On Tue, May 14, 2013 12:00, John F Sowa wrote:
> Next week, there will be a workshop on the four-category ontology
> proposed by the philosopher Jonathan Lowe. (01)
FWIW, the workshop web page is
-- doug foxvog (03)
> The 4 categories are
> the product of two distinctions: particulars vs. universals, and
> kinds (substances) vs. non-substances (properties and relations):
> Besides Lowe himself, other speakers at the workshop include
> Nicola Guarino (no abstract listed) and Barry Smith, who will
> talk about "The six category ontology: BFO and its applications":
>> Like Lowe's 4CO, BFO divides reality into particulars and universals.
>> But it replaces 4CO's dichotomy of substantials and non-substantials
>> with a trichotomy of independent continuants, dependent continuants,
>> and occurrents.
> Another speaker is the chemist Colin Batchelor, who will talk about
> "States of affairs, states and energy in a four-category ontology".
> He makes a point that could count in favor of a 6CO, such as BFO:
>> Four-category ontologies do not have an obvious place for states
>> of affairs. Nonetheless, some states of affairs, for example a whale
>>being unsupported 300 metres above the ground, do have causal
>> consequences and any ontology that one intends to use to provide
>> an account of scientificgoings-on should be able to handle them.
> More info about the 4CO can be found by any search engine. One review
> that I found especially useful is by the philosopher Ingvar Johansson,
> who had subscribed to Ontolog Forum for a couple of years:
> In a review of a book by Lowe, Johansson makes some favorable comments
> about the 4CO. He also makes some general criticisms that would apply
> to a 6CO or to any proposed upper-level ontology (ULO).
>> This review is ... written on the assumption that Lowe’s basic
>> is true to the world. One-category ontologies are views such as ‘only
>> tropes exist’
>> and ‘only universals exist’; two-category ontologies accept the
>> between universals and particulars but deny, or regard as ontologically
>> distinctions such as that between kinds and properties. Frege has a
>> ontology with transcendent universals, and Armstrong has one with
>> immanent universals.
>> Mostly, I find Lowe’s criticism of these kinds of ontologies to be to
>> the point.
> This paragraph summarizes some general principles that are important
> for the tradeoffs between logic and ontology:
> 1. Frege's two-category ontology is the implicit ontology of the
> "plain vanilla" untyped predicate calculus. The universals are
> properties and relations expressed by the predicates, and the
> particulars are anything that can be an instance of a variable
> and an arguments of the predicates.
> 2. The universals in any version of logic can be partitioned
> further: functions are special cases of relations; properties
> are 1-place relations; propositions are 0-place relations.
> 3. A higher-order logic that allows quantification over relations
> blurs the distinction between particulars and universals.
> One way to preserve the distinction is to call relations that
> occur in argument position "abstract particulars".
> 4. A version of predicate calculus with strict typing can be
> used as a syntactic method for recognizing the ontological
> 5. Common Logic has only one domain of quantification, and the
> CL syntax allows any entity to be used as a function or
> relation with any number of arguments. In that sense,
> one could say that CL has an implicit one-category ontology.
> 6. But any of these logics can be used to represent ontologies
> with any number of categories. For each category P, a
> monadic predicate P(x) can defined that is true if and
> only if x belongs to category P.
> 7. For example, one could have a monadic predicate Substance(x),
> which is true if and only if x is a substance. Any of these
> logics, including Common Logic, could specify such predicates.
> To return to Johansson's review, the following quotation on page 3
> leads to issues that many ontologies, including Lowe's 4CO and the
> 6CO of BFO, have not addressed in a fully satisfactory way:
>> There is a serious lack in Lowe’s ontology that I want to spend more
>> words on. A lack that makes it impossible for him to deliver what he
>> promises in the sub-title, namely _A Metaphysical Foundation for
>> Natural Science_...
> The issues that follow the three dots are critical for modern science,
> and I won't copy them here. But those issues (and others) that arise
> in modern science must be addressed by any proposal that claims to be
> adequate for science and engineering.
> John Sowa
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