This book is intended as a philosophical introduction to geo-ontologies, in response to their increasing diffusion within the contemporary debate, where philosophy plays a fundamental, though still unexplored, role. Accordingly, the first part offers a short overview of the ontological background of geo-ontologies, which comprehends computer science, philosophy and geography. The second part is devoted to describe the ontology of geography, to define notions such as geographical entities and boundaries, and to trace some philosophical tools useful for spatial representation. The (...) third part investigates the emerging of geo-ontologies from the spatial turn and is concerned with a taxonomy for geo-ontologies grounded on some fundamental geographical distinctions. Finally, the last part presents the emergence of Digital Humanities and the consequent proliferation of geographical projects focused on the ancient world, in particular Greek and Roman. (shrink)
According to ontological perspectivism, there can be, in principle, multiple and alternative perspectives on the world that can be sliced, systematized, and conceptualized in different ways. Surely, such an ontological position has many categorial implications, which may vary depending on different disciplinary contexts. This paper explores parts of these implications in the realm of geography. In particular, it aims at discussing the ontological categories that one might use to describe the geographical world in an overarching perspective – that is, the (...) perspective that puts toether all the partial views coming from the different branches of the geographical investigation. We will see that if the overarching perspective is expected to include all the views on the geographical world, then such a perspective should be all-embracing in terms of contents and categories. This means that the overarching perspective might also comprehend inconsistencies that derive from how the various partial perspectives conceptualize differently the geographical world. (shrink)
Despite their recent development, geo-ontologies represent a complicated conundrum for the different experts involved in their design. Computer scientists use ontologies for describing the meaning of data and their semantics in order to make information resources built for humans understandable also for artificial agents. Geographers pursue conceptualizations that describe the domain of interest in a way that should be accessible, informative, and complete for their final recipients. In this context, philosophers are not required to sketch the historical background of ontology. (...) Rather, they should offer conceptual solutions for carving nature at the joints and choosing how best to categorize and classify the different entities belonging to the geographical domain in question. Accordingly, the aim of this paper is to combine assumptions and requirements coming from these different areas of research in order to show what different categories might potentially complete the current domain of geo-ontologies. (shrink)
According to Gamper, one function of science is to determine how the world is. Science, Gamper continues, rests on a set of basic assumptions, and the gap between basic assumptions and science should be filled by ontological frameworks that accommodates the modal properties of such assumptions. Different frameworks may surely suggest different modal properties. Thus, in so far as we use different basic assumptions, we can have different ontologies with different modal properties. Ontologies affect, in turn, science, which, however, has (...) the power to falsify the ontological frameworks. The aim of this article is to show a possible trouble of Gamper's proposal, here considered as applied to the geographical debate. (shrink)
The growing diffusion of perspectivism within the debate on information system ontologies [ISOs] does not correspond to a thorough analysis of what perspectivism specifically consists of. This paper aims to fill this void. First, I show what supporting perspectivism in information system ontologies [PISO] means in terms of (minimal) claims and implications; then I argue that the definitions of ISO implicitly assume PISO’s (minimal) claims or, in other words, that ISOs presuppose and maintain PISO. Section 2 presents the main definitions (...) of ISO. Section 3 specifies what claims are common to all perspectivists in ISO. Sects. 4–7 analyze the implications of those claims. Section 8 explores the chance of multiple perspectivisms within ISOs’ domain. Finally, Sects. 9–10 assume that, if PISO’s (minimal) claims and (their) implications can be inferred from ISO’s definitions, then ISOs are perspectivist, or PISO’s minimal claims are assumptions underlying ISOs. (shrink)
Despite the fact that information systems ontologies [ISOs] support the mutual understanding between human beings and software applications, human beings and software applications do not understand ISOs' contents in the same way. The same applies to ontological integration. This paper attempts to account for such discrepancies by emphasizing that while human being can have access to entities represented in ISOs, software applications cannot.
This anthology aims to present the fundamental philosophical issues and tools required by the reflection within and upon geography and Geographic Information Systems. It is an introduction to the philosophy for GIScience from an analytical perspective, which looks at GIS with a specific focus on its fundamental and most general concepts and distinctions. The first part of the book is devoted to explore some of the main philosophical questions arising from GIS and GIScience, which include, among others, investigations in ontology, (...) epistemology, linguistics and geometrical modeling. The second part concerns issues related to spatial and cartographical representations of the geographical world. The third part is focused on the ontology of geography, specifically in terms of geographical entities, objects and boundaries. Finally, in the fourth part, the topic of GIS constitutes a starting point for exploring themes such as quantum geography and disorientation, and for defining professional profiles for geographers with competences in GIS environment. This book on a new and unexplored field of research could be a fundamental point of reference for professional philosophers and geographers interested in the theoretical reflection about the foundational concepts of GIScience. It is also interesting reading material for students in philosophy, geography, applied ontology, GIScience, geomatics and computer science. (shrink)
Geographical and geospatial ontologies are receiving a considerable attention in information technology, due to three different factors: the growing diffusion of Geographic Information Systems (GIS), their use in different applications and the impulse given by Semantic Web to this research area. The aim of these pages is to describe what a geo-information ontology is, in order to systematize the contemporary debate. In the first part, we delineate the domain of ontology of geography within the contemporary philosophical context. In the second (...) part, we define the meaning of ontology in the information technology domain. In the last two parts, finally, we analyze contemporary geo-information ontologies, suggesting a potential classification. (shrink)
L’articolo discute il modo in cui la distinzione di Rudolf Carnap tra questioni interne ed esterne possa essere estesa e applicata alla teoria sociale. Seguendo Carnap si sostiene come, dato un sistema di riferimento, una questione è interna se valutata e risolta all’interno del sistema in questione, mentre è esterna se mette in discussione il sistema di riferimento dato e lo stato di cose che presuppone. Quindi, attraverso un’analisi incentrata principalmente sul sistema di riferimento ‘la Costituzione della Repubblica Italiana’ e (...) sul tema della giustizia, si discutono la rilevanza e le conseguenze di tale distinzione per la teoria sociale.The article discusses how Rudolf Carnap’s distinction between internal and external questions can be extended and applied to social theory. In accordance with Carnap, I maintain that a question is internal to a framework if the question is solved within the given framework. On the contrary, a question is external to a framework, if the question discusses the given framework. So, through an analysis centralised on the framework ‘The Constitution of Italian Republic’ and on the theme of ‘justice’, I discuss the importance and the consequences of this distinction for social theory. (shrink)
With the death of Edward Jonathan Lowe, the analytical philosophy lost one of the most influential thinkers of the last thirty-five years. His contributions include philosophy of mind, John Locke's philosophy and metaphysics. In particular, concerning metaphysical studies, the most innovative part of Lowe's philosophical perspective is the four-category ontology that, according to the author, provides an exhaustive inventory of what there is and a powerful explanatory framework for a metaphysical foundation of natural science. Accordingly, the purpose of this volume (...) is to collect some new essays from distinguished authorities in the field, critics and collaborators of Lowe in order to present some fundamental issues triggered by his ontological proposal. (shrink)
This article intends to provide an overview on the philosophical and geographical background of geo-ontologies and to propose a geographical classification of these ontologies, in response to their increasing diffusion within the contemporary debate. Accordingly, the first two paragraphs are devoted to offer a short introduction to the ontological turn in philosophy and to the development of the ontology of geography, that is that part of the ontology mainly focused on geographic entities and their boundaries, spatial representation, meretopological relations and (...) location. As a second step, this preliminary analysis is taken to be a helpful device in showing some philosophical tools useful for geo-ontologies and in determining whether and what geographical sub-areas can be identified from non-professional geographers. Consequently, paragraphs three and four investigate the emerging of geo-ontologies from the spatial turn and their general aims. Part of this inquiry is dedicated to show some taxonomies derived from the domain of computer and information science and to underline the absence of a classification suitable for spreading geo-ontologies in the geographical debate. As it is, the fifth paragraph is concerned with a taxonomy for geo-ontologies grounded on some fundamental geographical distinctions. The basic idea is that such a taxonomy might best introduce geo-ontologies to the geographical debate that, in turn, might deeply influence the advancement of these ontologies in terms of conceptualizations and trace gradually the guidelines for a classification, in which the development of geo-ontologies would follow all the different sub-disciplines within the same geography. (shrink)
This article might be interpreted as a theoretical journey in the realm of geographical investigation aimed at specifying the kinds of entities that such an investigation presupposes. Indeed, the purpose of these pages is to sketch what could be included in a geographical universal catalogue of all geographical entities there were, there are and (maybe) there will be. The starting point is Marcello Tanca’s thesis that geography presumes a hybrid ontology, grounded – at least – on three different joints of (...) the geographical investigation: things, representations and practices. Speaking about geographical things, we discuss the famous distinction between bona fide and fiat boundaries, proposed by Barry Smith. When we apply such a dichotomy to the (corresponding) bounded entities, we see that the distinction shows some ambiguities, which could make us question the existence of proper bona fide entities. Then, the topic of geographical representation is taken by the horns. Firstly, we introduce the notion of cartographical entity, which subsumes everything that could be portrayed on maps. Secondly, we address the possibility of a cartographical catalogue, suitable for including all cartographical entities. Thirdly, we apply the first two steps to the notions of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and geo-ontological entity. Finally, in the conclusion, we consider whether and how these (cartographical, GIS and geo-ontological) catalogues could enrich our geographical universal catalogue. (shrink)
The supporters of Indeterminate Futurism Theory [IFT] suggest three different reasons for preferring their view over Growing Block Theory [GBT]. If compared to GBT, IFT offers a better account for the open future problem, our cognitive attitudes towards future contingents, and how open the future is. Michael Tze-Sung Longenecker disagrees with them, stating that the advantages suggested by IFT's supporters are not advantages at all and/or can be accommodated by GBT. This means that, if he is right, there is no (...) reason to prefer IFT over GBT. However, if we prove the feasibility of one of the supposed advantages of IFT, Longenecker should admit that the game between IFT and GBT could still be open. Here, we focus on our cognitive attitudes towards future, with the aim of showing that the explanation of such attitudes may be a string to IFT's bow, as Ross Cameron suggests. (shrink)
In the domain of information systems ontologies, the notion of completeness refers to ontological contents by demanding that they be exhaustive with respect to the domain that the ontology aims to represent. The purpose of this paper is to analyze such a notion, by distinguishing different varieties of completeness and by questioning its consistency with the open-world assumption, which formally assumes the incompleteness of conceptualizations on information systems ontologies.
L'articolo discute il modo in cui la distinzione di Rudolf Carnap tra questioni interne ed esterne possa essere estesa e applicata alla teoria sociale. Seguendo Carnap si sostiene come, dato un sistema di riferimento, una questione č interna se valutata e risolta all'interno del sistema in questione, mentre č esterna se mette in discussione il sistema di riferimento dato e lo stato di cose che presuppone. Quindi, attraverso un'analisi incentrata principalmente sul sistema di riferimento ‘la Costituzione della Repubblica Italiana' e (...) sul tema della giustizia, si discutono la rilevanza e le conseguenze di tale distinzione per la teoria sociale. (shrink)
The current (still limited) use of the notion of informativeness in the domain of information system ontologies seems to indicate that such ontologies are informative if and only if they are understandable for their final recipients. This paper aims at discussing some theoretical issues emerging from that use which, as we will see, connects the informativeness of information system ontologies to their representational primitives, domains of knowledge, and final recipients. Firstly, we maintain that informativeness interacts not only with the actual (...) representational primitives, but also with their variability over time. Secondly, we discuss the correspondence between representational primitives and domains of knowledge of those ontologies. Finally, we explore the possibility of an epistemological discrepancy between human beings and software systems on the understanding of ontological contents. (shrink)