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Re: [ontolog-forum] 3D+1 (was presentism...was blah blah blah)

To: ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 03 Feb 2011 21:55:44 -0500
Message-id: <4D4B6AB0.2000108@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Pat and Doug,    (01)

I just want to comment on this interchange:    (02)

>> For yet other people (think OBO), there
>> are apparently two kinds of things in the world, one kind (continuants)
>> which must be described using the 3D+1 style , the other (occurrents)
>> which should be described using the 4D style. God alone knows why anyone
>> would believe that there are two ways to exist in time, but there's nowt
>> as queer as folk, as someone's grandmother used to say.    (03)

> Don't you consider the distinction between physical objects and events/
> occurrences to be ontologically meaningful?  Why should it be curious
> for some people to think that elements of the two different categories
> exist in different fashions?    (04)

The problem is that there are no clear criteria for distinguishing
objects and events.  It all depends on point of view, purpose,
and time scale.    (05)

People talk about a storm as an event, but the Great Red Spot on
Jupiter is a storm that has been visible for several hundred years,
and nobody knows how long it existed before earth-bound telescopes
were powerful enough to observe it.    (06)

Every animal body is a very complex process, and any pause
in that process for just a few minutes will kill the animal.    (07)

Even the lump of platinum that represents the standard kilogram
in Paris is slowly losing atoms, and the difference is measurable.    (08)

As a fundamental metaphysics, I very much prefer Whitehead's
process ontology (as presented in his book _Process and Reality_).    (09)

In Whitehead's ontology, 'physical object' is just a relative
term characterized by a "permanence amidst the flux" that
enables a slowly changing process to be recognized at repeated
occurrences -- at least within a suitable time scale.    (010)

In short, the terms 'physical object' and 'event' are
context-dependent terms that can be useful for some
applications, but they're not fundamental.    (011)

John    (012)

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