GFO Part I Basic Principles
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11.2 Situoids and Configuroids

Configurations have a counterpart in the realm of processes, which we call configuroids. They are, in the simplest case, integrated wholes made up of material structure processes and property processes.

Furthermore, there is a category of processes whose boundaries are situations, and that satisfy certain principles of coherence, comprehensibility and continuity. We call these entities situoids; they are regarded as the most complex integrated wholes of the world. As it turns out, each of the entities we have considered thus far, including processes, can be embedded in a situoid. A situoid is, intuitively, a part of the world that is a coherent and comprehensible whole and does not need other entities in order to exist. Every situoid has a temporal extent and is framed by a topoid. An example of a situoid is ``John's kissing of Mary'', conceived as a process of kissing in a certain environment which contains individuals of the persistants John and Mary.

Every situoid is framed by a chronoid and a topoid. We use here two relations $\Gtframe(s,x)$, and $\Gsframe(s,y)$. Note that the relation $\Gtframe(s,x)$ is equivalent to $\Gprt(s,x)$, since a situoid is a process. The relations $\Gprs(s,x)$ and $\Gsframe(s,x)$ are different, though, such that the following relation is satisfied: $\Gprs(s,x) \Land \Gsframe(s,y) \rightarrow \Gspart(x,y)$.

Every temporal part of a situoid is a process aggregate. The temporal parts of a situoid $s$ are determined by the full projection of $s$ onto a part of the framing chronoid $c$ of $s$. This full projection relation is denoted by $\Gprt(a, c, b)$, where $a$ is a situoid, $c$ is a part of the framing chronoid of $a$, and $b$ is the process that results from this projection. Boundaries (including inner boundaries) of situoids are projections to time-boundaries. We assume that projections of situoids to time-boundaries, which are denoted by $\Gprb(a, t, b)$, are situations. In every situation, a material structure is contained, and we say that a presential $e$ is a constituent of a situoid $s$, $\Gcpart(e,s)$, iff there is a time-boundary $t$ of $s$ such that the projection of $s$ onto $t$ is a situation containing $e$.

Situoids can be extended in two ways. Let $s$, $t$ be two situoids; we say that $t$ is a temporal extension of $s$, if there is an initial segment $c$ of the chronoid $t$ such that the projection of $t$ onto $c$ equals $s$. We say that $t$ is a structural extension of $s$ if $s$ is a structural layer of $t$ (cf. section 8.1). Both kinds of extensions can be combined to form the more general notion of a structural-temporal extension. Reality can - in a sense - be understood as a web of situoids that are connected by structural-temporal extensions. The notion of an extension can be relativized to situations. Since there cannot be temporal extensions of situations, an extension $t$ of the situation $s$ is always a structural extension. As an example, consider a fixed single material structure $P$, which occurs in situation $s$. Every extension of $s$ is determined by adding further qualities or relators to $s$ to the intrinsic properties of $P$. A quality-bundle that is unified by the material structure $P$ is called saturated if no extension of $s$ adds new qualities. It is an open question whether there is an extension $t$ of $s$, such that every material structure $P$ in $t$ unites with a saturated bundle of qualities.

A configuroid $c$ in the situoid $s$ is defined as the projection of a structural layer of $s$ onto a chronoid, which is a part of the time-frame of $s$. In particular, every structural layer of $s$ is itself a configuroid of $s$. Obviously every configuroid is a process. But not every process is a configuroid of a situoid, because not every process satisfies the substantiality condition.

We postulate as a basic axiom that every occurrent is - roughly speaking - a ``portion'' of a situoid, and we say that every occurrent is embedded in a situoid. Furthermore, we defend the position that processes should be analyzed and classified within the framework of situoids. Also, situoids may be used as ontological entities representing contexts. Developing a rigorous typology of processes within the framework of situoids is an important future project. Occurrents may be classified with respect to different dimensions, among them we mention the temporal structure and the granularity of an occurrent.

As a final note regarding situoids, configurations, and their relatives, there are a number of useful, derivable categories. For instance, one can now define situational histories as histories that have only situations as their boundaries. In general, the theory of these entities is considered a promising field for future research.

Robert Hoehndorf 2006-10-18


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