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Re: [ontac-forum] ISO 15926 and BFO

To: ONTAC-WG General Discussion <ontac-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sun, 20 Nov 2005 10:51:43 -0500
Message-id: <43809B8F.8010405@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Dear Matthew,    (01)

That is an important point, which gets into very
serious questions about how various ontologies
should be related to one another:    (02)

 > MW: For those that are not familiar, ISO 15926 is
 > a 4D ontology and so does not recognise physical
 > objects as continuants (things that are wholly present
 > at each point in time and so do not have temporal
 > parts) but considers them to be spatio-temporal extents
 > (extended in time and having temporal parts or states).
 > BFO takes the alternate view, hence the banter.    (03)

If we are discussing the most fundamental issues of what
exists and how it could best be characterized, I prefer
Whitehead's process ontology, which is explicitly 4-D
and which considers processes to be fundamental.    (04)

A physical object -- typically called a continuant in
some ontologies -- would be described by Whitehead as
a long-lived process that is characterized by a "form
of definiteness" -- a pattern that enables the process
to be recognized at different occasions.    (05)

When the pattern becomes established, one would say that
the object is created or born, and when the pattern is
no longer recognizable, one would say that the object
is destroyed or dies.    (06)

An example I like to use is the Great Red Spot on Jupiter,
which has been observed over a period of several centuries.
Yet its "form of definiteness" lies on a continuum that
includes such transient events as a dust devil or a
tornado, up to longer lived events such as hurricanes
with names like Katrina or Hugo, and on the far end of
the scale, the Great Red Spot.    (07)

For medical applications, either ontology is applicable.
You could call a heart or a liver a continuant, or you
could call it a long-lived process with a particular form
of definiteness.  When you get to microbiology, the process
view becomes a more and more natural way of describing
what is going on.    (08)

John    (09)

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