GFO Part I Basic Principles
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9.2 Property Individuals and Their Values

Coming to concrete entities, one can observe, that e.g. size (``the size of a filing cabinet'') can be a property of other entities apart from filing cabinets, as it is a universal. Hence the question arises whether the size of the particular cabinet and the size of some other particular entity is literally the same entity. To answer this question, we introduce the distinction between property universals and property individuals (regarding these two categories, note the terminological and conceptual affinity with (39)).

In our example, we can differentiate between two entities: ``the size'' and ``the size of that cabinet''. The size is a property universal (as introduced above). Because it is a universal, it is independent of the filing cabinet. But apart from the universal, we find the particular size of the particular cabinet, which exists only in the context of this cabinet and therefore existentially depends on it. We call individuals of this kind property individuals. To say that an individual entity has a property means that there is a quality individual which is an instance of the property universal and that this property individual inheres in its bearer. So the ``size of that cabinet'' is a property individual that inheres in the cabinet, while ``size'' is a property universal, of which the quality is an instance.

We introduce values of property individuals, which are analagous to values of property universals. For example, big and small may be the values of the size universal, whereas a particular big or small of some cabinet is the value of an individual quality, namely the size of that cabinet. Values of property individuals are individuals instantiating the corresponding property universals' values. Moreover, the particular value $x$ is linked to a property individual $y$ by the relationship $\Gvalue(x, y)$.

Robert Hoehndorf 2006-10-18


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