Granular Spatio-Temporal Ontologies

Thomas Bittner and Barry Smith

We propose an ontological theory that is powerful enough to describe both complex spatio-temporal processes (occurrents) and the enduring entities (continuants) that participate therein. The theory is divided into two major categories of sub-theories: (sub-) theories of type SPAN and (sub-)theories of type SNAP. These theories represent two complementary perspectives on reality and result in distinct though compatible systems of categories. In SNAP we have enduring entities such as substances, qualities, roles, functions; in SPAN we have perduring entities such as processes and their parts and aggregates. We argue that both kinds of ontological theory are required in order to give a non-reductionism account of complex domains of reality.


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