April 24th and 25th, 1998

Department of Philosophy, SUNY Buffalo

The application of ontology has thus far been confined almost exclusively to the field of knowledge representation. Ontology has been applied, for example, in the design of medical databases and in the construction of geographical information systems. One area which is naturally suited to ontological analysis is that of the law and of social institutions in general.
    Legal systems are composed of legal entities, such as laws, contracts, obligations, and rights. Their application yields new categories of entities such as: corporations, trademarks, marriages, and parcels of real estate. The categorization of these entities by different legal systems has not, by-and-large, been conducted in ways which exploit the tools of modern ontology. Consequently, contradictions and inconsistencies often arise in the law when, for instance, one type of entity is forced into two mutually exclusive categories (e.g., when software is considered both patentable and copyrightable). Papers are invited which consider these and related issues from a philosophical point of view.

Conference Directors: Barry Smith (Department of Philosophy, SUNY Buffalo), David Koepsell (Cohen and Lombardo PC, Buffalo)

Executive Committee: Roberto Casati (CNRS), Randall Dipert (West Point), Andrew Frank (Vienna Technical University), David Mark (Geography/NCGIA, Buffalo), Errol Meidinger (School of Law, Buffalo), J. C. Nyiri (Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest), Mariam Thalos (University at Buffalo), Achille Varzi (Columbia University).

The organizers gratefully acknowledge support from the Department of Philosophy and the Center for Cognitive Science of the University at Buffalo, from the Marvin Farber Memorial Fund, and from SUNY's Conferences in the Disciplines and Conversations in the Disciplines programs.

Buffalo Ontology Site
Legal Theory Site