An axiomatic approach to the spatial relations underlying left-right and in front of-behind

  • Carola Eschenbach
  • Lars Kulik
Spatial Reasoning
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 1303)


This paper presents an axiomatic characterization of spatial orderings in the plane and of concepts underlying intrinsic and deictic uses of spatial terms such as in front of, behind, left and right. This characterization differs in several aspects from existing theories that either employ systems of coordinate axes or systems of regions to specify the meaning of such expressions. We argue that the relations given by in front of and behind can be modeled on the basis of linear orders and on the basis of axes, whereas the relations given by left and right can be modeled as planar and on the basis of regions. The explicit characterization of the means necessary to specify the intrinsic and deictic uses thereby sheds light on the structures contributed by different frames of reference and therefore contributes to understanding the deictic/intrinsic-distinction.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carola Eschenbach
    • 1
  • Lars Kulik
    • 1
  1. 1.University of HamburgHamburgGermany

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