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Re: [ontolog-forum] Universal Basic Semantic Structures

To: ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
From: John F Sowa <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 26 Sep 2012 01:59:06 -0400
Message-id: <506299AA.3020000@xxxxxxxxxxx>
On 9/26/2012 12:59 AM, Obrst, Leo J. wrote:
> This is similar to the notion of "fiat" vs. "bona fide" boundaries
> (and thus, "fiat" objects, etc.), leading to an analysis in terms
> of mereotopology, as discussed in the following paper, among others:
> Smith, B. and A. Varzi. Fiat and bona fide boundaries. Philosophy
> and Phenomenological Research, 60(2):401-420, 2000.
> http://www.columbia.edu/~av72/papers/Ppr_2000.pdf    (01)

There is no clear boundary between fiat and bona fide boundaries.    (02)

Ultimately, every boundary is determined by some reason or purpose
for the region that the boundary delimits.  Rivers and mountains
are called "natural boundaries" for countries.  But what makes
them "natural" is the ability to deter an invading army.    (03)

If you have an army of ants, any stream of water would serve
as a "natural boundary".  If you have an army of human soldiers
on foot or horseback, the stream has to be sufficiently broad
and deep to prevent them from walking or wading across.    (04)

The reason or purpose is just as important for determining the
boundary of a country as a school district.  The so-called
"natural boundaries" are preferred for countries, but history
shows that they shift after every war.    (05)

The treaties that end the war determine boundaries "by fiat"
in the same way that the city planners negotiate the boundaries
of school districts.    (06)

The question of whether the country or the school district
"consists of" land or the people who live there is determined
by the same kinds of agreements:  somebody makes a decision
to draw the lines one way rather than another.  The reason
for those lines is determined by somebody for some reason.    (07)

If you want to know the "real" reason for any boundary,
ask who will benefit from one decision or another.
As they say in Latin, "Cui bono?"    (08)

John    (09)

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