Problems in Ontology:
The Metaphysics of Spatial Entities
4 Clemens Hall
The course offers a general introduction to ontology, concentrating
especially on examples derived from the domain of geospatial phenomena.
We shall discuss the relationships between ontology and other types of
philosophical enterprise, including epistemology and semantics. We shall
outline the main formal methods in philosophy, and apply these to such
topics as the ontology and semantics of maps. Other topics to be discussed
will include: ontology and information systems, mereology and topology,
qualitative physics, the theory of location, objects and fields, places,
naive geography, boundaries, vagueness, land and real estate, the ontology
of ecology, the ontology of international law.
This course satisfies the Ontological Foundations requirement of the University at Buffalo IGERT Program in Geographic Information Science.
|1 BS*||Sep 3||General introduction. Range of geographic phenomena. Geographic categories and empirical ontology.||Mark/Smith/Tversky, "Ontology and Geographic Objects: An Empirical Study of Cognitive Categorization"|
|2 BS||Sep 10||Niches, ecology and qualitative geometry.||Smith, "The Niche"|
|3 BS||Sep 17||Parts and wholes: 1: Principles.||Casati and Varzi, Parts
and Places, Ch. 3.
Casati, Smith, Varzi, "Ontological Tools for Geographic Representation”
|4 RC||Sep 24||Logical symbolisms. Logic: applications. Logical form.||Davidson, D., 1967, "The Logical Form of Action Sentences", in Rescher, N., ed. The Logic of Decision and Action, Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh University Press. (Variously reprinted.)|
|5 BS||Oct 1||Visitor: Achille Varzi (Columbia). Mereology. Vagueness. Spatial reasoning and naive theories of space. Naive topology.||Casati, "Naive
Smith and Varzi: "Fiat and Bona Fide Boundaries"
|6 RC||Oct 8||Naive physics and naive geography. Common sense and science.||Pat Hayes, "The
Second Naive Physics Manifesto"
Egenhofer and Mark, Mark/Egenhofer, "Naive Geography"
|7 RC||Oct 15||Visitors: D. Mark. Cognition of geographic objects||Mark/Smith/Tversky, "Ontology and Geographic Objects: An Empirical Study of Cognitive Categorization"|
|8 RC||Oct 22||Visitor: Berit Brogaard. Parts and wholes 2: Objects, fields and time.||Casati and Varzi, Parts and
Places, Ch. 4.
Peuquet, Smith, Brogaard, "The Ontology of Fields"
|9 RC||Oct 29||Folk geography and folk astronomy||Casati and Noveck (Material to be circulated)|
|10 BS||Nov 5||The Environment of Mind||N.B. This class will take place beginning
at 3.15pm in the Center
for Inquiry, 1310 Sweet Home Road, Amherst
Smith, "Husserlian Ecology"
|11 BS||Nov 12||Ontology of real estate. Ontology of geopolitics||Smith and Zaibert, "The
Metaphysics of Real Estate"
Smith, "The Cognitive Geometry of War"
|12 BS||Nov 19||Visitor: Lynd Forguson (University of Toronto): Cognitive Epidemiology: A Case Study||N.B. This class will take place in Park 280
|13 RC||Dec 3||Maps I||"Maps", Ch. 11 in Casati and Varzi, Parts and Places, MIT 1999|
|14 RC||Dec 10||Maps II: Semantics||"Maps", Ch. 11 in Casati and Varzi, Parts and Places, MIT 1999|
*indicates faculty member/visitor having primary responsibility for the class indicated.
Grading: The grade for the course will be based primarily on a term paper, to be submitted on or before December 2. Additional credit can be obtained for active class participation.
Reading: The required reading for the course is indicated in the table above.