Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


A general model of processes is developed based on a systematic study and joint resolution of the main ontological issues concerning time, space, individuals, qualities and relations. Beginning with the goal of finding a theory or conceptual scheme for understanding change, four constraints on the study's scope are adopted: the traditional ontological concepts mentioned above are the study's starting points; a realist orientation, interpreting the goal of ontology as giving a literal description of the most general features of what exists and how it behaves, is adopted; change is construed as the recombination of fundamental existents; and the fundamental existents are held to be uncreated and indestructible.;The view of understanding as knowledge gained through conceptual revision and integration is the basis of the method followed. Alternative conceptions of time, space, individuals, qualities, and relations are critically and systematically surveyed in the context of the state model of processes. This model construes change as a temporally-ordered series of states where each state consists of one or more spatially oriented individuals exemplifying qualities or relations.;It is argued that an Absolutist theory of space-time provides the best account of the ordering of states in a process and of the motion, orientation and identities of individuals. Individuals, it is shown, are best construed as consisting of portions of matter in which universal qualities are immanent. From these discussions it emerges that each fundamental existent--space-time, matter and each quality--is an expansive unity containing parts whose existence and interrelation are inseparable. This leads to a discussion of the mutally supportive contributions of ontological analysis and synthesis to understanding processes and, in particular, justifies appealing to laws of nature in accounts of existents and events that cannot fruitfully be analysed.



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