ECAI 2004 Conference Paper

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The mereology of stages and persistent entities

Thomas Bittner

In this paper a formal theory of the mereological structure of persistent entities is presented. Persistants are entities which exist at more than one instant in time. Endurance and perdurance as different modes of persistence are identified and distinguished according to the ways persistants are located in spacetime and according to whether or not statements about parthood among those entities can be made in an a-temporal manner. The underlying framework is a layered mereology. Roughly, layers in the presented theory are interpreted as three-dimensional (time-)indexed slices of spacetime. Two kinds of parthood relations are distinguished: (a) parthood relations which are confined to hold among entities within a single layer; and (b) parthood relations which hold across layers. Different kinds of parthood relations provide the basis to formally characterize the different modes of persistence. The proposed framework is purely mereological and avoids commitments to a specific temporal ontology. The distinction between temporal and atemporal statements about parthood is replaced by the distinction of statements using layer-dependent and layer-independent notions of parthood.

Keywords: Ontology, Knowledge representation, spacetime, space, time

Citation: Thomas Bittner: The mereology of stages and persistent entities. In R.López de Mántaras and L.Saitta (eds.): ECAI2004, Proceedings of the 16th European Conference on Artificial Intelligence, IOS Press, Amsterdam, 2004, pp.283-287.

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ECAI-2004 is organised by the European Coordinating Committee for Artificial Intelligence (ECCAI) and hosted by the Universitat Politècnica de València on behalf of Asociación Española de Inteligencia Artificial (AEPIA) and Associació Catalana d'Intel-ligència Artificial (ACIA).