In the era of “big data,” science is increasingly information driven, and the potential for computers to store, manage, and integrate massive amounts of data has given rise to such new disciplinary fields as biomedical informatics. Applied ontology offers a strategy for the organization of scientific information in computer-tractable form, drawing on concepts not only from computer and information science but also from linguistics, logic, and philosophy. This book provides an introduction to the field of applied ontology that (...) is of particular relevance to biomedicine, covering theoretical components of ontologies, best practices for ontology design, and examples of biomedical ontologies in use. After defining an ontology as a representation of the types of entities in a given domain, the book distinguishes between different kinds of ontologies and taxonomies, and shows how applied ontology draws on more traditional ideas from metaphysics. It presents the core features of the Basic Formal Ontology (BFO), now used by over one hundred ontology projects around the world, and offers examples of domain ontologies that utilize BFO. The book also describes Web Ontology Language (OWL), a common framework for Semantic Web technologies. Throughout, the book provides concrete recommendations for the design and construction of domain ontologies. (shrink)
From an Ontological Point of View is a highly original and accessible exploration of fundamental questions about what there is. John Heil discusses such issues as whether the world includes levels of reality; the nature of objects and properties; the demands of realism; what makes things true; qualities, powers, and the relation these bear to one another. He advances an account of the fundamental constituents of the world around us, and applies this account to problems that have plagued recent work (...) in the philosophy of mind and metaphysics (color, intentionality, and the nature of consciousness). (shrink)
Metaphysicians should pay attention to quantum mechanics. Why? Not because it provides definitive answers to many metaphysical questions-the theory itself is remarkably silent on the nature of the physical world, and the various interpretations of the theory on offer present conflicting ontological pictures. Rather, quantum mechanics is essential to the metaphysician because it reshapes standard metaphysical debates and opens up unforeseen new metaphysical possibilities. Even if quantum mechanics provides few clear answers, there are good reasons to think that any adequate (...) understanding of the quantum world will result in a radical reshaping of our classical world-view in some way or other. Whatever the world is like at the atomic scale, it is almost certainly not the swarm of particles pushed around by forces that is often presupposed. This book guides readers through the theory of quantum mechanics and its implications for metaphysics in a clear and accessible way. The theory and its various interpretations are presented with a minimum of technicality. The consequences of these interpretations for metaphysical debates concerning realism, indeterminacy, causation, determinism, holism, and individuality are explored in detail, stressing the novel form that the debates take given the empirical facts in the quantum domain. While quantum mechanics may not deliver unconditional pronouncements on these issues, the range of possibilities consistent with our knowledge of the empirical world is relatively small-and each possibility is metaphysically revisionary in some way. This book will appeal to researchers, students, and anybody else interested in how science informs our world-view. (shrink)
Many significant problems in metaphysics are tied to ontological questions, but ontology and its relation to larger questions in metaphysics give rise to a series of puzzles that suggest that we don't fully understand what ontology is supposed to do, nor what ambitions metaphysics can have for finding out about what the world is like. Thomas Hofweber aims to solve these puzzles about ontology and consequently to make progress on four metaphysical debates tied to ontology: the (...) philosophy of arithmetic, the metaphysics of ordinary objects, the problem of universals, and the question of whether the fact-like aspect of reality is independent of us. Crucial parts of the proposed solution involve considerations about quantification and its relationship to ontology, the place of reference in natural languages, the relationship between syntactic form and focus, whether there could be any ineffable facts, and others. (shrink)
Both science and philosophy are interested in questions of ontology- questions about what exists and what these things are like. Science and philosophy, however, seem like very different ways of investigating the world, so how should one proceed? Some defer to the sciences, conceived as something apart from philosophy, and others to metaphysics, conceived as something apart from science, for certain kinds of answers. This book contends that these sorts of deference are misconceived. A compelling account of ontology (...) must appreciate the ways in which the sciences incorporate metaphysical assumptions and arguments. At the same time, it must pay careful attention to how observation, experience, and the empirical dimensions of science are related to what may be viewed as defensible philosophical theorizing about ontology. The promise of an effectively naturalized metaphysics is to encourage beliefs that are formed in ways that do justice to scientific theorizing, modeling, and experimentation. But even armed with such a view, there is no one, uniquely rational way to draw lines between domains of ontology that are suitable for belief, and ones in which it would be better to suspend belief instead. In crucial respects, ontology is in the eye of the beholder: it is Informed by underlying commitments with implications for the limits of inquiry, which inevitably vary across rational inquirers. As a result, the proper scope of ontology is subject to a striking form of voluntary choice, yielding a new and transformative conception of scientific ontology. (shrink)
In this article I address the issue of the ontological conditions of possibility for a naturalistic notion of emergence, trying to determine its fundamental differences from the atomist, vitalist, preformationist and potentialist alternatives. I will argue that a naturalistic notion of ontological emergence can only succeed if we explicitly refuse the atomistic fundamental ontological postulate that asserts that every entity is endowed with a set of absolutely intrinsic properties, being qualitatively immutable through its extrinsic relations. Furthermore, it will be shown (...) that, ironically enough, this metaphysical assumption is implicitly shared by all the above mentioned alternatives to Emergentism. The current article concludes that the notion of organization by itself is not enough, and that ontological emergence can only be justified by assuming a relational ontological perspective that, in opposition both to atomism and holism, defends that the existence-conditions, the identity and the causal behavior of any emergent systemic property can only be conceived, and explained, as constructed by and through specific networks of qualitatively transformative relational processes that occur between the system’s components and between the system and its environment. Additionally, I try to explain how one can make sense of the idea that an emergent phenomenon is both dependent on, and autonomous from, its emergence base. (shrink)
Ontological nihilism is the radical-sounding thesis that there is nothing at all. This chapter first discusses how the most plausible forms of this thesis aim to be slightly less radical than they sound and what they will have to do in order to succeed in their less radical ambitions. In particular, they will have to paraphrase sentences of best science into ontologically innocent counterparts. The chapter then points out the defects in two less plausible strategies, before going on to argue (...) that strategies that look more promising, including one based on Quine's predicate-functor language, face the same defects. (shrink)
Ontological. Relativity. and. Other. Essays. W. V. QUINE This volume consists of the first of the John Dewey Lectures delivered under the auspices of Columbia University's Philosophy Department as well as other essays by the author.
How does the critical Kant view ontology? There is no shared scholarly answer to this question. Norbert Hinske sees in the Critique of Pure Reason a “farewell to ontology,” albeit one that took Kant long to bid (Hinske 2009). Karl Ameriks has found evidence in Kant’s metaphysics lectures from the critical period that he “was unwilling to break away fully from traditional ontology” (Ameriks 1992: 272). Gualtiero Lorini argues that a decisive break with the tradition of (...) class='Hi'>ontology is essential to Kant’s critical reform of metaphysics, as is reflected in his shift from “ontology” to “transcendental philosophy,” two notions that Lorini takes to be related by mere “analogy” (Lorini 2015). I agree with Lorini that a thorough reform of ontology is a pivotal part of Kant’s critical plan for metaphysics and that ontology somehow “survives within the critical philosophy” (Lorini 2015: 76). To make this case, however, I deem it important to identify “ontology” and “transcendental philosophy” in the sense of extensional equivalence. While we can detect this identification in Kant’s writings, only from his metaphysics lectures can we get a full sense of its historical and philosophical significance. In this chapter I focus on how it represents a definitive turn from as well as notable continuity with traditional treatments of ontology, particularly the Wolffian one. (shrink)
Though science and philosophy take different approaches to ontology, metaphysical inferences are relevant to interpreting scientific work, and empirical investigations are relevant to philosophy. This book argues that there is no uniquely rational way to determine which domains of ontology are appropriate for belief, making room for choice in a transformative account of scientific ontology.
For a long time it was believed that it was impossible to be realist about quantum mechanics. It took quite a while for the researchers in the foundations of physics, beginning with John Stuart Bell [Bell 1987], to convince others that such an alleged impossibility had no foundation. Nowadays there are several quantum theories that can be interpreted realistically, among which Bohmian mechanics, the GRW theory, and the many-worlds theory. The debate, though, is far from being over: in what respect (...) should we be realist regarding these theories? Two diff erent proposals have been made: on the one hand, there are those who insist on a direct ontological interpretation of the wave function as representing physical bodies, and on the other hand there are those who claim that quantum mechanics is not really about the wave function. In this paper we will present and discuss one proposal of the latter kind that focuses on the notion of primitive ontology. (shrink)
Four- Dimensionalism defends the thesis that the material world is composed of temporal as well as spatial parts. This defense includes a novel account of persistence over time, new arguments in favour of the four-dimensional ontology, and responses to the challenges four- dimensionalism faces." "Theodore Sider pays particular attention to the philosophy of time, including a strong series of arguments against presentism, the thesis that only the present is real. Arguments offered in favour of four- dimensionalism include novel arguments (...) based on time travel, the debate between spacetime substantivalists and relationalists, and vagueness. Also included is a comprehensive discussion of the paradoxes of coinciding material objects, and a novel resolution of those paradoxes based on temporal counterpart theory. In conclusion Sider replies to prominent objections to four- dimensionalism, including discussion of the problem of the rotating homogenous disk. (shrink)
The relationship of part to whole is one of the most fundamental there is; this is the first and only full-length study of this concept. This book shows that mereology, the formal theory of part and whole, is essential to ontology. Peter Simons surveys and criticizes previous theories, especially the standard extensional view, and proposes a more adequate account which encompasses both temporal and modal considerations in detail. 'Parts could easily be the standard book on mereology for the next (...) twenty or thirty years.' Timothy Williamson, Grazer Philosophische Studien. (shrink)
Ontological dependence is a relation—or, more accurately, a family of relations—between entities or beings. For there are various ways in which one being may be said to depend upon one or more other beings, in a sense of “depend” that is distinctly metaphysical in character and that may be contrasted, thus, with various causal senses of this word. More specifically, a being may be said to depend, in such a sense, upon one or more other beings for its existence or (...) for its identity. Some varieties of ontological dependence may be analyzed in modal terms—that is, in terms of distinctly metaphysical notions of possibility and necessity—while others seem to demand an analysis in terms of the notion of essence. The latter varieties of ontological dependence may accordingly be called species of essential dependence. Notions of ontological dependence are frequently called upon by metaphysicians in their proposed analyses of other metaphysically important notions, such as the notion of substance. (shrink)
Ontological pluralism is the view that there are different ways to exist. It is a position with deep roots in the history of philosophy, and in which there has been a recent resurgence of interest. In contemporary presentations, it is stated in terms of fundamental languages: as the view that such languages contain more than one quantifier. For example, one ranging over abstract objects, and another over concrete ones. A natural worry, however, is that the languages proposed by the pluralist (...) are mere notational variants of those proposed by the monist, in which case the debate between the two positions would not seem to be substantive. Jason Turner has given an ingenious response to this worry, in terms of a principle that he calls ‘logical realism’. This paper offers a counter-response on behalf of the ‘notationalist’. I argue that, properly applied, the principle of logical realism is no threat to the claim that the languages in question are notational variants. Indeed, there seems to be every reason to think that they are. (shrink)
Primitive ontology is a recently much discussed approach to the ontology of quantum theory according to which the theory is ultimately about entities in 3-dimensional space and their temporal evolution. This paper critically discusses the primitive ontologies that have been suggested within the Bohmian approach to quantum field theory in the light of the existence of unitarily inequivalent representations. These primitive ontologies rely either on a Fock space representation or a wave functional representation, which are strictly speaking unambiguously (...) available only for free systems in flat spacetime. As a consequence, it is argued that they do not constitute fundamental ontologies for quantum field theory, in contrast to the case of the Bohmian approach to quantum mechanics. (shrink)
"Ontology" focuses on three ways ground and ontology are said to relate. One way involves ground's ability to provide a safe and sane way of admitting certain kinds of things in our theories. Another way involves ground's ability to show how we should measure ontological simplicity. And a third way involves ground's ability to restrict what things or kinds of things can depend on other things or kinds.
Merleau-Ponty's Developmental Ontology shows how the philosophy of Maurice Merleau-Ponty, from its very beginnings, seeks to find sense or meaning within nature, and how this quest calls for and develops into a radically new ontology. -/- David Morris first gives an illuminating analysis of sense, showing how it requires understanding nature as engendering new norms. He then presents innovative studies of Merleau-Ponty's The Structure of Behavior and Phenomenology of Perception, revealing how these early works are oriented by the (...) problem of sense and already lead to difficulties about nature, temporality, and ontology that preoccupy Merleau-Ponty's later work. Morris shows how resolving these difficulties requires seeking sense through its appearance in nature, prior to experience—ultimately leading to radically new concepts of nature, time, and philosophy. -/- Merleau-Ponty's Developmental Ontology makes key issues in Merleau-Ponty's philosophy clear and accessible to a broad audience while also advancing original philosophical conclusions. (shrink)
This provocative book attempts to resolve traditional problems of identity over time. It seeks to answer such questions as 'How is it that an object can survive change?' and 'How much change can an object undergo without being destroyed'? To answer these questions Professor Heller presents a theory about the nature of physical objects and about the relationship between our language and the physical world. According to his theory, the only actually existing physical entities are what the author calls 'hunks', (...) four-dimensional objects extending across time and space. This is a major contribution to ontological debate and will be essential reading for all philosophers concerned with metaphysics. (shrink)
'Ontology and Metaontology: A Contemporary Guide' is a clear and accessible survey of ontology, focussing on the most recent trends in the discipline. -/- Divided into parts, the first half characterizes metaontology: the discourse on the methodology of ontological inquiry, covering the main concepts, tools, and methods of the discipline, exploring the notions of being and existence, ontological commitment, paraphrase strategies, fictionalist strategies, and other metaontological questions. The second half considers a series of case studies, introducing and familiarizing (...) the reader with concrete examples of the latest research in the field. The basic sub-fields of ontology are covered here via an accessible and captivating exposition: events, properties, universals, abstract objects, possible worlds, material beings, mereology, fictional objects. -/- The guide's modular structure allows for a flexible approach to the subject, making it suitable for both undergraduates and postgraduates looking to better understand and apply the exciting developments and debates taking place in ontology today. (shrink)
This volume is devoted to problems within analytic metaphysics. It defends an ontology and theory of categories inspired by Aristotle, but revised in such a way as to be compatible with modern science. The ontology of both natural and social reality is addressed, starting out from the view that universals exist but only in the spatiotemporal world. In attempting to bring Aristotle's ontology up-to-date, the author relies very much on the thinking of Edmund Husserl, conceiving the cement (...) of the universe as Husserlian relations of existential dependence and regarding intentionality as a non-reducible category in the ontology of mind. The work is thoroughly realistic in spirit, but large parts of it should nonetheless be of interest to conceptualists and nominalists, too. (shrink)
In the _The Undivided Universe_, David Bohn and Basil Hiley present a radically different approach to quantum theory. They develop an interpretation of quantum mechanics which gives a clear, intuitive understanding of its meaning and in which there is a coherent notion of the reality of the universe without assuming a fundamental role for the human observer. With the aid of new concepts such as active information together with non-locality, they provide a comprehensive account of all the basic features of (...) quantum mechanics, including the relativistic domain and quantum field theory. It is shown that, with the new approach, paradoxical or unsatisfactory features associated with the standard approaches, such as the wave-particle duality and the collapse of the wave function, do not arise. Finally, the authors make new suggestions and indicate some areas in which one may expect quantum theory to break down in a way that will allow for a test. _The Undivided Universe_ is an important book especially because it provides a different overall world view which is neither mechanistic nor reductionist. This view will ultimately have radical implications not only in physics but also in our general approach to all areas of life. (shrink)
The Ontology for Biomedical Investigations (OBI) is an ontology that provides terms with precisely defined meanings to describe all aspects of how investigations in the biological and medical domains are conducted. OBI re-uses ontologies that provide a representation of biomedical knowledge from the Open Biological and Biomedical Ontologies (OBO) project and adds the ability to describe how this knowledge was derived. We here describe the state of OBI and several applications that are using it, such as adding semantic (...) expressivity to existing databases, building data entry forms, and enabling interoperability between knowledge resources. OBI covers all phases of the investigation process, such as planning, execution and reporting. It represents information and material entities that participate in these processes, as well as roles and functions. Prior to OBI, it was not possible to use a single internally consistent resource that could be applied to multiple types of experiments for these applications. OBI has made this possible by creating terms for entities involved in biological and medical investigations and by importing parts of other biomedical ontologies such as GO, Chemical Entities of Biological Interest (ChEBI) and Phenotype Attribute and Trait Ontology (PATO) without altering their meaning. OBI is being used in a wide range of projects covering genomics, multi-omics, immunology, and catalogs of services. OBI has also spawned other ontologies (Information Artifact Ontology) and methods for importing parts of ontologies (Minimum information to reference an external ontology term (MIREOT)). The OBI project is an open cross-disciplinary collaborative effort, encompassing multiple research communities from around the globe. To date, OBI has created 2366 classes and 40 relations along with textual and formal definitions. The OBI Consortium maintains a web resource providing details on the people, policies, and issues being addressed in association with OBI. (shrink)
Quantum field theory provides the framework for many fundamental theories in modern physics, and over the last few years there has been growing interest in its historical and philosophical foundations. This anthology on the foundations of QFT brings together 15 essays by well-known researchers in physics, the philosophy of physics, and analytic philosophy.Many of these essays were first presented as papers at the conference?Ontological Aspects of Quantum Field Theory?, held at the Zentrum fr interdisziplinre Forschung, Bielefeld, Germany. The essays contain (...) cutting-edge work on ontological aspects of QFT, including: the role of measurement and experimental evidence, corpuscular versus field-theoretic interpretations of QFT, the interpretation of gauge symmetry, and localization.This book is ideally suited to anyone with an interest in the foundations of quantum physics, including physicists, philosophers and historians of physics, as well as general readers interested in philosophy or science. (shrink)
This paper defends wave function realism against the charge that the view is empirically incoherent because our evidence for quantum theory involves facts about objects in three-dimensional space or space-time . It also criticizes previous attempts to defend wave function realism against this charge by claiming that the wave function is capable of grounding local beables as elements of a derivative ontology.
A great deal has been written about 'would' counterfactuals of causal dependence. Comparatively little has been said regarding 'would' counterfactuals of ontological dependence. The standard Lewis-Stalnaker semantics is inadequate for handling such counterfactuals. That's because some of these counterfactuals are counterpossibles, and the standard Lewis-Stalnaker semantics trivializes for counterpossibles. Fortunately, there is a straightforward extension of the Lewis-Stalnaker semantics available that handles counterpossibles: simply take Lewis's closeness relation that orders possible worlds and unleash it across impossible worlds. To apply the (...) extended semantics, an account of the closeness relation for counterpossibles is needed. In this paper I offer a strategy for evaluating 'would' counterfactuals of ontological dependence that understands closeness between worlds in terms of the metaphysical concept of grounding. (shrink)
It is no exaggeration to say that of the early 20th century German philosophers who claimed to establish a new ontology, former neo-Kantian turned realist Nicolai Hartmann is the only one to have actually followed through. "Ontology: Laying the Foundations" deals with "what is insofar as it is," and its four parts tackle traditional ontological assumptions and prejudices and traditional categories such as substance, thing, individual, whole, object, and phenomenon; a novel redefinition of existence and essence in terms (...) of the ontological factors Dasein and Sosein and their interrelations; an analysis of modes of "givenness" and the ontological embeddedness of cognition in affective transcendent acts; and a discussion of the status of ideal being, including mathematical being, phenomenological essences, logical laws, values, and the interconnections between the ideal and real spheres. Hartmann’s work offers rich resources for those interested in overcoming the human-centeredness of much 20th century philosophy. Hartmann’s work offers rich resources for those interested in overcoming the human-centeredness of much 20th century philosophy. (shrink)
This is a book about the concept of a physical thing and about how the names of things relate to the things they name. It questions the prevalent view that names 'refer to' or 'denote' the things they name. Instead it presents a new theory of proper names, according to which names express certain special properties that the things they name exhibit. This theory leads to some important conclusions about whether things have any of their properties as a matter of (...) necessity. This will be an important book for philosophers in metaphysics and the philosophy of language, though it will also interest linguists concerned with the semantics of natural language. (shrink)
This book seeks to work out which commitments are minimally sufficient to obtain an ontology of the natural world that matches all of today’s well-established physical theories. We propose an ontology of the natural world that is defined only by two axioms: (1) There are distance relations that individuate simple objects, namely matter points. (2) The matter points are permanent, with the distances between them changing. Everything else comes in as a means to represent the change in the (...) distance relations in a manner that is both as simple and as informative as possible. The book works this minimalist ontology out in philosophical as well as mathematical terms and shows how one can understand classical mechanics, quantum field theory and relativistic physics on the basis of this ontology. Along the way, we seek to achieve four subsidiary aims: (a) to make a case for a holistic individuation of the basic objects (ontic structural realism); (b) to work out a new version of Humeanism, dubbed Super-Humeanism, that does without natural properties; (c) to set out an ontology of quantum physics that is an alternative to quantum state realism and that avoids any ontological dualism of particles and fields; (d) to vindicate a relationalist ontology based on point objects also in the domain of relativistic physics. (shrink)
In this paper, we evaluate some proposals that can be advanced to clarify the ontological consequences of Relational Quantum Mechanics. We first focus on priority monism and ontic structural realism and argue that these views are not suitable for providing an ontological interpretation of the theory. Then, we discuss an alternative interpretation that we regard as more promising, based on so-called ‘metaphysical coherentism’, which we also connect to the idea of an event-based, or ‘flash’, ontology.
This article is a brief overview of major ontological arguments. The most noteworthy feature of this article is the statement of a new parody of the Anselmian and Cartesian arguments that is obviously immune to objections adverting to intrinsic minima and maxima.
The Unified Foundational Ontology (UFO) was developed over the last two decades by consistently putting together theories from areas such as formal ontology in philosophy, cognitive science, linguistics, and philosophical logics. It comprises a number of micro-theories addressing fundamental conceptual modeling notions, including entity types and relationship types. The aim of this paper is to summarize the current state of UFO, presenting a formalization of the ontology, along with the analysis of a number of cases to illustrate (...) the application of UFO and facilitate its comparison with other foundational ontologies in this special issue. (The cases originate from the First FOUST Workshop – the Foundational Stance, an international forum dedicated to Foundational Ontology research.). (shrink)
Social ontology is the study of the nature and properties of the social world. It is concerned with analyzing the various entities in the world that arise from social interaction. -/- A prominent topic in social ontology is the analysis of social groups. Do social groups exist at all? If so, what sorts of entities are they, and how are they created? Is a social group distinct from the collection of people who are its members, and if so, (...) how is it different? What sorts of properties do social groups have? Can they have beliefs or intentions? Can they perform actions? And if so, what does it take for a group to believe, intend, or act? -/- Other entities investigated in social ontology include money, corporations, institutions, property, social classes, races, genders, artifacts, artworks, language, and law. It is difficult to delineate a precise scope for the field (see section 2.1). In general, though, the entities explored in social ontology largely overlap with those that social scientists work on. A good deal of the work in social ontology takes place within the social sciences (see sections 5.1–5.8). -/- Social ontology also addresses more basic questions about the nature of the social world. One set of questions pertains to the constituents, or building blocks, of social things in general. For instance, some theories argue that social entities are built out of the psychological states of individual people, while others argue that they are built out of actions, and yet others that they are built out of practices. Still other theories deny that a distinction can even be made between the social and the non-social. -/- A different set of questions pertains to how social categories are constructed or set up. Are social categories and kinds produced by our attitudes? By our language? Are they produced by causal patterns? And is there just one way social categories are set up, or are there many varieties of social construction? -/- The term ‘social ontology’ has only come into wide currency in recent years, but the nature of the social has been a topic of inquiry since ancient Greece. As a whole, the field can be understood as a branch of metaphysics, the general inquiry into the nature of entities. (shrink)
This essay provides an opinionated survey of some recent developments in the literature on ontological dependence. Some of the most popular definitions of ontological dependence are formulated in modal terms; others in non-modal terms (e.g., in terms of the explanatory connective, ‘because’, or in terms of a non-modal conception of essence); some (viz., the existential construals of ontological dependence) emphasise requirements that must be met in order for an entity to exist; others (viz., the essentialist construals) focus on conditions that (...) must be satisfied in order for an entity to be the very entity it is at each time at which it exists; some are rigid, in the sense that they concern a relation between particular entities; others are generic, in the sense that they involve only a relation between an entity and some entities or other, which bear certain characteristics. I identify three potential measures of success with respect to which these different definitions of ontological dependence can be evaluated and consider the question of how well they in fact meet these desiderata. I end by noting that certain challenges face even the most promising essentialist construals of ontological dependence. (shrink)
Ontology as a branch of philosophy is the science of what is, of the kinds and structures of objects, properties, events, processes and relations in every area of reality. ‘Ontology’ in this sense is often used by philosophers as a synonym of ‘metaphysics’ (a label meaning literally: ‘what comes after the Physics’), a term used by early students of Aristotle to refer to what Aristotle himself called ‘first philosophy’. But in recent years, in a development hardly noticed by (...) philosophers, the term ‘ontology’ has gained currency in the field of computer and information science, and in information-driven research in bioinformatics and related areas. We examine these new developments in applied ontology, and show what lessons they might have for both philosophers and information scientists. (shrink)
Foundational ontologies, central constructs in ontological investigations and engineering alike, are based on ontological categories. Firstly proposed by Aristotle as the very ur- elements from which the whole of reality can be derived, they are not easy to identify, let alone partition and/or hierarchize; in particular, the question of their number poses serious challenges. The late medieval philosopher Dietrich of Freiberg wrote around 1286 a tutorial that can help us today with this exceedingly difficult task. In this paper, I discuss (...) ontological categories and their importance for foundational ontologies from both the contemporary perspective and the original Aristotelian viewpoint, I provide the translation from the Latin into English of Dietrich's De origine II with an introductory elaboration, and I extract a foundational ontology–that is in fact a single-category one–from this text rooted in Dietrich's specification of types of subjecthood and his conception of intentionality as causal operation. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to summarize a particular approach of doing metaphysics through physics - the primitive ontology approach. The idea is that any fundamental physical theory has a well-defined architecture, to the foundation of which there is the primitive ontology, which represents matter. According to the framework provided by this approach when applied to quantum mechanics, the wave function is not suitable to represent matter. Rather, the wave function has a nomological character, given that its (...) role in the theory is to implement the law of evolution for the primitive ontology. (shrink)
The basic question of ontology is “What exists?”. The basic question of metaontology is: are there objective answers to the basic question of ontology? Here ontological realists say yes, and ontological anti-realists say no. (Compare: The basic question of ethics is “What is right?”. The basic question of metaethics is: are there objective answers to the basic question of ethics? Here moral realists say yes, and moral anti-realists say no.) For example, the ontologist may ask: Do numbers exist? (...) The Platonist says yes, and the nominalist says no. The metaontologist may ask: is there an objective fact of the matter about whether numbers exist? The ontological realist says yes, and the ontological anti-realist says no. Likewise, the ontologist may ask: Given two distinct entities, when does a mereological sum of those entities exist? The universalist says always, while the nihilist says never. The metaontologist may ask: is there an objective fact of the matter about whether the mereological sum of two distinct entities exists? The ontological realist says yes, and the ontological anti-realist says no. Ontological realism is often traced to Quine (1948), who held that we can determine what exists by seeing which entities are endorsed by our best scientiﬁc theory of the world. In recent years, the practice of ontology has often presupposed an ever-stronger ontological realism, and strong versions of ontological realism have received explicit statements by Fine (this volume), Sider (2001; this volume), van Inwagen (1998; this volume), and others. (shrink)
This book proposes replacing the philosophical tradition inaugurated by Descartes and Locke which is inherently idealist and, says the author, prone to impoverished notions of rationality and creativity with human ontology. This latter understands human being as nothing but the complex inter-relations between its biological constitution and the natural, social and linguistic worlds in which it is embedded and the emergent properties such as conciousness, subjectivity and selfhood which arise from these. Drawing on the phenomenologies of Merleau Ponty and (...) Heidegger but placing them in this naturalistic context the study shows how knowledge, rationality and creativity arise from within the human relationship to the world. Only on such a basis, it is argued, can the existence of a world independent of human conciousness be sustained along with the rationality of science and coherent theories of the self and truth. (shrink)
This book features 20 essays that explore how Latin medieval philosophers and theologians from Anselm to Buridan conceived of habitus, as well as detailed studies of the use of the concept by Augustine and of the reception of the medieval doctrines of habitus in Suàrez and Descartes. Habitus are defined as stable dispositions to act or think in a certain way. This definition was passed down to the medieval thinkers from Aristotle and, to a lesser extent, Augustine, and played a (...) key role in many of the philosophical and theological developments of the time. Written by leading experts in medieval and modern philosophy, the book offers a historical overview that examines the topic in light of recent advances in medieval cognitive psychology and medieval moral theory. Coverage includes such topics as the metaphysics of the soul, the definition of virtue and vice, and the epistemology of self-knowledge. The book also contains an introduction that is the first attempt at a comprehensive survey of the nature and function of habitus in medieval thought. The material will appeal to a wide audience of historians of philosophy and contemporary philosophers. It is relevant as much to the historian of ancient philosophy who wants to track the historical reception of Aristotelian ideas as it is to historians of modern philosophy who would like to study the progressive disappearance of the term “habitus” in the early modern period and the concepts that were substituted for it. In addition, the volume will also be of interest to contemporary philosophers open to historical perspectives in order to renew current trends in cognitive psychology, virtue epistemology, and virtue ethics. (shrink)
Ontology. Revisited. Groff's argument cuts against a familiar anti-metaphysical grain. Social and political philosophy, she maintains, is not as metaphysically neutral as it may seem. Even the most deontological of theories connects up with a ...
Ontological Pluralism is the view that there are different modes, ways, or kinds of being. In this paper, I characterize the view more fully (drawing on some recent work by Kris McDaniel) and then defend the view against a number of arguments. (All of the arguments I can think of against it, anyway.).