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Re: [ontolog-forum] Endurantism and Perdurantism - Re: Some Comments on

To: William Frank <williamf.frank@xxxxxxxxx>
Cc: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Pat Hayes <phayes@xxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 31 Mar 2015 10:23:10 -0500
Message-id: <78CEA0F4-66A5-420D-88B8-9C3262546DE4@xxxxxxx>

On Mar 31, 2015, at 9:27 AM, William Frank <williamf.frank@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:    (01)

> Mathew, 
> 
> I would be very interested to know how you eliminate the boundaries between 
>these categories.  I think they must be eliminable, not to say, though, that 
>things can't be categorized in one of these ways, depending on what aspect of 
>a situation we want to look at.  
> 
> To me, philosophers and too many engineers seem  moved to consider whether 
>there 'really are' processes, objects, and events, and whether they are 
>'really' different.   I note in particular as a description of a paper
> 
> "argues that processes are like objects, and distinct from events. "
> 
> What is clear is that these are distinctions that **we are able to make**, as 
>many  do.  We can give examples, even though the lines between things we might 
>choose to classify one way or the other, as with most things, is fuzzy.  
> 
> The question for the engineer is, is it **useful* to make these distinctions? 
> 
> 
> If one makes it critical to success to have 'correctly' classified 
>everything, into its one true category, and uses a language and a logic that 
>makes us have to repeat information in each category, then the answer is that 
>however useful it **might be** to make the distinctions, we are doing it in a 
>manner that is awkward.  
> 
> On the other hand, if we treat what we are doing when we classify things as 
>*casting* them, rather than saying what they 'really are', and have a method 
>by which things in one category can be *recast* in another, and information 
>not repeated, then, what practical person, working say in business process 
>design, would object <330.gif>  being able reference events, processes, and 
>objects.  And, anything we would want to talk about, don't there need to be 
>types for all those things, as well as individuals?  
> 
> So, if we can categorize things, we can recategorize them, as need be.   Is 
>there a reference in this thread as to how to do that that I missed, that is 
>not alot of math about time series, or is that it?      (02)

That is exactly what I was trying to explain at the start of this thread. Yes, 
there is such a way, if we can use the syntactic freedom available in ISO 
Common Logic. Suppose we are talking about a relation R between two things A 
and B: (R A B) in the CLIF dialect of CL, which uses a LISP-like prefix syntax. 
(Or R(A, B) in a perhaps more familiar notation. I will stick to the CLIF style 
to keep things coherent.) But things change with time, so this relationship may 
be true at one time but not at another, or have a temporal parameter, or be 
thought of as holding between temporal 'parts' of the objects. Respectively:    (03)

1 (ist (R A B) T)   where 'ist' is the modal 'is true at' operator.     (04)

To be strict, this cannot be expressed directly in CL but requires the IKL 
extension, and should be written using the IKL 'that' operator to make the 
embedded atomic sentence into a term: (ist (that (R A B)) T) See 
http://www.ihmc.us/users/phayes/IKL/GUIDE/GUIDE.html for details, especially 
#ContextsModalities.)    (05)

2 (R A B T)
3 (R (A T)(B T))    (06)

2 treats the objects as continuants: they exist through time, retaining their 
identity (so they can be referred to by simple names even in a temporal 
framework) but their relations are time-dependent fluents (using McCarthy's old 
terminology), so we see a ubiquitious time-argument in most relational atomic 
sentences, typically by convention the last argument, as here. 
3. treats the objects as occurrents: they have temporal parts, indicated here 
by treating the names as functions from times to temporal parts, and 
relationships between temporal sections of entities are asserted timelessly.     (07)

So, there are various ways to do it. But my original point was that one can 
COMPLETELY IGNORE all philosophical speculation about the metaphysical nature 
of these things, and simply treat all these various options as purely syntactic 
variations on how to say a fact. There is ONE SINGLE FACT being expressed here: 
that R holds between the things A and B at time T. That is really all that 
matters, and arguments about whether A and B are continuants (and so must not 
be spoken of in style 3, because the holy texts assert that continuants do not 
have temporal parts) or are occurrents (and so should not be spoken of in style 
2) is basically just noise. You can view them either way, if it suits your way 
of thinking. Nothing of ontological importance turns on that decision. You can 
also completely ignore the question, and the metaphysical distinction it 
presumes. All it boils down to is where you like to see your temporal 
parameters. Do you want to see them attached to abitrary sentences? (Use a 
modal language or IKL, see style 1.) Or to relations in atomic sentences? 
(Style 2) Or to referring terms? (Style 3) There really are no other options in 
first-order logical syntax, so you have to choose one (or more) of these. So go 
ahead, choose whichever one makes you comfortable. It is easy to translate 
between these variations, given a certain minimal discipline about where 
temporal parameters are placed. In ISO CL, one can even write axioms which will 
do the translation, along the lines of     (08)

(forall (r x y (T time))(iff (r x y T)(r (x T)(y T)) ))    (09)

although it takes a few more lines to do this for every possible number of 
arguments; and in any case, you might want to be more picky about where you put 
the temporal parameters in some cases. I do not recommend actually using axioms 
to make the translation, but the fact that is is possible, and even easy, 
surely suggests that the distinctions are not as deep as many have assumed.     (010)

But to return to your question, such translation axioms are exactly the 
'recategorization' to which you refer. x and y here are treated as continuants 
on the LHS of the iff and as occurrents on the RHS. And yet they are both 
identically the same thing on both sides of the equivalence.     (011)

Pat Hayes    (012)



> 
> Tx
> 
> Wm
> 
>  
> 
> 
> On Tue, Mar 31, 2015 at 9:59 AM, Obrst, Leo J. <lobrst@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> Matthew,
> 
>  
> 
> Yes, this does not break down the distinction between continuant and 
>occurrent, but instead argues that processes are like objects, and distinct 
>from events. They are following and building on [1], and of course other 
>papers in that vein, including other papers of Galton.
> 
>  
> 
> Thanks,
> 
> Leo
> 
>  
> 
> [1] Stout, R. (1997). Processes. Philosophy, 72, 19Ė27.
> 
>  
> 
> From: ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx 
>[mailto:ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Matthew West
> Sent: Tuesday, March 31, 2015 2:27 AM
> To: '[ontolog-forum] '
> Subject: Re: [ontolog-forum] Endurantism and Perdurantism - Re: Some Comments 
>on Descriptive vs. Prescriptive Ontologies
> 
>  
> 
> Dear Leo,
> 
> Whilst this is a paper that does a good job of showing how interdependent 
>continuants and occurrents are. It still maintains the dichotomy of continuant 
>and occurrent, and even explicitly states that this means a duplication of an 
>occurrent and its life. So it has not actually taken the step of breaking down 
>the barriers between them and picking up that interdependence might point to 
>something common underlying them both.
> 
>  
> 
> Regards
> 
>  
> 
> Matthew West
> 
> http://www.matthew-west.org.uk
> 
> +44 750 338 5279
> 
>  
> 
>  
> 
>  
> 
> From: ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx 
>[mailto:ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Obrst, Leo J.
> Sent: 25 March 2015 19:45
> To: [ontolog-forum] 
> Subject: Re: [ontolog-forum] Endurantism and Perdurantism - Re: Some Comments 
>on Descriptive vs. Prescriptive Ontologies
> 
>  
> 
> One interpretation (process, event) that Robert may be referring to is the 
>ďwaterfallĒ paper:
> 
>  
> 
> Galton, Antony, and Riichiro Mizoguchi. 2009. The water falls but the 
>waterfall does not fall: New perspectives on objects, processes and events. 
>Applied Ontology 4 (2009), pp. 71Ė107, DOI 10.3233/AO-2009-0067, IOS Press.
> 
>  
> 
> Thanks,
> 
> Leo
> 
>  
> 
> From: ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx 
>[mailto:ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Matthew West
> Sent: Monday, March 23, 2015 3:12 PM
> To: '[ontolog-forum] '
> Subject: Re: [ontolog-forum] Endurantism and Perdurantism - Re: Some Comments 
>on Descriptive vs. Prescriptive Ontologies
> 
>  
> 
> Dear Robert,
> 
> If you get something going with this, Iíll be interested in the outcome.
> 
>  
> 
> Regards
> 
>  
> 
> Matthew West
> 
> http://www.matthew-west.org.uk
> 
> +44 750 338 5279
> 
>  
> 
>  
> 
>  
> 
> From: ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx 
>[mailto:ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of 
>rrovetto@xxxxxxxxxxx
> Sent: 23 March 2015 17:21
> To: [ontolog-forum]
> Subject: Re: [ontolog-forum] Endurantism and Perdurantism - Re: Some Comments 
>on Descriptive vs. Prescriptive Ontologies
> 
>  
> 
>  
> 
> On Mon, Mar 23, 2015 at 5:21 AM, Matthew West <dr.matthew.west@xxxxxxxxx> 
>wrote:
> 
> Dear Robert,
> 
>  
> 
> Replies below after [RR] (= Robert Rovetto)...
> 
> [MW>] I think it is more useful to think of being a process or a physical 
>object are different views on things, rather than being entirely different 
>things or just eliminating the physical object view
> 
> [RR] Agreed. A colleague not long ago mention this vis-a-vis bfo: that it 
>should return to the idea that the continuant-occurent (or snap-span) 
>distinction are two perspectives on the world.
> 
> [MW>] The key is whether it is one object with two perspectives, or one 
>object per perspective with the perspectives being mutually exclusive (as BFO 
>requires). Changing between these two might seem simple, but it is a change to 
>a core commitment of the ontology. Iíd rather not be around when you suggested 
>it to Barry Smith.
> 
>  
> 
> For sure I think the perspectives are ours and can be many. I question, and 
>others should as well, whether the mutual exclusivity (I think some have here) 
>of any given two or more perspectives--speaking of any ontology, now--should 
>be. Right, changing b/w them for that particular ontology would be an issue, 
>but no one should have any consternation to suggesting it, not if the 
>intention is to contribute, help and ensure that the ontology or system in 
>question itself helps the communities it serves. And if people have 
>consternation then something is wrong.
> 
>  
> 
> It is also more help, and perhaps less stressful, to think of them as 
>perspectives rather than one or the other being metaphysically (objectively) 
>reflective of reality.
> 
> [MW>] I would not see these different perspectives as not being reflective of 
>reality, just reflective of different aspects of it.
> 
> Some have metaphysical views, and there may be a fact of the matter, but when 
>it comes to solving real-world problems (to the extent that applied ontologies 
>can even do so!) taking the perspective approach appears better since, again, 
>the goal is to solve problems.
> 
> [MW>] The question is, if there is one object, with a physical object and 
>process perspective, what sort of thing is it that allows those two 
>perspectives? I suppose you could just say that they are particulars without 
>saying anything more. My answer would be chunks of space-time (or 
>spatio-temporal extents). A chunk of space time might be the spatio-temporal 
>extent of a person, or it might be the spatio-temporal extent of a meeting, or 
>of a person whistling.
> 
>  
> 
> My intuition is that a given physical object is more than s-t extent/c, but 
>since this question delves into space-time, it might be wise to consult 
>physicists. A number of interesting issues come up here with the question: 
>implicit (perhaps outdated/naive-physics sense) conceptions of space and time 
>(e.g. container view), s-t boundaries of, say, a meeting (event), etc.
> 
>  
> 
>  
> 
> Some have held that processes (but not events) endure.
> 
> [MW>] Iím not sure what you mean by this last statement.
> 
> [RR] What I meant was this. In the traditional sense...
> Endurance is the form of persistance attributed of endurants/continuants 
>(objects).
> Perdurance is the form of persistance attributed of perdurants/occurrents 
>(processes, events).= temporal extension, temporal parts, etc. Some in 
>philosophy and applied onto hold that processes are different from events, the 
>former enduring (no temporal parts), with the latter perduring (having 
>temporal parts).
> 
> [MW>] So an event has zero thickness in time? That would be how I use the 
>term, as a temporal boundary. But many use it as a synonym for activity or 
>process.
> 
>  
> 
> [MW>] No, I disagree here. I (and I think Pat) would consider that having an 
>upper level ontology like that of OBO is better than no upper level at all, 
>even though neither of us would want to use it ourselves. It is important that 
>different parts of an ontology are consistent, or you just end up in all kinds 
>of mess.
> 
> Iíve said it before, but itís worth repeating. The problems arise in the 
>constraints that an ontology imposes. You need to be very critical of any 
>constraint that is proposed. Leave it out unless you are certain it is one 
>that always applies, no exceptions ever
> 
> [RR] I did not say no upper level at all. I said ontology projects, such as 
>obo foundry, should not have *as a rule/requirement* the adoption of this or 
>that particular top-level. Certainly not for projects dealing with socially 
>critical data and subject matters such as health. There are too many risks.
> 
> [MW>] The risks however, compare to the certainty that if you use different 
>upper level ontologies, you will have work to do to get them to interoperate.
> 
> We want the models to be helpful, match the helpful domain conceptualizations 
>and domain knowledge, and we do not want the ontological systems or 
>ontologists to impost this is or that philosophical view that may in fact 
>distort the domain knowledge, or worse distort the way domain scientists 
>think! (an interesting research project, yes. Interested parties, please 
>contact me). Some in the foundry have agreed on no rule/requirement, even 
>prior to me even thinking about it (independent of knowing their sharing this 
>point).
> 
> [MW>] So how are you going to determine your upper level ontology, i.e. the 
>top level commitments and constraints you are going to accept?
> 
>  
> 
> You're right. But I think you might be missing the point. I did not say--nor 
>did I mean to imply--that multiple top-level ontologies should be used for a 
>given domain ontology or for a project like obo. I said, again, it should NOT 
>be a rule or requirement (of potential ontology members of the project or of 
>ontologies being subsumed) to use this or that particular ontology. That's 
>all. The point is that in making it a rule, you take steps toward 
>monopolization, and greater risk of what some people in this thread have 
>concerns about also, e.g., imposition, forcing, constraints, syntax issues, 
>etc. The goal is to solve real-world problems, and if there happens to be a 
>different upper-level that can help accomplish them (or even better captures 
>the domain), then such a rule would stand in that way. This does not mean 
>change top-levels haphazardly. In fact I would hope that any top-level has 
>checks and balances in place to ensure those risks are not realized and that 
>it is open to change in the light of discovery and error-finding. The concern 
>is largely ensuring that the system solves real-world problems it's intended 
>to (to the extent ontologies will/have even prove useful to do that!), and 
>that the domain science be represented faithfully without any distorting 
>affects on domain scientists thinking (assuming their thinking is rational).
> 
>  
> 
> Regards
> 
>  
> 
> Matthew West
> 
> http://www.matthew-west.org.uk
> 
> +44 750 338 5279
> 
>  
> 
> 
> 
> [MW] Iíve said it before, but itís worth repeating. The problems arise in the 
>constraints that an ontology imposes. You need to be very critical of any 
>constraint that is proposed. 
> 
> [RR] I agree.
> 
>  
> 
> Best,
> 
> Rob
> 
>  
> 
> On Sat, Mar 21, 2015 at 2:57 PM, Matthew West <dr.matthew.west@xxxxxxxxx> 
>wrote:
> 
> Dear Roberto
> 
> <snip>
> 
> Two good points: 
> 1a) Questioning the mutual exclusivity of the object-process 
>endurant-perdurant distinction. 
> 
> There is, at least to me, something odd about conceptualizing a process as 
>distinct from the participant, at least in any objective or metaphysical 
>sense. In reality whatever we call 'process' and their 'participant' (or 
>'object') are mutually interrelated. The distinction, the separation, may at 
>most be an artificial one. The question is, what are symbolisms or 
>representations that better capture that?
> 
> [MW>] The way that I do it is that an activity/process consists of its 
>participants, where a participant is the state of a particular whilst it 
>participates in the activity/process. This works both for things like a banana 
>ripening, where there is only one participant, and for things like meetings, 
>or a game of football, where there are multiple participants.
> 
> 1b) And opening the door to other conceptualizations of these categories.
> 
> We also read: "I see no strong or principled difference between things 
>undergoing change and processes of change in things"
> This intuition is shared by others and should be explored and formalized. But 
>it need not mean that things are processes in the traditional perdurantist 
>sense.
> 
> [MW>] I think it is more useful to think of being a process or a physical 
>object are different views on things, rather than being entirely different 
>things or just eliminating the physical object view.
> 
> Some have held that processes (but not events) endure.
> 
> [MW>] Iím not sure what you mean by this last statement.
> 
> 2) Questioning and preventing the formalization (or the symbolism/logic) from 
>distorting or misrepresenting the world (or the conceptualization of it we 
>want to formalize)
> 
> - "axiom-bloat" 
> - "I meant decisions such as whether to treat a concept as a relation or a 
>function or an individual, where to locate the temporal parameters, whether or 
>not one uses a discipline to keep differently typed parameters distinct, and 
>if so what it is, and so on. There are many alternative ways to express a 
>given set of facts in a given formal language"
> 
> A question to ask is how much do philosophical theories/views affect the 
>treatment of the concepts and the symbolism. 
> For example, the concern about forcing the distinction or requiring a 
>specific syntax--a concern I've expressed elsewhere--is important. The obo 
>foundry and other similar projects should not have as a rule/requirement a 
>particular upper-level ontology. This might seem contrary to the goal of 
>interoperability in the domain, but it is simply to ensure that the forcing 
>does not take place, that monopolies are avoided, and that alternative 
>representations that might better serve the biomedical community are sought 
>and available/open to be sought and created.
> 
> [MW>] No, I disagree here. I (and I think Pat) would consider that having an 
>upper level ontology like that of OBO is better than no upper level at all, 
>even though neither of us would want to use it ourselves. It is important that 
>different parts of an ontology are consistent, or you just end up in all kinds 
>of mess.
> 
> Iíve said it before, but itís worth repeating. The problems arise in the 
>constraints that an ontology imposes. You need to be very critical of any 
>constraint that is proposed. Leave it out unless you are certain it is one 
>that always applies, no exceptions ever.
> 
> The goal is (should be) *the solving of real-world problems*, and health, 
>biomedicine, privacy, etc. are most certainly domains where we should keep 
>that in mind. The particular upper-level (or otherwise) views and symbolisms 
>should not hinder that goal. The point about the limits of owl is also worth 
>repeating.
> 
> Finally, I find what Avril S. said interesting. But there may be mistake in: 
>"a particular at one time is called an occurrent; a sequence of two or more 
>particulars at two or more consecutive times is called a continuant."
> In the traditional endur-perd/contin-occur sense, a partiular *at a time* 
>would be a continuant, i.e., a wholly-present persisting entity. If parts of 
>occurrents are particulars, then it could be a temporal part (slice) of an 
>occurrent, but not the whole occurrent. And I think a particular over a time 
>interval would be an occurrent.
> 
> [MW>] Traditional occurrents donít have temporal parts of course, and at each 
>time it exists you have all of it. Probably better to use another name if you 
>mean something different.
> 
>  
> 
> Regards
> 
>  
> 
> Matthew West
> 
> http://www.matthew-west.org.uk
> 
> +44 750 338 5279
> 
> 
> 
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