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A traditional branch of metaphysics that deals with problems of being, existence, inner nature, meaning, etc. It is fundamental to problems involving normality and disease, individuality, responsibility, and the analysis of values. In recent years, it has been slowly assuming a place as a branch of medicine proper.


A formal specification of how to represent relationships among objects, concepts, and other entities belonging to a particular area of human experience or knowledge.

ontology (n·tˑ·l·gē),

n the metaphysical study of the state of being: focuses on the fundamentals of identity, disease, normalcy, and belief systems as they influence a person's existence.
References in periodicals archive ?
Thomas' general ontological assay of a material substance of a particular species would be symbolised as follows:
Linking data from various organizations within the DoD--with the links based on semantics--will form the ontological database that will be used for understanding requirements specifications.
Ontological disputes are rendered 'merely verbal', since there is no way to discuss the meaning of the quantifier independent of any particular language.
The supports on which and /or in which knowledge is produced form the basis for the ontological dimension, and the identification and analysis of the knowledge produced will pave the way for the epistemological dimension.
But I would like to suggest another interpretation, another meaning, or another register for this use of the word domain: what we are entering into is not merely a matter of altered physical parameters, but a new ontological regime--quite literally, a fundamentally new reality.
The need for ontological security forces communities to grasp at what is available to enhance their security.
According to pragmatism, ontological assumptions are essentially only methodological prescriptions on how behavior analysis is to be conducted.
This doctrine raises a question which is ontological and noetic at the same time: how is it that from one being, unique and simple, there could emanate a multiplicity, which is also a complexity that comprises in the end both the matter of things and the form of the bodies and the human souls?
by Peter McLauglin (University of Heidelberg, Germany); "Evolution, Paleontology, and Metaphysics" by David Oldroyd (University of New South Wales, Australia); "Darwinism's Multiple Ontologies" by David Depew (University of Iowa, USA); "Darwinism: Neither Biologistic nor Metaphysical" by Bernd Graefrath (University of Essen, German), and thirteen other contributors organized into four general sections: "What Kind of Science is Darwinian Biology, and What Are Its Ontological Presuppositions"; "Is a Non-Naturalist Interpretation of Darwinism Possible?
Wiredu insists that his account of truth in Akan tradition is epistemological and not ontological.
Striving to delineate ontological theory in terms accessible to the lay reader, Being And Life is a welcome introduction to this school of self-help philosophy that centers upon the existence of the self.
A researcher's voyage may be long, the seas calm or stormy, the tides of circumstance insistent, but the journey is driven at least in part by the winds of ontological longing.