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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: Fri, 04 Feb 2011 08:48:12 -0500
Message-id: <4D4C039C.9010507@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Chris,    (01)

The syntactic distinction is even looser than any semantic
criteria for distinguishing objects and processes.    (02)

> The syntactic difference between nouns and verbs is, of course, easier to
> make - and might be the root for folk intuitions about objects and events.    (03)

On the contrary, when considered on a human time scale for many common
purposes, the folk semantic distinctions are not bad for a large
number of things called objects and events.    (04)

That semantic distinction is the origin of the syntactic distinction,
but many languages allow nouns and verbs to be converted to one another
by various means.    (05)

In English, almost any word can be verbed.  There was a Calvin & Hobbs
cartoon, in which Calvin said "Verbing weirds language."    (06)

Latin is more restrictive, and some ending is necessary, such
as "verbify".  Greek also requires a suffix, such as "verbize".    (07)

Nominalization in English can often be done by putting an article
in front of a verb:  take a look, take a walk, give a kick.    (08)

In classical Greek, Aristotle formed nouns just by putting
a definite article in front of any word, but Latin requires
a suffix at the end.  Cicero, for example, coined the following
Latin words by translating Aristotle's Greek:    (09)

   the how much    ->   quantitas    (010)

   the what kind   ->   qualitas    (011)

In fact, Cicero apologized for coining such barbarous terms, but
he said that they were necessary for philosophical discussions.
The medieval Scholastics translated all of Aristotle to Latin,
and most of the new words they coined ended up in the modern
European languages.    (012)

In summary, I would have no objection to using the labels
PhysObject and Process (or Continuant and Occurrent) in an
ontology for a specific purpose.  But I would not consider
them mutually exclusive in a general-purpose ontology.    (013)

John    (014)

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