reasons. Iinterpret these three practices as a reaction of Wilson againsthis early Christian religious beliefs. Statements by Wilsonindicate this reaction ultimately constitutes his explanations ofsocial, moral and religious behaviour.Tested knowledge about matter at the lower level functions as ametaphysical belief when applied to the higher level becausethere it is untested. I offer twelve criteria for the diagnosisof religious functions of this metaphysical materialism, five ofwhich are satisfied. I show that the constitutive effects of thismaterialism in sociobiology are due to its religious functions,are beneficial for science and do not destroy its public nature. (shrink)
An account is offered of Dooyeweerd’s non-reductionist ontology. It also includes the role of religious belief in theory making, although it omits his case for why such a role is unavoidable. The ontology is a theory of the nature of (created) reality which presupposes and is regulated by belief in the God of Judeo-Christian theism. Because it takes everything in creation to be directly dependent on God, it offers an account of the natures of both natural things and artifacts which (...) avoids regarding anything in the cosmos as what all else in the cosmos depends on. (shrink)
The notions of part and whole play an important role for ontology and in many areas of the semantics of natural language. Both in philosophy and linguistic semantics, usually a particular notion of part structure is used, that of extensional mereology. This paper argues that such a notion is insufficient for ontology and, especially, for the semantic analysis of the relevant constructionsof natural language. What is needed for the notion of part structure,in addition to an ordering among parts, is the (...) notion of integrated whole. (shrink)
Recent work has defended “Euclidean” theories of set size, in which Cantor’s Principle (two sets have equally many elements if and only if there is a one-to-one correspondence between them) is abandoned in favor of the Part-Whole Principle (if A is a proper subset of B then A is smaller than B). It has also been suggested that Gödel’s argument for the unique correctness of Cantor’s Principle is inadequate. Here we see from simple examples, not that Euclidean theories of (...) set size are wrong, but that they must be either very weak and narrow or largely arbitrary and misleading. (shrink)
Many biologists and philosophers have worried that importing models of reasoning from the physical sciences obscures our understanding of reasoning in the life sciences. In this paper we discuss one example that partially validates this concern: part-whole reductive explanations. Biology and physics tend to incorporate different models of temporality in part-whole reductive explanations. This results from differential emphases on compositional and causal facets of reductive explanations, which have not been distinguished reliably in prior philosophical analyses. Keeping these two (...) facets distinct facilitates the identifi cation of two further aspects of reductive explanation: intrinsicality and fundamentality. Our account provides resources for discriminating between different types of reductive explanation and suggests a new approach to comprehending similarities and differences in the explanatory reasoning found in biology and physics. (shrink)
A scientific explanatory project, part-whole explanation, and a kind of science, part-whole science are premised on identifying, investigating, and using parts and wholes. In the biological sciences, mechanistic, structuralist, and historical explanations are part-whole explanations. Each expresses different norms, explananda, and aims. Each is associated with a distinct partitioning frame for abstracting kinds of parts. These three explanatory projects can be complemented in order to provide an integrative vision of the whole system, as is shown for a (...) detailed case study: the tetrapod limb. My diagnosis of part-whole explanation in the biological sciences as well as in other domains exploring evolved, complex, and integrated systems (e.g., psychology and cognitive science) cross-cuts standard philosophical categories of explanation: causal explanation and explanation as unification. Part-whole explanation is itself one essential aspect of part-whole science. (shrink)
Bernard Williams famously argued that eternal life is undesirable for a human because it would inevitably grow intolerably boring. I will argue against Williams and those who share his view. To make my case, I will provide an account of what staves off boredom in our current, earthly-mortal lives, and then I will draw on this account while advancing reasons for thinking that eternal life is desirable, given certain conditions. Though my response to Williams will partly overlap with some prior (...) responses to Williams, especially the one offered by J. M. Fischer, my response will also be distinctive in some important ways. For instance, it will be distinctive in that it will discuss the role that one’s part-whole-reality conception plays in fending off boredom, where by ‘one’s part-whole-reality conception’ I mean ‘one’s conception of his or her place (or purpose) in the whole of reality’. (shrink)
Beginning with a widespread definition of Decadence as when individual parts flourish at the expense of the whole, Regenia Gagnier - a leading cultural historian of late nineteenth-century Britain - shows the full range of meanings of individualism at the height of its promise. From Darwin and Mill to the Fin de Siècle and beyond, Gagnier establishes the individual in relation to its theoretical and practical contexts: the couple and parent/child dyad; the workshop and community; the nation and state; cosmopolis (...) and world-citizenship. She concludes that the relation of individual to social or part to whole is better understood in terms of dynamic functions than fixed identities. Some highlights in this richly detailed study include: the evolutionary and developmental sciences of the individual; Herbert Spencer and the Individualists; Matthew Arnold and the Culturalists; the New Women, Female Aesthetes, and Socialist Individualists; poetry and the Philosophy of the Will; Gypsy Lorists and Cultural Philanthropy; Nietzsche’s Good Europeans and Late Victorian Cosmopolitans; the doctrine of mystical substitution of the one for the many. No one gives a fuller picture of the individual in modernity. (shrink)
One of the most exciting things about science is the access that it provides to phenomena remote from everyday experience. Through science we delve into the distant past, explore other cultures, peer across vast reaches of space, and assay the microscopic structure of the world. As our understanding extends in all these directions, philosophers and scientists often ask how the resulting branches of knowledge are related.
Mereology is the logic of part—whole concepts as they are used in many different contexts. The old chemical metaphysics of atoms and molecules seems to fit classical mereology very well. However, when functional attributes are added to part specifications and quantum mechanical considerations are also added, the rules of classical mereology are breached in chemical discourses. A set theoretical alternative mereology is also found wanting. Molecular orbital theory requires a metaphysics of affordances that also stands outside classical mereology.