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Ontology

Ontology (Gk., ōn, ‘being’, + logos, ‘reflection’). Reflection in philosophy and metaphysics on what truly exists, or on what underlies appearance by way of existent reality. The term was introduced in the 17th cent., when the study of being as being was also called ontosophia. In the continuity of scholasticism, ontology was the term applied to the study of the properties of being as such, in contrast to special metaphysics which studied aspects of being open to experience. W. V. O. Quine made a distinction between ideology and ontology, and between meaning and reference: he argued that what one takes to be existing depends on the values required or allowed by the variables of the language in use, so that there is a necessary relation between language and ontic commitments—hence his claim that ‘to be is to be the value of a variable’. While this might seem to allow virtually any belief to have an ontological correspondent, in fact metaphysical systems (which he called ‘ontic theories’) are tested by their compatibility with science which interacts publicly (and by various other criteria) with the world and universe around us. It then becomes obvious that ontology is intricately related to epistemology (roughly, how do we know what we know?).

Ontologism was a system of philosophy which, applied to theology, claimed that humans know God immediately and directly through natural cognitive abilities: the first act of human cognitive powers is the intuition of God. It was condemned (on the grounds that our knowledge of God can only be analogical) in 1861 and again by Vatican I.

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ontology

ontology Any way of understanding the world, or some part of it, must make assumptions (which may be implicit or explicit) about what kinds of things do or can exist in that domain, and what might be their conditions of existence, relations of dependency, and so on. Such an inventory of kinds of being and their relations is an ontology. In this sense, each special science, including sociology, may be said to have its own ontology (for example, persons, institutions, relations, norms, practices, structures, roles, or whatever, depending on the particular sociological theory under consideration). The core of the philosophical project of metaphysics is to provide an ontology of the world as a whole. In some versions of metaphysics this takes the form of an attempt systematically to order the relations between the ontologies of the special sciences.

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Ontology

Ontology


Ontology is the study of being, insofar as being is possessed by any kind of entity. Although the term ontologia derives from the early seventeenth century, ontology is as old as philosophy itself. While German mathematician and philosopher Christian Wolff (1679-1754) identified ontology with metaphysica generalis (inquiry into the general categories of being), the relationship between ontology and metaphysics has become less precise. Some believe the two synonymous; others hold that while metaphysics deals with the nature and structure of all possible being, ontology only concerns actually existing beings. Ontological questions permeate the science-religion conversation; for example, what is the ontological status of the divine, and of putative emergent properties (e.g., the mental)?

See also Metaphysics

dennis bielfeldt

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ontology

ontology A description of some concepts and their relationships, for the purpose of defining the ideas sufficiently to allow a computer to represent them and reason about them. Thus an agent's ontology specifies the basic building blocks of knowledge that defines what it can perceive and reason about. This is a kind of model and, as such, is very useful to define what agents or learning programs can know and what they can communicate. Ontologies are usually compiled for a particular “domain”, e.g. the domains of wind engineering, medical diagnosis, or office interior navigation, but they are more formal than domain knowledge.

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ontology

ontology the branch of metaphysics dealing with the nature of being. Recorded from the early 18th century, the word comes from modern Latin ontologia, from Greek ōn, ont− ‘being’, + the suffix −logy denoting a subject of study or interest.

In philosophy, the ontological argument is the argument that God, being defined as most great or perfect, must exist, since a God who exists is greater than a God who does not.

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ontology

on·tol·o·gy / änˈtäləjē/ • n. the branch of metaphysics dealing with the nature of being. DERIVATIVES: on·to·log·i·cal / ˌäntəˈläjikəl/ adj. on·to·log·i·cal·ly / ˌäntəˈläjik(ə)lē/ adv. on·tol·o·gist / -jist/ n.

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ontology

ontology study of being. XVIII. — modL. ontologia, f. Gr. onto-, comb. form of ón, g. óntos being, n. of ṓn, prp. of eînai be; see -LOGY.

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ontology

ontology Branch of metaphysics that studies the basic nature of things; the essence of ‘being’ itself.

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ontology

ontology: see metaphysics.

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ontology

ontology •haji • algae • Angie •argy-bargy, Panaji •edgy, sedgy, solfeggi, veggie, wedgie •cagey, stagy •mangy, rangy •Fiji, gee-gee, squeegee •Murrumbidgee, ridgy, squidgy •dingy, fringy, mingy, stingy, whingy •cabbagy • prodigy • effigy • villagey •porridgy • strategy • cottagey •dodgy, podgy, splodgy, stodgy •pedagogy •Georgie, orgy •ogee • Fuji •bhaji, budgie, pudgy, sludgy, smudgy •bulgy •bungee, grungy, gungy, scungy, spongy •allergy, analogy, genealogy, hypallage, metallurgy, mineralogy, tetralogy •elegy •antilogy, trilogy •aetiology (US etiology), amphibology, anthology, anthropology, apology, archaeology (US archeology), astrology, biology, campanology, cardiology, chronology, climatology, cosmology, craniology, criminology, dermatology, ecology, embryology, entomology, epidemiology, etymology, geology, gynaecology (US gynecology), haematology (US hematology), hagiology, horology, hydrology, iconology, ideology, immunology, iridology, kidology, meteorology, methodology, musicology, mythology, necrology, neurology, numerology, oncology, ontology, ophthalmology, ornithology, parasitology, pathology, pharmacology, phraseology, phrenology, physiology, psychology, radiology, reflexology, scatology, Scientology, seismology, semiology, sociology, symbology, tautology, technology, terminology, theology, topology, toxicology, urology, zoology • eulogy • energy • synergy • apogee • liturgy • lethargy •burgee, clergy •zymurgy • dramaturgy

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