Processes, events and temporal and causal couplings

Processes, events and temporal and causal couplings

Gilles Kassel 

Laboratoire MIS, Université de Picardie Jules Verne, 33 rue Saint Leu, 80039 Amiens Cedex 1, France

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The ontology of entities which ‘occur’ - processes, events and states - has experienced these last twenty years important developments. Several authors renewed the ontology of processes, bringing them closer to objects in their way to endure in time in their entirety and thus making them dynamic continuants. At the same time, this gesture renews questions about the nature of events. In this article, we propose an ontology of events assimilating them to objects of thought, i.e. locating them outside the physical world. Our conception of events is that they are not in the causal-energy sphere of the physical world, but that they are cognitive constructions whose main function for subjects is to report on the history of the physical world. In the paper, we present two contributions of this ontology. A first contribution is a new characterization of the notion of ‘occurrence’ of events, which distinguishes it from their ‘existence’ to liken it to a realization in the physical world. A second contribution is to allow to account for temporal and causal couplings between events and physical processes, which characterize human activities, including social interactions.


process ontology, events ontology, applied ontology

1. Introduction
2. Objets, processus et événements
3. Modes d’existence contrastés des processus physiques et des événements
4. Couplages temporels et causaux entre processus et événements
5. Conclusion

Nous remercions chaleureusement Claudio Masolo et Dominique Thiault ainsi que les deux relecteurs anonymes de la revue dont les remarques ont permis d’apporter plusieurs améliorations substantielles à une première version du texte.


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