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Re: [ontolog-forum] Presentism etc

To: ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 04 Feb 2011 12:41:24 -0500
Message-id: <4D4C3A44.5060308@xxxxxxxxxxx>
On 2/4/2011 10:07 AM, Ronald Stamper wrote:
> The recent discussions of presentism , space-time and noun-verb
> distinction have left me wondering what are the ontologies (in the
> metaphysics sense) that lie behind the messages on those topics.    (01)

I stated my preferred ontology quite explicitly in an earlier note,
but I'll delete details that might be distracting.  After deleting
the qualifying points 2, 3, 6, and 7, that leaves:    (02)

> 1. As a basic metaphysical stance, I prefer a 4D ontology, which
>    considers the whole universe from a God's eye point of view,
>    as one giant domain of discourse.
> 4. As a convenient 3+1 D way of talking, thinking, and computing,
>    I like the notion of a *situation* as a finite chunk of space-time
>    that could be mapped to some region in domain #1, but it could
>    also be mapped to a domain that may include some part of #1 and
>    any arbitrary set of set of anything anybody would like to think
>    about or talk about.  Think of those entities as mathematical
>    objects, which mathematicians freely assume whenever they please.
>    But they might be virtual reality things like Sherlock Holmes,
>    since VR objects that look like people are just as mathematical
>    as spheres or cubes.
> 5. Given the option of having the whole 4D universe as a ground
>    domain plus the option of throwing in any kind of VR entities
>    we'd like to think or talk about plus situations that can
>    include any mixture of any of the above, we get a rich semantic
>    domain plus a rich syntactic system -- and fortunately, we can
>    formalize it in Common Logic, if we wish.    (03)

In summary, the domain of quantification I recommend includes
a 4D view of everything in the universe, past, present, and future.
To that domain, I would add all mathematical entities that anyone
can specify by any mathematical methods whatever.    (04)

Among those mathematical entities are all the kinds of virtual reality
constructions that look like fictional, mythical, or imaginary people,
beasts, or things of any kind.  The domain would also include all
mathematical generalizations and classifications of them.    (05)

This is a huge domain, which includes far more than I would need for
any particular application.  For most applications, I would extract
some suitable subset for my purpose.    (06)

In order to facilitate a 3D+1 view of talking and reasoning about
subsets, I would define situations as 3D chunks mapped to the
4D domain, augmented with the mathematical domain as needed.    (07)

For a way of carving up and classifying both the 4D domain and
the VR extensions, I prefer a process ontology, along the lines
of Whitehead's _Process and Reality_.  But for my talk about
situations for particular purposes, I would allow "approximate"
mappings that are more conventionally object-like or event-like.    (08)

John    (09)

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