598B Mereology #423465
W
7-9pm (141 Park)

Thomas Bittner

In this course we start with a formal analysis of General Extensional Mereology (GEM). We will discuss the basic axioms and some theorems as well as their philosophical implications. We then extend GEM by adding further primitives. We discuss several strategies of extending mereology to mereotopology, to a theory of location, holes, and environments. The course can be regarded as an exercise in the use of logical methods for philosophical purposes.

Grading

 

Grades will be determined as follows:

40% 45-60 minute presentation during class.

60% One double-spaced 10 page paper, due November 15.

 

Syllabus:

 

27.08.

Intro & overview, history, and review of logical principles.

Readings: Barry Smith and Kevin Mulligan, "Pieces of a Theory", in Barry Smith (ed.), Parts and Moments. Studies in Logic and Formal Ontology , Munich: Philosophia, 1982, 15-109. ftp

03.09.

General Extensional Mereology (GEM) – the formal theory

Readings: Varzi, A., ‘Mereology’, in Edward N. Zalta (ed.), Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Stanford: CSLI (internet publication), 2003. ftp

10.09.

Hierarchy of mereological theories

Varzi, A. ‘Parts, Wholes, and Part-Whole Relations: The Prospects of Mereotopology’, 1996, Data and Knowledge Engineering, 20:3, 259-86. Sections 1 and 2 ftp

17.09.

General Extensional Mereology: Problems with Transitivity and Extensionality

Readings:

  • Winston, M., Chaffin, R., and Herrmann, D., 1987, ‘A Taxonomy of Part-Whole Relations’, Cognitive Science 11: 417-444.
  • Gerstl, P. and Pribbenow, S., 1995, ‘Midwinters, End Games, and Bodyparts. A Classification of Part-Whole Relations’, International Journal of Human-Computer Studies 43: 865-889.

24.09.

General Extensional Mereology: Problems with Closure Principles

Readings:

  • Varzi, A., ‘Mereological Commitments’, 2000, Dialectica, 54:4, 283-305 ftp
  • Varzi, A., Basic Problems for Mereotopology’, in Nicola Guarino (ed.), Formal Ontology in Information Systems, Amsterdam and Oxford: IOS Press, 1998, pp. 29-38.

01.10.

Mereotopology (1) – topological primitives are added to a mereological basis

Readings:

  • Varzi, A. ‘Parts, Wholes, and Part-Whole Relations: The Prospects of Mereotopology’, 1996, Data and Knowledge Engineering, 20:3, 259-86. Sections 3 and 4
  • Smith, B., Mereotopology: A Theory of Parts and Boundaries, Data and Knowledge Engineering, 20 (1996), 287-303 ftp

08.10.

Mereotopology (2) – mereology as sub-theory of topology

Readings:

  • Varzi, A. ‘Parts, Wholes, and Part-Whole Relations: The Prospects of Mereotopology’, 1996, Data and Knowledge Engineering, 20:3, 259-86. Section 5
  • Cohn, A.G., Bennett, B., Goodday, J. and Gotts, N., 1997, Qualitative
    Spatial Representation and Reasoning with the Region Connection Calculus,geoinformatica
    , 1/3, 1-44 ftp
  • Barry Smith and Achille Varzi, "Fiat and Bona Fide Boundaries", Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 60: 2, 2000, 401-420.

 

15.10.

Mereotopology (3) – topology as domain specific sub-theory of mereology

Readings:

  • Varzi, A. ‘Parts, Wholes, and Part-Whole Relations: The Prospects of Mereotopology’, 1996, Data and Knowledge Engineering, 20:3, 259-86. Section 6
  • Eschenbach, Carola & Wolfgang Heydrich (1995). Classical mereology and restricted domains. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies 43. 723-740.

22.10.

Theories of location

Reading:

  • Casati, R. and Varzi, A., ‘The Structure of Spatial Localization’, 1996 , Philosophical Studies, 82:2, 205-239. ftp
  • Ontological Tools for Geographic Representation, Roberto Casati, Barry Smith, and Achille C. Varzi, in: N. Guarino (ed.), Formal Ontology in Information Systems, Amsterdam: IOS Press, 1998, pp. 77-85. ftp

29.10.

Holes

Readings:

  • Varzi, A., ‘Holes’, in Edward N. Zalta (ed.), Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Stanford: CSLI (internet publication), 1996. ftp
  • Varzi, A., ‘Reasoning about Space: The Hole Story’, Logic and Logical Philosophy, 4, 3-39, 1996
  • Casati, R. and Varzi, A. , Holes and Other Superficialities, Cambridge, MA, and London: MIT Press, Bradford Books, 1994

05.11.

Environments and niches

Readings:

  • Smith, B. and Varzi, A., The Niche, Nous, 33:2 (1999) 198–222 ftp
  • Smith, B and Varzi, A.., ‘Surrounding Space’, Theory in Biosciences, 120:2, 139-162, 2002 ftp
  • Smith, B. and Varzi, A., ‘Environmental Metaphysics’, in Uwe Meixner (ed.), Metaphysics in the Post-Metaphysical Age. Proceedings of the 22th International Wittgenstein Symposium, Vienna: Hölder-Pichler-Tempsky, pp. 231-239, 2001 ftp

12.11.

Rough and granular mereology

Readings: tba.

19.11.

Foundation

Readings:

  • Fine, K., ‘Part-whole’ in B. Smith and D.W. Smith (eds.), The Cambridge Companion to Husserl, New York: Cambridge University Press, pp. 463-85, 1995
  • Readings: Null, G.T., 1983, ‘A First Order System for Non-Universal Part-whole and Foundation relations’, in Embree 1983, 463-484

        Simons, P. M., 1987, Parts. A Study in Ontology, Oxford: Clarendon,
Section 8

26.11.

No class

03.12.

Summary, Conclusions

 

 

General readings:

  • I.M. Copi, Symbolic Logic, Prentice Hall, 1979, Chapters 1-5
  • Simons, P. M., 1987, Parts. A Study in Ontology, Oxford: Clarendon
  • Roberto Casati and Achille Varzi, Holes and Other Superficialities, Cambridge, MA, and London: MIT Press, Bradford Books, x + 253 pp, 1994
  • Roberto Casati and Achille Varzi, Parts and Places. The Structures of Spatial Representation, Cambridge, MA, and London: MIT Press, Bradford Books, x + 238 pp, 1999
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