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ontology

Definition from Dictionary, a free dictionary
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English

Etymology

From Ancient Greek ὄν (ōn) ‘being’, ‘existing’, ‘essence’ and λόγος (logos) ‘account’. Introduced as a philosophical term by Christian Wolf (1679-1754).

Noun

Singular
ontology

Plural
ontolog

ontology (ontolog)
  1. (uncountable, Template loop detected: Template:context 1) The branch of metaphysics that addresses the nature or essential characteristics of being and of things that exist; the study of being qua being.
  2. (countable, Template loop detected: Template:context 1) The theory of a particular philosopher or school of thought concerning the fundamental types of entity in the universe.
    • 2000, C.D.C. Reeve, Substantial Knowledge: Aristotle's Metaphysics, Hackett Publishing, p. 97,
      The answer to the controversial question of whether Aristotle's ontology includes non-substantial particulars, then, is that it does.
  3. (logic) A logical system involving theory of classes, developed by Stanislaw Lesniewski (1886-1939).
  4. (Template loop detected: Template:context 1) A structure of concepts or entities within a domain, organized by relationships; a system model.
  5. (Can we verify(+) this sense?) (Template loop detected: Template:context 1) A specification of a conceptualization. Proposed by Tom Gruber (1992).

Derived terms

Related terms

Translations

Usage notes

In the field of philosophy there is some variation in how the term "ontology" is used. "Ontology" is a much more recent term than "metaphysics" and takes its root meaning explicitly from the Greek term for "being." "Ontology" can be used loosely as a rough equivalent to "metaphysics" or more precisely to denote that subset of the domain of metaphysics which is focussed rigorously on the study of being as being.

References

  • ontology” in An American Dictionary of the English Language, by Noah Webster, 1828.
  • ontology” in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.
  • ontology” in Dictionary.com Unabridged, v1.0.1, Lexico Publishing Group, 2006.
  • "ontology" in Encarta® World English Dictionary [North American Edition] © & (P)2007 Microsoft Corporation.
  • "ontology" in Compact Oxford English Dictionary, © Oxford University Press, 2007.
  • "ontology" by F.P. Siegfried, in The Catholic Encyclopedia, Robert Appleton Company, New York, 1911.
  • Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd ed., 1989.
  • Random House Webster's Unabridged Electronic Dictionary, 1987-1996.
  • Dictionary of Philosophy, Dagobert D. Runes (ed.), Philosophical Library, 1962. See: "Ontology" by James K. Feibleman, p. 219.
  • "Ontology" by Tom Gruber to appear in the Encyclopedia of Database Systems, Ling Liu and M. Tamer Özsu (Eds.), Springer-Verlag, 2008.

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