In recent years CL diagrams inspired by Lange’s Cubus Logicus have been used in various contexts of diagrammatic reasoning. However, whether CL diagrams can also be used as a formal system seemed questionable. We present a CL diagram as a formal system, which is a fragment of propositional logic. Syntax and semantics are presented separately and a variant of bitstring semantics is applied to prove soundness and completeness of the system.
In order to develop the ontology of tendencies for use in the representation of medical knowledge, tendencies are compared with other kinds of entities possessing the realizable-realization structure, specifically: dispositions, propensities, abilities and virtues. The peculiarities of tendencies are discussed and a standard schema of tendency ascription is developed in order to represent the relations between the ascriptions of tendency tokens to particulars and the ascriptions of tendency types to universals. Two nonstandard cases and their epistemic variants are discussed.
It has long been a standard practice for the natural sciences to classify things. Thus, it is no wonder that, for two and a half millennia, philosophers have been reflecting on classifications, from Plato and Aristotle to contemporary philosophy of science. Some of the results of these reflections will be presented in this chapter. I will start by discussing a parody of a classification, namely: the purportedly ancient Chinese classification of animals described by Jorge Luis Borges. I will show that (...) many of the mistakes that account for the comic features of this parody appear in real-life scientific databases as well. As examples of the latter, I will discuss the terminology database of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) of the United States, the NCI Thesaurus. (shrink)
Currently, there is not yet a full-fledged philosophical sub-discipline devoted to artifacts. In order to establish such a general philosophical discourse on artifacts, two topics are of special importance: artifact functionality and artifact categorization. Both are central to the question of what artifacts are in general and in particular. This introduction first presents the current state of the art in the debates on functions, both in general and in the domain of artifacts in particular. It then unfolds the three debates (...) relevant for artifact kinds, namely the ontological, epistemological and semantic debates on artifact categorization, and presents the most important theory options currently under scrutiny in these fields. It proceeds by introducing the contributions in this special issue on the functions and kinds of art works and other artifacts, and discusses possible perspectives for a general philosophy of artifacts. (shrink)
Being an "untimely review", this paper reviews Aristotle's 'Categories' as if they were published today, in the era of computerised information, where categorisation becomes more and more essential for information retrieval. I suggest a systematic ordering of Aristotle's list of categories and argue that Aristotle's discussion of ontological dependency and his focus on concrete entities are still a source of new insight and can indeed be read as a contribution to the emerging field of applied ontology and ontological engineering.
Is a bank note identical with the piece of paper of which it consists? On the one hand, John Searle, in his reply to Barry Smith, suggests that they are “one and the same object” that is a social or non-social object only under certain descriptions. On the other hand, Lynne Rudder Baker puts forward the claim that bank note and paper are distinct entities that are bound together by the relation of material constitution. I suggest two possible analyses for (...) Searle’s description relativity claim, the Alternative Subject Analysis and the Predicate Modification Analysis. On both accounts his identity claim gets into serious trouble. While Baker’s definition of material constitution deals well with the bank note example, it fails to account for the constitution of bearerless social entities and groups. I point out five respects in which social constitution can differ from Baker’s account of material constitution and discuss compositional, institutional and interactional constitution as additional varieties of social constitution. (shrink)
Statements about the behavior of biochemical entities (e.g., about the interaction between two proteins) abound in the literature on molecular biology and are increasingly becoming the targets of information extraction and text mining techniques. We show that an accurate analysis of the semantics of such statements reveals a number of ambiguities that have to be taken into account in the practice of biomedical ontology engineering: Such statements can not only be understood as event reporting statements, but also as ascriptions of (...) dispositions or tendencies that may or may not refer to collectives of interacting molecules or even to collectives of interaction events. (shrink)
Dispositions and tendencies feature significantly in the biomedical domain and therefore in representations of knowledge of that domain. They are not only important for specific applications like an infectious disease ontology, but also as part of a general strategy for modelling knowledge about molecular interactions. But the task of representing dispositions in some formal ontological systems is fraught with several problems, which are partly due to the fact that Description Logics can only deal well with binary relations. The paper will (...) discuss some of the results of the philosophical debate about dispositions, in order to see whether the formal relations needed to represent dispositions can be broken down to binary relations. Finally, we will discuss problems arising from the possibility of the absence of realizations, of multi-track or multi-trigger dispositions and offer suggestions on how to deal with them. (shrink)
In order to develop the ontology of tendencies for use in the representation of medical knowledge, tendencies are compared with other kinds of entities possessing the realizable-realization-structure, specifically: dispositions, propensities, abilities and virtues. The peculiarities of tendencies are discussed and a standard schema of tendency ascription is developed in order to represent the relations between the ascriptions of tendency tokens to particulars and the ascriptions of tendency types to universals. Two non-standard cases and their epistemic variants are discussed.
Functional explanations apply not only in cases of normal functioning, but also in the case of malfunctioning. According to a straightforward analysis, a bearer of the function to F is malfunctioning if and only if it does not F although it should do so. This makes malfunctions and malfunctionings analogous to negative causation and thus peculiarly problematic, because they seem to involve absent dispositions and absent processes. This analysis seems also to require that the function to F cannot be identical (...) with the disposition to F. Then we seem to be trapped in a dilemma: Either the realm of functions is separated from the realm of dispositions; then it seems that functions cannot be causally efficacious. Alternatively, functions are considered to be identical with dispositions; but then malfunctioning seems to be conceptually impossible. The paper defends and further develops the thesis of Röhl and Jansen that functions are not a special type of dispositions. For this purpose, it first reviews different varieties of malfunction and malfunctioning and suggests definitions of both malfunction and malfunctioning. It reviews how causal, etiological and intentional theories of functions can deal with these problems. In particular, the paper discusses the special-disposition account of the Basic Formal Ontology. Spear, Ceusters and Smith :103--128, 2016) have defended the special-disposition account of the Basic Formal Ontology by suggesting various strategies how a special-disposition account can deal with malfunctions. On the one side, the paper evaluates these strategies and indicates several problems arising from them. On the other hand, it describes how to account for the non-optionality and the causal efficacy of functions, if functions are not dispositions. While function types are not identical to disposition types, there are important interrelations between functions and dispositions, namely heuristically, from a design perspective for artefact functions, and from an evolutionary perspective for types of biological functions. (shrink)
Given the assertion of a relation between two types, like: “Epidermis has part some Keratinocyte”, we define silent change as any kind of change of the instance-relata of the relation in question that does not change the truth-value of the respective type-level assertion. Such assertions are notoriously difficult to model in OWL 2. To address this problem, we distinguish different modes of type-level relatedness giving rise to this problem and describe a conservative extension to the BFO top-level ontology that allows (...) expressing these modes. (shrink)
Margaret Gilbert has defended the claim that her plural subject theory can give a reasonable account of retrospective (or backward-looking) collective responsibility. On one occasion, publishing in this periodical, she writes that she deliberately left out the discussion of prospective (or forward-looking) collective responsibility, or the “responsibilities” of a collective. In the present paper, I want to show that plural subject theory, in fact, also allows accounting for prospective responsibilities of groups and institutions. In order to do so, I will (...) first sketch the social ontological background of my discussion which is, in fact, an amended version of Gilbert’s theory of plural subjects (§ 2). Based on the assumption that a prospective responsibility accrues from some kind of commissioning, I will then discuss a variety of possible sources of prospective collective responsibilities: self-commissioning, third-party commissioning and what I will call commissioning by unique capability (§ 3). Having done so, I will discuss some consequences of this account and defend it against objections (§ 4). (shrink)
After a short sketch of Lowe’s account of his four basic categories, I discuss his theory of formal ontological relations and how Lowe wants to account for dispositional predications. I argue that on the ontic level Lowe is a pan-categoricalist, while he is a language dualist and an exemplification dualist with regard to the dispositional/categorical distinction. I argue that Lowe does not present an adequate account of disposition. From an Aristotelian point of view, Lowe conflates dispositional predication with hôs epi (...) to poly statements about what is normally or mostly the case. (shrink)
Like the doctrine of the categories in general, Aristotle’s category of the relative fulfils disparate functions: On the one hand, the category of the pros ti fulfils a dialectic or logical function that aims at the avoidance of fallacies. On the other hand, the category respects the peculiar mode of being of the relative. Taking these two different functions into consideration helps with the interpretation of Aristotle’s two definitions of the relative and his treatment of the properties of the relative (...) in Cat. 7, with the question whether corresponding relatives are of equal priority or ontologically independent, with the genus-species problem , and with the categorical classification of potency and act. (shrink)
Like the doctrine of the categories in general, Aristotle’s category of the relative fulfils disparate functions: On the one hand, the category of the pros ti fulfils a dialectic or logical function that aims at the avoidance of fallacies. On the other hand, the category respects the peculiar mode of being of the relative. Taking these two different functions into consideration helps with the interpretation of Aristotle’s two definitions of the relative and his treatment of the properties of the relative (...) in Cat. 7, with the question whether corresponding relatives are of equal priority or ontologically independent, with the genus-species problem, and with the categorical classification of potency and act. (shrink)
The constituents of social entities (and of social continuants in particular) determine whether or not a social thing comes to be, persists and perishes. John Searle hints at two very different accounts for the persistence of social entities, a mere past related account and an acceptance theoretic account, whereas Margaret Gilbert's account is based on deontic entities like obligations or joint commitments. I demonstrate that Gilbert's account can also accommodate Searle's examples. While oblivion, protests or violence can be historical causes (...) of the destruction of social entities, they cannot be considered to be the ultimate causes of the perishing from Gilbert's point of view. Social entities rather perish because of the treatises or divorces that dissolve their deontic constituents. (shrink)
BACKGROUND -/- In biomedical ontologies, mereological relations have always been subject to special interest due to their high relevance in structural descriptions of anatomical entities, cells, and biomolecules. This paper investigates two important subrelations of has_proper_part, viz. the relation has_grain, which relates a collective entity to its multiply occurring uniform parts (e.g., water molecules in a portion of water), and the relation has_component, which relates a compound to its constituents (e.g., molecules to the atoms they consist of). -/- METHOD -/- (...) We distinguish between four kinds of complex entities and characterize them in first order logic. We then discuss whether similar characterizations could be given in description logics, and finally apply the results to mixtures. -/- RESULTS -/- At first sight, collectives and compounds seem to be disjoint categories. Their disjointness, however, relies on agreement about what are uniform entities, and thus on the granularity of description. For instance, the distinction between isomeric subtypes of a molecule can be important in one use case but might be neglected in another one. We demonstrate that, as implemented in the BioTop domain upper level ontology, equivalence or subsumption between different descriptions of same or similar entities cannot be achieved. Using OWL-DL, we propose a new design pattern that avoids primitive subrelations at the expense of more complex descriptions and thus supports the needed inferences. (shrink)
After a short sketch of Lowe's account of his four basic categories, I discuss his theory of formal ontological relations and how Lowe wants to account for dispositional predications. I argue that on the ontic level Lowe is a pan-categoricalist, while he is a language dualist and an exemplification dualist with regard to the dispositional/categorical distinction. I argue that Lowe does not present an adequate account of disposition. From an Aristotelian point of view, Lowe conflates dispositional predication with 'hôs epi (...) to poly' statements about what is normally or mostly the case. (shrink)
The 2013 Rostock Symposium on Systems Biology and Bioinformatics in Aging Research was again dedicated to dissecting the aging process using in silico means. A particular focus was on ontologies, as these are a key technology to systematically integrate heterogeneous information about the aging process. Related topics were databases and data integration. Other talks tackled modeling issues and applications, the latter including talks focussed on marker development and cellular stress as well as on diseases, in particular on diseases of kidney (...) and skin. (shrink)
In 'Metaphysics IX.6' (1048b 18-35) Aristotle presents a test to distinguish between "kinesis" and "energeia," based on relations between the perfective and the imperfective aspect of the verb. This passage has been interpreted as drawing a linguistic distinction between classes of verbs (e.g., stative verbs) by means of a linguistic criterion (Ackrill, Graham). But such an interpretation is in conflict with the text. Aristotle's test must, therefore, be understood as a metaphysical criterion between items in the world (rather than lingual (...) items) by means of a metaphysical criterion, exploiting properties of these items. These items are events, and 'Metaphysics IX.6' exhibits Aristotle's awareness to certain topics discussed in modern event ontology. (shrink)
This paper questions the widespread supposition that artifact kinds are kinds of artifacts. I will argue that this supposition rests on a one-sided diet of examples taken from inanimate physical things and the neglect of social and biological artifacts. I will argue that belonging to an artifact kind and being an artifact are independent Features: The first divides off artifacts from non-artifacts, the second rests on the distinction between instances of artifacts kinds and instances of natural kinds. I claim that (...) these two distinctions are orthogonal to each other, and besides the two canonical combinations of artificial instances of artifact kinds and non-artificial instances of natural kinds there are also non-artificial instances of artifact kinds and artificial instances of natural kinds. Moreover, as some artificial living beings are self-reproducing, some instances of an artifact kind are not themselves artifacts. Hence artifact kinds are not of necessity kinds of artifacts. (shrink)
No one influenced and shaped our thinking about dispositions and causal properties more than Aristotle. What he wrote about power (dynamis), nature (physis) and habit (hexis) has been read, systematised and criticised again and again during the history of philosophy. In this chapter I sketch Aristotle's thoughts about dispositions and argue that his theory can still be regarded as a good one.
This paper undertakes a philosophical analysis of the speech given by the German writer Martin Walser when the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade was awarded to him in 1998. I reconstruct Walser's infamous claims about the Holocaust and his critique against its presence in the media and discuss Walser's proclamation of a right for disregarding his claims about German normality and his views about private commemoration.
Dieses Buch betritt Neuland. Es ist eine Einführung in das neue Gebiet der angewandten Ontologie, jenem multidisziplinären Arbeitsgebiet, in dem Philosophen gemeinsam mit Informatikern und Vertretern der jeweils thematischen Wissenschaftsbereiche, in unserem Fall mit Biologen und Medizinern, daran arbeiten, wissenschaftliches Wissen informationstechnisch zu repräsentieren. Es zeigt, wie Philosophie eine praktische Anwendung findet, die von zunehmender Wichtigkeit nicht nur in den heutigen Lebenswissenschaften ist. Und so richtet sich dieses Buch an Philosophen, aber auch an interessierte Biologen, Mediziner und Informatiker.
A popular argument goes thus: This is a construction, hence it is not real. Adding an appropriate adjective (social, mental, human, …) in front of “construction” or cognate terms like “(legal) fiction” yields a whole family of related arguments, all of which, or so I will argue, are fallacious. Contrary to popular opinion, these arguments fail both on the epistemic and the ontic sense of construction. Ontic constructions exist at least at one point in time, while epistemic constructions may well (...) correspond to reality. The motivation behind these fallacious arguments can often be found in a misconceived conception of ontology and reality. A full theory of reality must take constructed entities into account because important domains of reality (mental life, social reality, technical artefacts, art and fiction) essentially depend on mental or social constructions. (shrink)