Wednesday, November 14, 2007

What is "Ontology"?

"Ontology" is the philosophical study of being. Ontology attempts to answer questions like the following:

Does X exist?
What does it mean for X to "exist"?
What is the being of X like?

There is a lot of rich discourse questioning whether one should include the nature of numbers or moral facts in one's "ontology". What else should be included in one's ontology, and how ontological inquiry should be gone about is also the topic of much debate.
ontology |änˈtäləjē|
the branch of metaphysics dealing with the nature of being.

ontological |ˌäntəˈläjikəl| |ˈɑntəˈlɑdʒəkəl| |ˈɔntəˈlɑdʒəkəl| |-təˈlɒdʒɪk(ə)l| adjective
ontologically |ˌäntəˈläjik(ə)lē| |ˈɑntəˈlɑdʒək(ə)li| |ˈɔntəˈlɑdʒək(ə)li| |-təˈlɒdʒɪk(ə)li| adverb
ontologist |-jist| |ɑnˈtɑlədʒəst| |ɔnˈtɑlədʒəst| noun

ORIGIN early 18th cent.: from modern Latin ontologia, from Greek ōn, ont- ‘being’ + -logy .

-Oxford American Dictionary
Further reading:
Logic and Ontology (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
Ontology - Wikipedia

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