What Has Happened to Ontology

  • Peter Øhrstrøm
  • Jan Andersen
  • Henrik Schärfe
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 3596)


Ontology as the study of being as such dates back to ancient Greek philosophy, but the term itself was coined in the early 17th century. The idea termed in this manner was further studied within academic circles of the Protestant Enlightenment. In this tradition it was generally believed that ontology is supposed to make true statements about the conceptual structure of reality. A few decades ago computer science imported and since then further elaborated the idea of ‘ontology’ from philosophy. Here, however, the understanding of ontology as a collection of true statements has often been played down. In the present paper we intend to discuss some significant aspects of the notion of ‘ontology’ in philosophy and computer science. Mainly we focus on the questions: To what extent are computer scientists and philosophers — who all claim to be working with ontology problems — in fact dealing with the same problems? To what extent may the two groups of researchers benefit from each other? It is argued that the well-known philosophical idea of ontological commitment should be generally accepted in computer science ontology.


Conceptual Structure Ontological Commitment Formal Ontology Ontological Theory Information Practice 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Øhrstrøm
    • 1
  • Jan Andersen
    • 1
  • Henrik Schärfe
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of CommunicationAalborg UniversityAalborg EastDenmark

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