[crm-sig] Scope note for E77 Existence

martin martin at ics.forth.gr
Fri Jan 18 23:34:34 EET 2002

Dear Nick,

I suggest to add to your definition another aspect about persistency. I perceive those "persistent items"
as those, which we may find again after some time. E.g. a name appears in a text. This raises the
question, who has first used that name? A picture of a person: Who has seen this person before?
A historical heirloom in a museum: is this really the watch Napoleon had in his hands?
Even though persons undergo physical change, there are things like fingerprints, DNA, memories
that allow for identification without a continuity of observation.
This was the major reason for me to make the distinction from Temporal Entities, not the recursion.
The persistence I see as relevant is that across events and periods. In that case, its definition is based
on the contrast to the notion of temporal entity and cannot imply it.

What do you think?


Nicholas Crofts wrote:

> Hello all,
> Below, after much deliberation, my revised scope note
> for E77 existence. The attached rtf file contains the
> same text in a slightly prettier format.
> Best wishes
> Nick
> E77 Existence
> E77 Existence encompasses (and thereby isolates)
> entities which share two attributes: having the
> potential to exist over a period of time, and having
> persistent identity during this period of existence.
> These attributes are intended to apply to both
> concrete objects, whether animate or inanimate and to
> ideas or concepts. Hypothetical or imaginary objects
> fall within this category insofar as they can be
> considered as conceptual objects i.e. E77 Existence is
> not intended to be restricted to physical existence.
> The conditions under which an object can be deemed to
> maintain its identity are often difficult to establish
> - the decision depends largely on the judgement of the
> observer. Most people would agree, for example, that a
> building ceases to exist if it is dismantled and the
> materials reused in a different configuration. Human
> beings, on the other hand, in common with many other
> organisms, go through radical and profound changes
> during their life-span, affecting both material
> composition and form, yet preserve their identity.
> Identity in these cases would seem to depend more on
> continuity rather than the presence of any particular
> physical state or component.
> The main classes of objects which fall outside the
> scope E77 Existence are temporal objects such as
> periods, events and acts, and descriptive properties,
> (such as materials) which function as adjectives and
> adverbs. The former may have persistent identity but
> are excluded primarily to avoid the possibility of a
> meaningless regression of beginning and ending periods
> of periods , the later because they have no real
> identity, or, to be more precise, their identity is of
> no interest in the present context.
> ******************
> Remarks:
> The name *Existence" is confusing and may be need to
> be changed. It contravenes the general requirement of
> the ISA hierarchy that sub classes may be described by
> the form "X is a Y". "Stuff is an Existence", for
> example, stretches comprehension into the realms of
> speculative metaphysics. Placing the accent on
> persistent identity rather on existence may provide an
> acceptable alternative: "Persistent Item", for
> example, or possibly just "Thing". However, this would
> appear to create some overlap with the E70 Stuff (cf
> scope note). I would suggest renaming E70 Stuff to
> emphasise the notion of potential use, (which is the
> only attribute introduced by this entity) "Useable
> Thing", perhaps. Apart from being disarmingly
> colloquial the term 'stuff' is arguably inappropriate
> since the scope note clearly indicates that the entity
> is intended to encompass 'items' - the word "stuff"
> suggests (at least to me) undifferentiated material
> rather than persistent, identifiable and useable
> items.
> NC 18 January 2002
> Incidentally, my copy of version 3.2 contains the
> erroneous label "The entity is not referenced:"
> followed by the references!
> =====
> Nicholas Crofts
> rue David-Dufour 5
> Case postale 22
> CH - 1211 Genθve 8
> tιl +41 22 327 5271
> fax +41 22 328 4382
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>   --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>                        Name: Existence.rtf
>    Existence.rtf       Type: WINWORD File (application/rtf)
>                    Encoding: base64
>                 Description: Existence.rtf


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