On the Semantics of Ongoing and Future Occurrence Identifiers

  • Nicola GuarinoEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 10650)


According to the standard wisdom, all temporal occurrences are considered as “frozen in time”. This means that all their properties are fully determined, and they can’t change. This is certainly true for historical occurrences, but, at least in the ordinary language, ongoing and future occurrences seem to admit the possibility of change: the score of an ongoing match may change in time, and a future trip may be delayed. But if ongoing and future events can change in time, what are their identifiers? In this paper I propose a tensed ontological account (contrasted with the dominant tenseless tradition) that provides an answer to this question.


Event Process Occurrence Identifier Ontology Time Tense Change 



I am grateful to Giancarlo Guizzardi and Tiago Prince Sales for some interesting discussions that motivated the need for this approach. I am also very grateful to Antony Galton and the anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments. Part of this work has been done in the framework of project ‘KAOS: Knowledge-Aware Operational Support’, funded by the Euregio Tirol-Südtirol-Trentino.


  1. 1.
    Allen, J.F.: Maintaining knowledge about temporal intervals. Commun. ACM 26(11), 832–843 (1983)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Arp, R., Smith, B., Spear, A.D.: Building Ontologies with Basic Formal Ontology. MIT Press, Cambridge (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Borgo, S., Masolo, C.: Foundational choices in DOLCE. In: Staab, S., Studer, R. (eds.) Handbook on Ontologies. IHIS, pp. 361–381. Springer, Heidelberg (2009). doi: 10.1007/978-3-540-92673-3_16CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Casati, R., Varzi, A.C.: Events. In: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2014)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Crisp, T.M., Smith, D.P.: ‘Wholly present’ defined. Philos. Phenomenol. Res. 71(2), 318–344 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Fine, K.: Things and their parts. Midwest Stud. Philos. 23(1), 61–74 (1999)MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Galton, A.: On what goes on: the ontology of processes and events. In: Bennett, B., Fellbaum, C. (eds.) Formal Ontology in Information Systems, pp. 3–11 (2006)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Galton, A.: Experience and history: processes and their relation to events. J. Logic Comput. 18(3), 323–340 (2007)MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Galton, A., Mizoguchi, R.: The water falls but the waterfall does not fall: new perspectives on objects, processes and events. Appl. Ontol. 4(2), 71–107 (2009)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Guarino, N., Guizzardi, G.: Relationships and events: towards a general theory of reification and truthmaking. In: Adorni, G., Cagnoni, S., Gori, M., Maratea, M. (eds.) AI*IA 2016. LNCS, vol. 10037, pp. 237–249. Springer, Cham (2016). doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-49130-1_18CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Guizzardi, G., Guarino, N., Almeida, J.P.A.: Ontological considerations about the representation of events and endurants in business models. In: La Rosa, M., Loos, P., Pastor, O. (eds.) BPM 2016. LNCS, vol. 9850, pp. 20–36. Springer, Cham (2016). doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-45348-4_2CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Guizzardi, G., Wagner, G., de Almeida Falbo, R., Guizzardi, R.S.S., Almeida, J.P.A.: Towards ontological foundations for the conceptual modeling of events. In: Ng, W., Storey, V.C., Trujillo, J.C. (eds.) ER 2013. LNCS, vol. 8217, pp. 327–341. Springer, Heidelberg (2013). doi: 10.1007/978-3-642-41924-9_27CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Hawley, K.: How Things Persist. Clarendon Press, Oxford (2001)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Khatri, V., Ram, S., Snodgrass, R.T., Terenziani, P.: Capturing telic/atelic temporal data semantics: generalizing conventional conceptual models. IEEE Trans. Knowl. Data Eng. 26(3), 528–548 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Lombard, L.B.: Events. A Metaphysical Study. International Library of Philosophy. Routledge and Kegan Paul, London (1986)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Masolo, C., Borgo, S., Gangemi, A., Guarino, N., Oltramari, A.: The DOLCE ontology. Technical report Deliverable D18, European Community, IST Project 2001–33052 “WonderWeb: Ontology Infrastructure for the Semantic Web” (2003)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Merricks, T.: Endurance and indiscernibility. J. Philos. 91(4), 165–184 (1994)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Moltmann, F.: Abstract Objects and the Semantics of Natural Language. Oxford University Press, Oxford (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Moltmann, F.: Variable objects and truthmaking. In: Dumitru, M. (ed.) Metaphysics, Meaning, and Modality. Oxford University Press, Oxford (2014)Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Scheer, R.K.: Knowledge of the future. Mind 80(318), 212–226 (1971)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Stout, R.: Processes. Philosophy 72(279), 19–27 (1997)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Terenziani, P.: Coping with events in temporal relational databases. IEEE Trans. Knowl. Data Eng. 25(5), 1181–1185 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Wieringa, R.J., De Jonge, W.: Object identifiers, keys, and surrogates: object identifiers revisited. Theory Pract. Object Syst. 1(2), 1–18 (1995)Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Zimmerman, D.W.: The a-theory of time, the b-theory of time, and “taking tense seriously”. Dialectica 59(4), 401–457 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ISTC-CNR Laboratory for Applied OntologyTrentoItaly

Personalised recommendations