Do you know what an ontology is?

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bgood
bgood's picture
Do you know what an ontology is?

A lot of people have no idea what i'm talking about when I say "ontology". Do you ?

Vince
Vince's picture
it is a fundamental

it is a fundamental philosophical theory about being/existence or the nature of reality, also called metaphysics --which is usually religious in spirit, and beyond 'possible experience.' Ontology is usually empirical in the broadest sense of that term.

bgood
bgood's picture
Sounds like you should have

Sounds like you should have voted yes above :)

Your post brings up one of the main difficulties with the word - the many different definitions. The definition you provide is the earliest use of the term arising from the domain of philosophy. A definition that is now much more commonly used in biology and in computer science is a "formalization of a conceptualization". One can see the primary difference between these definitions as the philosophical action of "the study of being" versus the computer science 'thing' which can result from the formalization (computational representation) of such a study. The gene ontology for example, could be seen as the instantiation of the study of the nature of being a gene.

Its interesting though that as biology goes farther in defining its knowledge in "ontological form" it relies more and more on the philosophical tradition. Barry Smith for example is a philosopher by training but is now one of the leaders of the new National Center for Biomedical Ontology

saswati1
saswati1's picture
HI, i just read the following

HI, i just read the following article about ontology after seeing this post by bgood.
Here is the link
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ontology