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Re: [ontolog-forum] intangibles

To: "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Pat Hayes <phayes@xxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 25 Feb 2009 03:09:39 -0600
Message-id: <0F46C466-01F7-48A0-BE78-0CB540F49AA5@xxxxxxx>

On Feb 23, 2009, at 9:56 AM, Matthew West wrote:

Dear Paola,
Ontologies differ in the way they approach what you think  of as intangibles. Some of them have specific things that would claim to be intangible, others do not.
For 4D ontologies like IDEAS and ISO 15926, everything is either a spatio-temporal extent (possible or actual) and sets (including relations).

Thats rather too sweeping. One can have a 4d ontology without being so Calvinist about everything having a physical extension.


So I will not talk for others, but I will say what the list below is from a 4D perspective.

I understand that most intangibles can be associated with a tangible countepart
even the wind, which we cannot touch, is indeed a physical phenomenon

however, things exist that are abstract, ie, do not have physical qualities
I can make a list but surely you can come up with a list too

emotions (okay, sweat and heartbeat are indicators of emotions but not emotions themselves)

[MW] This is usually some sort of plan of how things could be, so we are into possible worlds (or John’s version of them)


[MW] Thinking is an activity that goes on in a spatio-temporal location, and a thought is presumably the result of this, and is a state of, perhaps part of, someone’s brain.

Even if this is true, (which is highly debatable) thoughts also have content. They can be about things. How do you account for this?


[MW] Beliefs would usually be about rules that are followed.

Beliefs are usually about rules?? You have GOT to be kidding. 

So the rules would be around some classes, and the belief part is about how someone views those rules.

Let me add to Paola's list:

symbols (for example, the semaphore sign for the letter "E", or the British naval 'blue peter' flag design, which means that the ship is embarking.)


Matthew West                            
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