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

To: ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
From: John F Sowa <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 31 Mar 2015 13:15:26 -0400
Message-id: <551AD62E.1090704@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Dear Matthew, Leo, William, and Pat,    (01)

> Whilst this [waterfall paper by Galton & Mizoguchi] 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.    (02)

I agree.  Instead of a waterfall, I use the example of a glacier.
With a short time scale, a glacier is an object.  Over a longer
period of time, it's just as much a process as a waterfall.    (03)

> [Waterfall paper] 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... Stout, R. (1997). Processes. Philosophy, 72, 1927    (04)

These are different ways of dividing up the world and talking about
it.  You need different concepts and microtheories for different
kinds of tasks with different goals, time scales, measuring
instruments, etc.    (05)

> 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... is fuzzy...
> if we can categorize things, we can recategorize them, as need be.    (06)

> Yes, there is such a way, if we can use the syntactic freedom
> available in ISO Common Logic...  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.    (07)

I agree.  Two people can refer to the same glacier even though
one calls it an object and the other calls it a process.    (08)

But that may conflict with methodologies that depend on strict
"identity criteria".  My recommendation is to treat identity
criteria as guidelines rather than absolute requirements.    (09)

I had an argument with Nicola G. on this issue.  He pointed
to some philosophy books on identity.  But I pointed out
that every one of them showed that the thorny problems far
outnumbered the definitive solutions.    (010)

I would also add that many differences in ontology cannot be
reconciled by purely syntactic translations.  Even in those cases,
some conflicts can be avoided by using an underspecified ontology
that doesn't say anything about the conflicting details.    (011)

> The question for the engineer is, is it *useful* to make
> these distinctions?    (012)

For applied ontology, being useful is the sine qua non.    (013)

My favorite philosophers were also scientists and engineers:
Aristotle, Kant, Peirce, Whitehead, and Wittgenstein.  In the
following article, I discuss all five of them:    (014)

    Signs, processes, and language games    (015)

A more detailed discussion of the implications for ontology:    (016)

    Processes and causality    (017)

The following email thread also makes some relevant points:    (018)

    http://www.jfsowa.com/ontology/psl_pn.htm#tc19    (019)

John    (020)

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