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Philosophy | Mereology and the Sciences - Parts and Wholes in the Contemporary Scientific Context

Mereology and the Sciences

Parts and Wholes in the Contemporary Scientific Context

Series: Synthese Library, Vol. 371

Calosi, Claudio, Graziani, Pierluigi (Eds.)

2014, XX, 378 p. 161 illus.

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  • First thorough attempt to investigate the relation and possible applications of an important area of ontology, metaphysics and logic, i.e. mereology and different scientific disciplines
  • Offers a self-contained and accessible introduction to a relatively new subject in the metaphysics and the foundations of science while promoting an inter-disciplinary approach
  • Presents a brief introduction to each section that serves as an overview of single applications of mereological theories to specific sciences

This volume is  the first systematic and thorough attempt to investigate the relation and the possible applications of mereology to contemporary science. It gathers contributions from leading scholars in the field and covers a wide range of scientific theories and practices such as physics, mathematics, chemistry, biology, computer science and engineering. Throughout the volume, a variety of foundational issues are investigated both from the formal and the empirical point of view.

The first section looks at the topic as it applies to physics. The section addresses questions of persistence and composition within quantum and relativistic physics and concludes by scrutinizing the possibility to capture continuity of motion as described by our best physical theories within gunky spacetimes.

The second part tackles mathematics and shows how to provide a foundation for point-free geometry of space switching to fuzzy-logic. The relation  between mereological sums and set-theoretic suprema is investigated and issues about different mereological perspectives such as classical and natural Mereology are thoroughly discussed.

The third section in the volume looks at natural science. Several questions from biology, medicine and chemistry are investigated. From the perspective of biology, there is an attempt to provide axioms for inferring statements about parthood between two biological entities from statements about their spatial relation. From the perspective of chemistry, it is argued that classical mereological frameworks are not adequate to capture the practices of chemistry in that they consider neither temporal nor modal parameters.

The final part introduces computer science and engineering. A new formal mereological framework in which an indeterminate relation of parthood is taken as a primitive notion is constructed and then applied to a wide variety of disciplines from robotics to knowledge engineering. A formal framework for discrete mereotopology and its applications is developed and finally, the importance of mereology for the relatively new science of domain engineering is also discussed.

Content Level » Research

Keywords » Formal and Material Ontology - Mereology and Biology - Mereology and Chemistry - Mereology and Engineering - Mereology and Mathematics - Mereology and Physics - Mereology in Computer Science - Metaphysics of Science - Philosophical Foundations of Science

Related subjects » Mathematics - Philosophy - Theoretical Computer Science

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