SUO: RE: RE: Metaphysical choices - position. mereology and constitution
Comments below. I think this is turning out to be a very useful
discussion. I've done much editing of previous messages to keep the overall
> I'm not sure that this is true. Why couldn't (part QueenElizabeth
> EnglishMonarch) be true in an atemporal sense? Even part
> relations that are
> blessed by Peter Simons are going to hold between two
> physical objects,
> right? If so, then, assuming that all physical objects have
> a limited life
> span, it would follow that all part relations are parallel to the one
> involving Queen Elizabeth.
> CP2> Sure you can have atemporal parts - like my hand being a
> part of my arm being a functional part of my body - and so
> on. In fact, in
> the traditional 3D view objects' parts are atemporal - and
> for this reason,
> in principle, objects do not have temporal parts. As the SUMO
> says (copied from my earlier extract below) 'in other words,
> an &%Object
> cannot have 'parts' which are separated in time, such as the first and
> second halves of a football game.' But what you have here
> contradicts that:
> Queen Elizabeth and King George are *definitely* separated in
> time. QED they
> cannot be 'parts'.
I don't understand why you think the hand/arm case differs from the Queen
Elizabeth case. It is true to say now that my hand is part of my arm, but,
if I had an unfortunate accident at some point in the future and my hand had
to be amputated, from that point on my hand would not be a part of my arm.
Thus, it still seems to me that all part relations that hold between
physical objects are inherently temporal.
> CP2> Similarly if X and Y swap hearts in a heart transplant,
> then the heart
> X was born with has a stage which is part of X until the
> heart transplant
> and then the heart Y was born with has a stage that is part
> of X. It makes
> no sense to me to say that these are atemporally part of X -
> surely this is
> a example where they are quintessentially temporarily part of X.
> CP2> Also as the SUMO Object documentation says: 'An &%Object
> is thought of
> as continuing through time, but at any particular time is all
> there is at
> that time, in contrast to something that is thought of as
> being divided into
> stages (contrast &%Process).' I suspect a typo (or
> misunderstanding) - it
> should read 'is all there at the time'. So taking this and
> your claim at
> face value, at any particular time that the EnglishMonarch
> exists its parts,
> Queen Elizabeth and King George, do also. Which seems
I'm not sure I follow part of this comment. What difference in meaning is
there between "is all there is that time" and "is all there is at the time"?
As for the rest, I agree that the documentation of 'Object' and 'Process' is
overly laden with metaphysical niceties that probably have no business in a
general-purpose ontology. Perhaps the best course would be to retain the
distinction between 'Object' and 'Process', but eliminate the language in
the documentation strings which implies the 3D orientation. In other words,
I think we can have our cake and eat it too. We can assume that there is,
in the majority of cases anyway, a clear distinction between objects and
processes, since people by and large agree on which is which, but we can
also refuse to stake a strong philosophical claim about what this difference
amounts too. How does this approach strike you?
> > And during that lifespan (part EnglishMonarch QueenElizabeth)
> > also would
> > also hold as improper parts are allowed.
> I don't follow you here.
> CP2>Maybe it is easier to understand if one spells out the
> indirectly stated
> holdsduring - holdsduring Queen Elizabeth's lifespan (part
> QueenElizabeth). Under most merelogies this would, of course imply
> identity - but I cannot see how this pans out in SUMO - maybe you can.
I agree that the assertion '(holdsDuring (WhenFn QueenElizabeth) (part
QueenElizabeth EnglishMonarch))' should be true in the SUMO. I'm not sure
why you think this should imply an identity between 'QueenElizabeth' and
'EnglishMonarch'. The assertion (holdsDuring (WhenFn MyHand) (part MyHand
MyArm)) is, barring any bad accidents, true, but that doesn't imply that
there is an identity between my hand and my arm.
> Well, I don't think you've established that we're adopting a
> 4D tactic here,
> for the reason given above.
> CP2> Firstly, see reply above. Secondly the 4D thesis is, in
> one of its
> definitions, that ordinary physical objects have temporal
> parts - see, for
> example, "Parthood and Identity Across Time" by Judith Jarvis
> Thomson. So as
> you are proposing that objects are subject to a temporal part
> relation -
> this must be, *by definition*, a 4D thesis. Thirdly, the
> name 4D tactic or
> X tactic is not particularly relevant, the question still
> holds. To repeat:
> 'I would be interested in knowing in what cases of
> co-location you would not
> adopt this position. And how this is decision is formalised within the
> SUMO.' Note - I cannot find anything on co-location using the
> SUMO browser.
> I presume this means that the SUMO has not explored the ways in which
> co-location can be interpreted - leaving this open to the people who
> implement domain ontologies to do in as heterogeneous way as
> they wish.
I think the last sentence expresses a fair assessment. We haven't taken a
position on co-location, and we've made the assumption that conflicting
interpretations of co-location will be rare, and conflicting interpretations
that actually result in, for example, interoperability problems will be even
> > (NB: you seem to have ignored completely my arguments that
> > Queen Elizabeth
> > is not any of the types of agent in the SUMO - though I agree
> > with you that
> > in the SUMO ontology it would be an object and not a
> > process.)
> I don't recall you giving an argument to this effect. I
> think you made this
> claim, but I don't remember seeing anything to substantiate
> it. In any
> case, Queen Elizabeth would be a 'CognitiveAgent' in the SUMO.
> CP2> In ordinary language we talk about Queen Elizabeth
> making a commitment,
> but if you look at this in (legal) detail this is shorthand for the
> EnglishMonarch (when Elizabeth is Queen). To see the same point from a
> different viewpoint, take the X Y heart transplant example
> above. Are the
> stages of X and Y's hearts also hearts. I suppose one could
> make a case for
> this (and as usual a philosopher has) but it is unusual and
> counter-intuitive. Or to argue another way, is Queen
> Elizabeth during the
> first decade of her reign a CognitiveAgent, or Elizabeth Windsor as a
> child - and if so, what temporal parts, if any, do not qualify as
Well, it may just be a fact about the way the concepts work that temporal
parts of 'Agents' are themselves 'Agents', while temporal parts of other
things, like 'Organs', are not themselves 'Organs' (or at least not the same
kind of 'Organ').
> >If the SUMO
> > wants to do a proper job of regimenting the notion of a
> > position as agent it
> > needs to clarify what type the position-occupying stage is.
> Well, I suggested making it a 'subrelation' of 'part' in my
> last message to
> you. I'm still unconvinced that this results in some sort of
> melding of 3D and 4D perspectives, which is what you seem to
> be claiming.
> CP2> This seems to be a misreading of the point. The question
> asked what the
> object the 'position-occupying *stage*' was - not the
Both arguments in the 'occupiesPosition' relation are required to be
instances of 'CognitiveAgent'.
> CP2>My original point was that this variety is not useful as
> it compromised
> the intended use of the ontology to facilitate interoperability of
> information systems. Allowing there to be two interpretations
> with different
> objects and different numbers of objects clearly does so -
> there cannot, in
> principle, be a one-to-one mapping. So can I infer that you
> (now) accept
> that SUMO allowing two interpretations compromises interoperability as
> described by Bill Anderson as item 3) from the PAR.
> The advantage of embodying such variety is that it
> makes the standard palatable to a wider class of users. It
> would certainly
> be a shame if some users declined to use the ontology just
> because it didn't
> accord with their.
I'm not sure I follow you here. I guess your general claim is that one
ontology (call it O1) can conform with another ontology (call it O2) only if
the existential claims that follow from O2 (call them E2) can also be
derived from O1 (call these claims E1). Is that what you're saying? If so,
I don't buy it. Even if O1 and O2 make different claims about what exists
(i.e. even if E1 and E2 are not identical), the two ontologies may agree
about how to classify what exists in the real world. For it may be that the
class of things that actually exist in the world (or even just the things
that we are interested in describing) are a subset of both E1 and E2. If
that's the case, then the two ontologies agree for all practical purposes,
even though they conflict as regards la-la land.
> CP2> This does not seem to have been an overriding consideration when
> Teknowledge took the decision to use a 3D ontology.
> CP2> I agree there are trade-offs. However for most
> commercial projects,
> worries about accommodating 'preferred metaphysical theory'
> are low down the
> list compared with enabling interoperability - unless the
> preference gives
> at least a comparable business benefit.
I'm glad we agree about this.