ontology
Derived from the Greek word for being, but a 17th-century coinage for the branch of metaphysics that concerns itself with what exists. Apart from the ontological argument itself there have existed many a priori arguments that the world must contain things of one kind or another: simple things, unextended things, eternal substances, necessary beings, and so on. Such arguments often depend upon some version of the principle of sufficient reason . Kant is the greatest opponent of the view that unaided reason can tell us in detail what kinds of thing must exist, and therefore do exist. In the 20th century, Heidegger is often thought of primarily as an ontologist. Quine's principle of ontological commitment is that to be is to be the value of a bound variable, a principle not telling us what things exist, but how to determine what things a theory claims to exist. These are the things the variables range over in a properly regimented formal presentation of the theory. Philosophers characteristically charge each other with reifying things improperly, and in the history of philosophy every kind of thing will at one time or another have been thought to be the fictitious result of an ontological mistake.

Philosophy dictionary. . 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Ontology — • An article on the science of being Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Ontology     Ontology     † …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Ontology — On*tol o*gy, n. [Gr. ? the things which exist (pl.neut. of ?, ?, being, p. pr. of ? to be) + logy: cf. F. ontologie.] 1. That department of the science of metaphysics which investigates and explains the nature and essential properties and… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • ontology — (n.) metaphysical science or study of being, 1660s (Gideon Harvey), from Mod.L. ontologia (c.1600), from ONTO (Cf. onto ) + LOGY (Cf. logy) …   Etymology dictionary

  • ontology —    Ontology is the branch of metaphysics that studies what exists. The key ontological questions for Christian philosophers, apart from the existence of God, concern the existence of the soul, and the existence of immaterial beings, such as… …   Christian Philosophy

  • ontology — ► NOUN Philosophy ▪ the branch of metaphysics concerned with the nature of being. DERIVATIVES ontological adjective ontologist noun …   English terms dictionary

  • ontology — [än täl′ə jē] n. [ModL ontologia: see ONTO & LOGY] 1. the branch of metaphysics dealing with the nature of being, reality, or ultimate substance: cf. PHENOMENOLOGY 2. pl. ontologies a particular theory about being or reality ontological [än΄tə… …   English World dictionary

  • Ontology — This article concerns ontology in philosophy. For the concept in information science, see Ontology (information science). Not to be confused with the medical concepts of oncology and odontology, or indeed ontogeny. Parmenides was among the first… …   Wikipedia

  • ontology — ontological /on tl oj i keuhl/, ontologic, ontologistic /on tol euh jis tik/, adj. ontologist, n. /on tol euh jee/, n. 1. the branch of metaphysics that studies the nature of existence or being as such. 2. (loosely) metaphysics. [1715 25; < NL… …   Universalium

  • ontology —    by Constantin V.Boundas   For Deleuze, philosophy is ontology. In this sense, he is one of only two philosophers (the other being Emmanuel Lévinas) of the generation we call poststructuralists not to demur in the face of ontology and… …   The Deleuze dictionary

  • ontology —    by Constantin V.Boundas   For Deleuze, philosophy is ontology. In this sense, he is one of only two philosophers (the other being Emmanuel Lévinas) of the generation we call poststructuralists not to demur in the face of ontology and… …   The Deleuze dictionary

  • 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 …   Dictionary of sociology

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”