It’s only ontology.

From the Dictionary:


noun: ontology; plural noun: ontologies
the branch of metaphysics dealing with the nature of being.
a set of concepts and categories in a subject area or domain that shows their properties and the relations between them.
“what’s new about our ontology is that it is created automatically from large datasets”


early 18th century: from modern Latin ontologia, from Greek ōn, ont- ‘being’ + -logy.

I have long had a phrase I use “It’s only ontology”.  I use it to listen to people as they talk about Jesus, Chi, Shan, God, spirit or soul and so on.  My little phrase reminds me to listen to the person rather than get into a debate about the existence of this or that. Also, irrespective of the existence of stuff, ontology  “shows properties and the relations between” categories.  For an archetypal psychologist, for example,  there is a fundamental distinction between soul and spirit. Other people may use the words differently, yet they can reveal much about their world view.  It’s only ontology.

PSM_V10_D562_The_hindoo_earthScreen Shot 2020-07-27 at 11.19.24 PM

I am looking back on earlier posts in relationship to ontology.  Here is one where my phrase does not hold:

Continue reading “It’s only ontology.”

Ontology of Cyberspace

koepsell (link dead Tuesday, February 22, 2011 but rescued from the archives now here.). (and in Google Drive 

David R. Koepsell, The Ontology of Cyberspace: Philosophy, Law, and the Future of Intellectual Property. Chicago and La Salle, Illinois: Open Court, 2000.
Reviewed by Arthur L. Morin

Law is a system of categorization. At the ideal level, one purpose of this system is to help the social system achieve justice. Though not stated so straightforwardly, this is David R. Koepsell’s position in his book The Ontology of Cyberspace: Philosophy, Law, and the Future of Intellectual Property.1 There is, of course, a dynamic interrelation between the legal system of categorization and the socio-cultural system(s) of categorization of which it is a part. Koepsell realizes this, or else he would not have been able to detect the disjunction between what software is and how it has been treated in the legal system. But what he does not seem to fully appreciate is that ontology does not necessarily beget justice. This is the First Problem — the distinction between ontology (what something is) and justice — and I will return to it later.