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What is Ontology? - Definition & Examples

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❶Another objection to the above account of determining ontological commitment goes further and questions the use of a canonical notation, and of formal tools in general. Now, there is a striking similarity between the most general forms of thought and the most general features of what there is.

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This concept relates closely to Plato's view that the human mind can only perceive a bigger world if they continue to live within the confines of their "caves".

However, in spite of the differences, ontology relies on the symbolic agreements among members. That said, ontology is crucial for the axiomatic language frameworks. Whitehead , for ontology, it is useful to distinguish the terms 'reality' and 'actuality'. In this view, an 'actual entity' has a philosophical status of fundamental ontological priority, while a 'real entity' is one which may be actual, or may derive its reality from its logical relation to some actual entity or entities. For example, an occasion in the life of Socrates is an actual entity.

But Socrates' being a man does not make 'man' an actual entity, because it refers indeterminately to many actual entities, such as several occasions in the life of Socrates, and also to several occasions in the lives of Alcibiades, and of others.

But the notion of man is real; it derives its reality from its reference to those many actual occasions, each of which is an actual entity. An actual occasion is a concrete entity, while terms such as 'man' are abstractions from many concrete relevant entities. According to Whitehead, an actual entity must earn its philosophical status of fundamental ontological priority by satisfying several philosophical criteria, as follows. Whitehead proposed that his notion of an occasion of experience satisfies the criteria for its status as the philosophically preferred definition of an actual entity.

From a purely logical point of view, each occasion of experience has in full measure the characters of both objective and subjective reality. Subjectivity and objectivity refer to different aspects of an occasion of experience, and in no way do they exclude each other. Aristotle's substances, such as Socrates, have behind them as more fundamental the 'primary substances', and in this sense do not satisfy Whitehead's criteria.

Whitehead is not happy with Leibniz' monads as actual entities because they are "windowless" and do not cause each other. States of affairs are contingent on particulars, and therefore have something behind them.

Another summary, referring to its causal linkage to other actual entities, is that it is "all window", in contrast with Leibniz' windowless monads. This view allows philosophical entities other than actual entities to really exist, but not as fundamentally and primarily factual or causally efficacious; they have existence as abstractions, with reality only derived from their reference to actual entities.

A Whiteheadian actual entity has a unique and completely definite place and time. Whiteheadian abstractions are not so tightly defined in time and place, and in the extreme, some are timeless and placeless, or 'eternal' entities. All abstractions have logical or conceptual rather than efficacious existence; their lack of definite time does not make them unreal if they refer to actual entities.

Whitehead calls this 'the ontological principle'. There is an established and long philosophical history of the concept of atoms as microscopic physical objects. They are far too small to be visible to the naked eye. It was as recent as the nineteenth century that precise estimates of the sizes of putative physical atoms began to become plausible. Almost direct empirical observation of atomic effects was due to the theoretical investigation of Brownian motion by Albert Einstein in the very early twentieth century.

But even then, the real existence of atoms was debated by some. Such debate might be labeled 'microcosmic ontology'. Here the word 'microcosm' is used to indicate a physical world of small entities, such as for example atoms. Subatomic particles are usually considered to be much smaller than atoms. Their real or actual existence may be very difficult to demonstrate empirically. Reasonably, one may ask, in what sense, if any, do virtual particles exist as physical entities?

For atomic and subatomic particles, difficult questions arise, such as do they possess a precise position, or a precise momentum? A question that continues to be controversial is 'to what kind of physical thing, if any, does the quantum mechanical wave function refer?

The first ontological argument in the Western Christian tradition [32] was proposed by Anselm of Canterbury in his work Proslogion. Anselm defined God as "that than which nothing greater can be thought", and argued that this being must exist in the mind, even in the mind of the person who denies the existence of God.

He suggested that, if the greatest possible being exists in the mind, it must also exist in reality. If it only exists in the mind, then an even greater being must be possible—one which exists both in the mind and in reality.

Therefore, this greatest possible being must exist in reality. Descartes published several variations of his argument, each of which centred on the idea that God's existence is immediately inferable from a "clear and distinct" idea of a supremely perfect being.

In the early eighteenth century, Gottfried Leibniz augmented Descartes' ideas in an attempt to prove that a "supremely perfect" being is a coherent concept. Norman Malcolm revived the ontological argument in when he located a second, stronger ontological argument in Anselm's work; Alvin Plantinga challenged this argument and proposed an alternative, based on modal logic.

Attempts have also been made to validate Anselm's proof using an automated theorem prover. Other arguments have been categorised as ontological, including those made by Islamic philosophers Mulla Sadra and Allama Tabatabai. Jaakko Hintikka puts the view that a useful explication of the notion of existence is in the words "one can find", implicitly in some world or universe of discourse.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about ontology in philosophy. For the concept in information science and computing, see Ontology information science. Not to be confused with Oncology , Odontology , Ontogeny , or Deontology.

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This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. September Learn how and when to remove this template message. Abhidharma Applied ontology Foundation ontology Geopolitical ontology Guerrilla ontology Hauntology Holism Living educational theory Mereology Metamodeling Modal logic Monadology Nihilism Ontological paradox Philosophy of mathematics Philosophy of science Philosophy of space and time Physical ontology Porphyrian tree Quantum ontology Solipsism Speculative realism Structure and agency Subject—object problem.

Yearbook of the History of the Metaphysics , 9, , pp. Lectures on Quantum Theory: Process ontology in the context of applied philosophy". In Vesselin Petrov, ed.

The Ionian Tradition of Scientific Philosophy". Contributions to social ontology. Ontological Design in Practice". In Tony Fry and Eleni Kalantidou. Design in the Borderlands. A Heideggerian Perspective on Interpersonal Communication". State University of New York Press, The individual and the social self: Unpublished work of George Herbert Mead D. University of Chicago Press, Objects and Their Environments: Taylor and Francis, , Unterwegs zur Sprache Neske, Pfullingen Introduction to an Ontology of Intellectual Property.

Proceedings and Address of the American Philosophical Association. Two defenses of common-sense ontology PDF. Physical-object ontology, verbal disputes and common sense".

Quantifier Variance and Realism: Quantifier variance and realism". In John Greco, ed. Ernest Sosa and His Critics. Niels Bohr's legacy in contemporary particle physics, pp.

The first was in 11th century, when St. Anselm of Canterbury came up with the first ontological argument. Articles Related to Ontology. Christian philosophy Scholasticism Thomism Renaissance humanism. Kyoto School Objectivism Russian cosmism more Formalism Institutionalism Aesthetic response.

Atomism Dualism Monism Naturalism. Philosophy by region Philosophy-related lists Miscellaneous. Women in philosophy Sage philosophy. Axiology Cosmology Epistemology Feminist metaphysics Interpretations of quantum mechanics Meta- Ontology Philosophy of mind Philosophy of psychology Philosophy of self Philosophy of space and time Teleology Theoretical physics.

Intuitionistic logic Constructive analysis Heyting arithmetic Intuitionistic type theory Constructive set theory. It is classified on the basis of objectivism and subjectivism.

The first aspect of ontology, objectivism portrays the position that social objects persist in reality external to social actors. Secondly, subjectivism is concerned on the social phenomena which are emerged from the perceptions and consequences of those social actors concerned with their existence.

For example, the Filmfare Award ceremony is the high cultural experience which is organized by the Government of India. The government officials, ministers, celebrity of national as well as international level are invited in this programme. The researcher adopts subjectivism philosophy to determine their temperament and attitude.

Epistemology is understood about the acceptable knowledge of a particular area of study. It can be divided into two aspects; resources researcher and feeling researcher. The philosophical approach of natural scientist is observed in positivism as the work of natural scientist is based on observable social entity.

Research strategy is approached on the basis of data collection and hypothesis development. These hypotheses will be tested and confirmed which can be used for further research.

Another feature of this philosophy is that the positivist researcher follows highly structured methodology in order to facilitate the hypothesis. Furthermore, positivism works on quantifiable observations and accordingly statistical analysis is obtained.

For example, the resources researcher cannot manipulate during data collection procedure as they are independent to the subject of the research. For example, a research was conducted on the basis of flexi working on the female workforce throughout India. In positivism, these hypotheses are tested and result is confirmed by the researcher to develop a theory. Realism is another philosophical branch of epistemology which relates to scientific enquiry.

The core feature of realism is pertained to disclose the truth of reality and the existence of the objects are prevalent independently in the human mind. Realism is classified as direct realism and critical realism. Direct realism explains what is experienced by our senses and that are attained by the researcher.

On the other hand, the critical realism expresses that what is experienced by our sensations those are images of the real world, not the reality. The difference between the two is that the first is related to the capacity of research what is studied and the critical realist recognizes the importance of multi-level study in the context of the individual, the group and the organization.

There is a difference between direct realism and critical realism. Critical realism claims that there are two stages to experience this world. Firstly, sensation is conveyed to experience the object or people or event and the nest stage is our mental process starts working after the sensations. Interpretivism is a branch epistemology which is focused to the assessment the differences between humans as social actors.

The issue of difference is emphasized on the difference between conducting research among people rather than objects such as medicines and computer. In this philosophy, interpretation of social roles has been presented with respect of own set of meaning.

In addition, we interpret the social roles of others in accordance with our own set of meanings. The interpretation regarding employee turnover of HR manager and trade union leader are completely different as they both belong to different social roles.

Axiology is a branch of philosophy which is concerned about judgments, aesthetics, and ethics. The process of social enquiry is involved in this approach.

However, this method creates impact in social sciences research. For example, a study was conducted among customers of bank to determine their experiences of using credit card in terms of convenience, security, privacy and phone banking. The results of the study revealed that there was lack of communication strategies and absence of awareness level within the consumers, and that most of the consumers are not interested in this product.

However, the bank authorities did now allow researcher to publish the findings. But the researcher and the respective organization must consider the ethical perspective of this issue for the welfare of the consumers. Positivism Interpretivism The observer interacts with subject being showed. Problems as a whole are clearly understood if the totality of the situation is projected. So we can say that the qualitative research is based on interpretivism and quantitative research is based on positivism.

Positivists prefer to collect data about an observable reality and search for regularities and causal relationships in your data to create law-like generalizations whereas interpretivists intend to grasp the subjective meaning of social action in order to conduct research methodology.

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Ontology and epistemology are two different ways of viewing a research philosophy. Ontology in business research can be defined as “the science or study of being” and it deals with the nature of reality. Ontology is a system of belief that reflects an interpretation by an individual about what constitutes a fact.

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Both logic and ontology are important areas of philosophy covering large, diverse, and active research projects. These two areas overlap from time to time and problems or questions arise that concern both. This survey article is intended to discuss some of these areas of overlap.

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Research philosophy is an important part of research methodology. Research philosophy is classified as ontology, epistemology and axiology. These philosophical approaches enable to decide which approach should be adopted by the researcher and why, which is derived from research questions (Saunders, Lewis, & Thornhill, ). Ontology is a part of metaphysics, a branch of philosophy that looks at the very nature of things, their being, cause, or identity. Metaphysics dates all the way back to the time of the Ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle, who lived from B.C.E.

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Epistemology in a business research as a branch of philosophy deals with the sources of knowledge. Specifically, epistemology is concerned with possibilities, nature, sources and limitations of knowledge in . Research philosophy, refers to the development of knowledge adopted by the researchers in their research (Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, ). In other words, it is the theory that used to direct the researcher for conducting the procedure of research design, research strategy, questionnaire design and sampling (Malhotra, ).