GFO Part I Basic Principles
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14.9 Association

The relation $\Gassoc(s,u)$ means ``the universal $u$ is associated with the situoid $s$''. These universals determine which material relations and individuals occur as constituents within a given situoid. Thus, the association provides information about the granularities and viewpoints that a situoid presupposes. For example, a situoid $s$ may be a certain part of the world encompassing the life of a tree in a certain environment. If a tree is considered as an organism, then the universals associated with $s$ determine the viewpoint of a biologist, and the associated granularity of included types of individuals (branches are included, electrons are not). The association relation is related to a cognitive procedure that transforms mere material structures into situations and situoids. Situations and situoids are parts of the world that can be ``comprehended as a whole''. At the purely material level, these parts can be understood - we believe - as superimposing fields (gravitational, electromagnetic, etc.), which constitute a certain distribution of energy and matter. At the mental or psychological level, this distribution is perceived as a material structure. A material structure - as we have introduced it - is a pre-version of a situation. At this level of perception, certain structures may already be perceived: material boundaries, colors and the like. The level of comprehension, of understanding this part of the world as a situation, needs more than only the elementary perceptual structures. Comprehension presupposes the availability of concepts, and the formation and the use of concepts seems to be a component of the mind's cognitive process. The association relation is related to this ability of the mind to understand material structures of the world as situations.

Robert Hoehndorf 2006-10-18


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