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Re: [ontolog-forum] Ontological Assumptions of FOL

To: Pat Hayes <phayes@xxxxxxx>
Cc: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Ingvar Johansson <ingvar.johansson@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 19 Mar 2007 16:49:27 +0100
Message-id: <45FEB107.6080904@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Pat Hayes schrieb:
>> as soon as the distinction between 'abstract non-temporal entities'
>> (sets, numbers, universals, propositions, etc.) and 'concrete
>> spatiotemporal entities' (you, me, the things around us, molecules,
>> etc.) is accepted, a philosophical-ontological problem arises: does it
>> nonetheless make sense (and can it even be true) to say that abstract
>> entities exist only in space and time? My positive answers can be found
>> in my paper "Roman Ingarden and the Problem of Universals", but (being a
>> newcomer here) I have got the impression that such discussions are far
>> beyond what this forum has been created for.
> I think that a related question might be within scope, however: is it 
> any USE to say that abstract entities exist in space and time? Does 
> that viewpoint in any way simplify ontology writing, or bring together 
> disparate ways of expressing something into a single framework, or 
> facilitate interoperation?
In philosophical ontology it is simply a question one has to try to 
answer; and if it is true that even abstract entities exist in space and 
time, then very much has been brought "into a single framework". Whether 
or not it can simplify ontology writing in your sense, I don't know; and 
I have never pretended to know.
> Or, on the contrary, does it lead to the need for artificial 
> work-arounds to avoid unfortunate inconsistencies, or require axiom 
> writers to use a certain artificial discipline, hence probably leading 
> to errors, etc.? Or (like most philosophically motivated ontological 
> ideas) does it do both, so have both advantages and disadvantages?
> BTW, I agree it makes sense to put everything in space and time. (If 
> numbers exist at all, surely they exist *now*.) Which is fortunate for 
> me, being a dyed-in-the-wool nominalist who doesn't even believe that 
> numbers are real :-)  I wouldn't suggest that a user community 
> subscribe to my peculiar philosophy, however, and I see the pragmatic 
> advantages of Platonism, and am even willing to use modal language, 
> with of course the private perspective that it is all completely 
> fictional.
BTW: there is not just the opposition between nominalism and Platonism. 
Like you (but unlike Platonists), I think that everything exists in 
space and time; unlike you (but like Platonists) I think that there are 
abstract entities; such a position is a form of Aristotelianism or 
immanent realism.    (01)

/Ingvar    (02)

Ingvar Johansson
IFOMIS, Saarland University
     home site: http://ifomis.org/
     personal home site:
     http://hem.passagen.se/ijohansson/index.html      (03)

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