study of the nature of being, becoming, existence or reality, as well as the basic categories of being and their relations
In philosophy, ontology is the study of being or existence.
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- The genius of culture is to create an ontological system so compelling that what is inside and outside of a person are viewed as of a piece, no seams and patches noticeable.
- Richard Shweder, "Cultural psyschology-What is it?" Cultural Psychology (1990)
- The word ontology comes from the Greek ontos for being and logos for word. It is a relatively new term in the long history of philosophy, introduced by the 19th century German philosophers to distinguish the study of being as such from the study of various kinds of beings in the natural sciences. The traditional term for the types of beings is Aristotle's word category, which he used for classifying anything that can be said or predicated about anything.
- Ontology recapitulates philology.
- The Western World has been brainwashed by Aristotle for the last 2,500 years. The unconscious, not quite articulate, belief of most Occidentals is that there is one map which adequately represents reality. By sheer good luck, every Occidental thinks he or she has the map that fits. Guerrilla ontology, to me, involves shaking up that certainty. I use what in modern physics is called the "multi-model" approach, which is the idea that there is more than one model to cover a given set of facts. … It's important to abolish the unconscious dogmatism that makes people think their way of looking at reality is the only sane way of viewing the world. My goal is to try to get people into a state of generalized agnosticism, not agnosticism about God alone, but agnosticism about everything. If one can only see things according to one's own belief system, one is destined to become virtually deaf, dumb, and blind. It's only possible to see people when one is able to see the world as others see it. That's what guerrilla ontology is — breaking down this one-model view and giving people a multi-model perspective.