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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
▪ As sure as I have tusks, this is ontology on the hoof.
▪ But as we can see, he does not just blame Hegel here, for according to Levinas ontology itself is the problem.
▪ But Puddephat goes on about hermeneutics and ontology, and the master pretends he understands.
▪ But this is not a comment on ontology.
▪ Faith and credulity, vision and delusion can only be distinguished provided that in case-studies the issue of ontology is kept alive.
▪ However, if functionally one is considered an unequal, ontology soon becomes irrelevant.
▪ In a more limited sense, Piaget, like Hegel, is attempting to transform Kantian ontology into a dialectical movement.
▪ They have returned, in more technical terms, to a serious concern with ontology.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

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 relations of all beings, as such, or the principles and causes of being.

  2. (Computers) A systematic arrangement of all of the important categories of objects or concepts which exist in some field of discourse, showing the relations between them. When complete, an ontology is a categorization of all of the concepts in some field of knowledge, including the objects and all of the properties, relations, and functions needed to define the objects and specify their actions. A simplified ontology may contain only a hierarchical classification (a taxonomy) showing the type subsumption relations between concepts in the field of discourse. An ontology may be visualized as an abstract graph with nodes and labeled arcs representing the objects and relations.

    Note: The concepts included in an ontology and the hierarchical ordering will be to a certain extent arbitrary, depending upon the purpose for which the ontology is created. This arises from the fact that objects are of varying importance for different purposes, and different properties of objects may be chosen as the criteria by which objects are classified. In addition, different degrees of aggregation of concepts may be used, and distinctions of importance for one purpose may be of no concern for a different purpose.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

"metaphysical science or study of being," 1660s (Gideon Harvey), from Modern Latin ontologia (c.1600), from onto- + -logy.


n. 1 (context uncountable philosophy English) 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 (context countable philosophy English) The theory of a particular philosopher or school of thought concerning the fundamental types of entity in the universe. 3 (context logic English) A logical system involving theory of classes, developed by (1886-1939). 4 (context computer science information science English) A structure of concepts or entities within a domain, organized by relationships; a system model.


n. the metaphysical study of the nature of being and existence


Ontology is the philosophical study of the nature of being, becoming, existence or reality as well as the basic categories of being and their relations. Traditionally listed as a part of the major branch of philosophy known as metaphysics, ontology often deals with questions concerning what entities exist or may be said to exist and how such entities may be grouped, related within a hierarchy, and subdivided according to similarities and differences. Although ontology as a philosophical enterprise is highly theoretical, it also has practical application in information science and technology, such as ontology engineering.

Ontology (information science)

In computer science and information science, an ontology is a formal naming and definition of the types, properties, and interrelationships of the entities that really or fundamentally exist for a particular domain of discourse. It is thus a practical application of philosophical ontology, with a taxonomy.

An ontology compartmentalizes the variables needed for some set of computations and establishes the relationships between them.

The fields of artificial intelligence, the Semantic Web, systems engineering, software engineering, biomedical informatics, library science, enterprise bookmarking, and information architecture all create ontologies to limit complexity and to organize information. The ontology can then be applied to problem solving.

Usage examples of "ontology".

Deleuze and Guattari, however, seem to be able to conceive positively only the tendencies toward continuous movement and absolute flows, and thus in their thought, too, the creative elements and the radical ontology of the production of the social remain insubstantial and impotent.

Precisely by bringing together coherently the different defining characteristics of the biopolitical context that we have described up to this point, and leading them back to the ontology of production, we will be able to identify the new figure of the collective biopolitical body, which may nonetheless remain as contradictory as it is paradoxical.

Every ontology that does not bear the stamp of human creativity is cast aside.

When we say that political theory must deal with ontology, we mean first of all that politics cannot be constructed from the outside.

This metaphysical illusion disappears today, however, because in the context of biopolitical ontology and its becomings, the transcendent is what is unthinkable.

Are we thus simply making a nonsensical nihilist claim when we assert that in the ontology of Empire value is outside measure?

The ontology of the possible is in this sense the central terrain of analysis.

No ontology, except a transcendent one, can relegate humanity to individuality.

Generation, that first fact of metaphysics, ontology, and anthropology, is a collective mechanism or apparatus of desire.

The mythology of reason is the symbolic and imaginative articulation that allows the ontology of the multitude to express itself as activity and consciousness.

The genetic chain is formed and established in ontology, the scaffolding is continuously constructed and renewed by the new cooperative productivity, and thus we await only the maturation of the political development of the posse.

On the immanent relation between politics and ontology, see Antonio Negri, The Savage Anomaly, trans.

What modem thought is to throw fundamentally into question is the relation of meaning with the form of truth and the form of being: in the firmament of our reflection there reigns a discourse - a perhaps inaccessible discourse -which would at the same time be an ontology and a semantics.

But this ontology discloses not so much what gives beings their foundation as what bears them for an instant towards a precarious form and yet is already secretly sapping them from within in order to destroy them.

Other as an unsettling structure of ontology are presented in the context of an anti-empirical, existential psychoanalytic.