A Connection Based Approach to Common-sense Topological Description and Reasoning

The Monist 79 (1):51-75 (1996)
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Abstract

This paper describes the topological aspect of a logic-based, artificial intelligence approach to formalising the qualitative description of spatial properties and relations, and reasoning about those properties and relations. This approach, known as RCC theory, has been under development for several years at the University of Leeds. The main rationale for this project is that qualitative descriptions of spatial properties and relationships, and qualitative spatial reasoning, are of fundamental importance in human thinking about the world: even where quantitative spatial data are most important, they must be attached to the components of a perceived spatial structure if we are to make use of them. RCC theory covers other qualitative aspects of spatial description and reasoning, but the topological properties and relations of spatially extended entities are fundamental to our work. The topological formalisms used by mathematicians are, in general, not well suited to the task of formalising the kinds of ‘common-sense’ or ‘everyday’ qualitative spatial description and reasoning which are our primary interest. Nevertheless, we must come to grips with the concepts of topology as practised by mathematicians if we are not to risk constantly ‘reinventing wheels’.

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Citations of this work

Fiat and Bona Fide Boundaries.Barry Smith & Achille C. Varzi - 2000 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 60 (2):401-420.
Spatial Reasoning and Ontology: Parts, Wholes, and Locations.Achille C. Varzi - 2007 - In Marco Aiello, Ian E. Pratt-Hartmann & Johan van Benthem (eds.), Handbook of Spatial Logics. Springer Verlag. pp. 945-1038.
Mereotopological Connection.Anthony G. Cohn & Achille C. Varzi - 2003 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 32 (4):357-390.

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