The word ontology comes from the Greek language and is made up of two words, “οντος” which mean “to be ” and “λóγος” , which means “science” . This word is closely related to both philosophy and metaphysics and mainly focuses on analyzing and studying the nature of being, its existence and its reality.

What is ontology?

Ontology is the philosophical study that is done on being in general and on all the properties that are related to it and that are also transcendental. It is also considered a subfield of the area of metaphysics .

  • What do you study
  • Characteristics of the ontology
  • Source
  • History of ontology
  • How it differs from metaphysics
  • Importance
  • Representatives
  • Ontology examples

What do you study

Ontology is a science, considered part of philosophy and metaphysics that is responsible for studying the being as well as a series of questions that are related to the existence of the human being. Study the why of things, the categories to which these things belong, ideas and objective reality. It also analyzes the reality and the abstract part of life, the real and the non-real, as well as the essence of being.

It is also a science that is used to study abstract entities from the metaphysical point of view dividing them into two important groups, the abstract in which concepts, sets and numbers can be found and the concrete , which includes objects, plants and planets .

Characteristics of the ontology

Among its main features are the following:

  • It is considered as part of the philosophy .
  • It focuses on the study of being , its existence and its reality .
  • It develops all its concepts through dichotomies , in other words, concepts that are opposed to others.
  • Take into account the essence and existence .
  • It is universal .
  • Performs analysis on objects that can be abstract or concrete .
  • It follows a logical order in terms of the events it analyzes.
  • It can have monism , dualism, or pluralism .


The origin of ontology can be found in a series of books written by Aristotle known as ” those after Physics “ . He managed to make the discipline could develop and exert an important influence on human beings.

History of ontology

Thanks to Aristotle , ontology took on greater importance and during the Middle Ages , it was a widely used aspect for the field of education and religion . Through ontology, the existence of God as the first cause and as the primary end of things was taken into account more . In the seventeenth century , ontology began to be known properly as the study of being in terms of being and greater importance began to be given to immaterial and eternal entities.

In the 20th century , the term was given greater importance and it is considered one of the most fruitful periods for the discipline. Husserl and Heidegger were in charge of publicizing and applying the term based mainly on the existence of the human being.

How it differs from metaphysics

Let us remember that ontology is a branch that is responsible for studying the being through a series of analyzes on its existence , its nature and its reality in order to reach correct conclusions about its origin and purpose. It is common for these two terms to be confused but there are several aspects that make them different.

The metaphysical meanwhile, is a branch of philosophy whose function is to study the problems that occur in the philosophical thought seen from the point of view of being, of God , the soul and the world . It is a science that seeks to be able to describe the properties, foundations, conditions and main causes of reality and that also focuses mainly on everything that is immaterial.


Ontology is a science of great importance since it is responsible for studying the being and everything that is related to it. It is a means by which it is possible to better understand the different actions that the human being performs in order to understand all the characteristics that are part and that also promote the nature of an individual and then have a better understanding of thoughts , even those that are considered complicated.


The main representatives of Ontology have been the following:

  • Heraclitus : an important and renowned Greek philosopher who was one of the forerunners of Greek metaphysics. For him, logos was the most important thing.
  • Parmenides : established several important philosophical concepts that managed to survive throughout history . He gave special importance to reason, knowledge and feelings.
  • Aristotle : one of the main exponents of ontology who affirmed that the essence or the being were separated from things and that they also had immutability. He was the one who gave the first metaphysical version of reality, he spoke of a sensible and perceptible world through the senses and a world of ideas, which was immutable and understandable only through the understanding.
  • Husserl : for him, ontology was a science of essence that could be of two types; formal or material.
  • Heidegger : affirmed that the fundamental ontology was important and also called it as metaphysics of existence.

Ontology examples

Some examples of ontology are mentioned below:

  • The thoughts
  • The existence of god
  • The existence of life beyond death

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