A formal analysis of Identity and Sortality in the Unified Foundational Ontology (UFO)

Name: João Rafael Moraes Nicola
Type: PhD thesis
Publication date: 20/04/2021

Namesort descending Role
Giancarlo Guizzardi Advisor *

Examining board:

Namesort descending Role
Giancarlo Guizzardi Advisor *
João Paulo Andrade Almeida Internal Examiner *

Summary: The Unified Foundational Ontology (UFO) is a conceptual framework grounded on
principles derived from Ontology discipline of Philosophy, with applications in the field
of Software Engineering, specially in Conceptual Modeling, as the semantic reference for
the OntoUML modeling language. Among the concepts described in the UFO fragment of
endurants (UFO-A), the concept of sortality plays a central role in the classification of
UFO substantial universals. However, this concept, and the related concepts of identity
and individuality currently lack a systematic formal characterization, hindering their
application in the analysis of substantial universals. This research enriches the Unified
Foundational Ontology (UFO) literature with a formal specification for a fragment of
UFO-A that allows the characterization of these concepts. This specification is presented in
Isabelle/HOL, a logical formalism that allows a machine-assisted verification. We construct
a formal framework, based on this specification and on categoric-theoretic concepts through
which we propose formal definitions for the concepts of individuality and identity, and,
from these definitions, we propose a formal characterization of the concept of sortality.
Illustrations and the application of the proposed definitions on the domain of conceptual
modeling are also presented.
Keywords: applied ontology, conceptual modeling, identity, individuality, sortality.

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