, Volume 24, Issue 3, pp 291–312 | Cite as

A Process Ontology

  • Haines BrownEmail author
Original Paper


The paper assumes that to be of practical interest process must be understood as physical action that takes place in the world rather than being an idea in the mind. It argues that if an ontology of process is to accommodate actuality, it must be represented in terms of relative probabilities. Folk physics cannot accommodate this, and so the paper appeals to scientific culture because it is an emergent knowledge of the world derived from action in it. Process is represented as a contradictory probability distribution that does not depend on a spatio-temporal frame. An actuality is a probability density that grounds the values of probabilities to constitute their distributions. Because probability is a conserved value, probability distributions are subject to the constraint of symmetry and must be zero-sum. An actuality is locked-in by other actualities to become a zero-sum symmetry of probability values. It is shown that the locking-in of actualities constructs spatio-temporal locality, lends actualities specificity, and makes them a contradiction. Localization is the basis for understanding empirical observation. Because becoming depends on its construction of being, processes exist as trajectories. The historical trajectories of evolution and revolution as well as the non-historical trajectory of strong emergence are how processes are observed to exist.


Process Probability Contradiction Emergence Historical science 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Professor EmeritusCentral Connecticut State UniversityNew BritainUSA

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