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What on earth are Ontology and Epistemology?

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Whiteheadian abstractions are not so tightly defined in time and place, and in the extreme, some are timeless and placeless, or 'eternal' entities. All abstractions have logical or conceptual rather than efficacious existence; their lack of definite time does not make them unreal if they refer to actual entities.

Whitehead calls this 'the ontological principle'. There is an established and long philosophical history of the concept of atoms as microscopic physical objects. They are far too small to be visible to the naked eye. It was as recent as the nineteenth century that precise estimates of the sizes of putative physical atoms began to become plausible.

Almost direct empirical observation of atomic effects was due to the theoretical investigation of Brownian motion by Albert Einstein in the very early twentieth century. But even then, the real existence of atoms was debated by some. Such debate might be labeled 'microcosmic ontology'. Here the word 'microcosm' is used to indicate a physical world of small entities, such as for example atoms. Subatomic particles are usually considered to be much smaller than atoms.

Their real or actual existence may be very difficult to demonstrate empirically. Reasonably, one may ask, in what sense, if any, do virtual particles exist as physical entities? For atomic and subatomic particles, difficult questions arise, such as do they possess a precise position, or a precise momentum? A question that continues to be controversial is 'to what kind of physical thing, if any, does the quantum mechanical wave function refer?

The first ontological argument in the Western Christian tradition [32] was proposed by Anselm of Canterbury in his work Proslogion. Anselm defined God as "that than which nothing greater can be thought", and argued that this being must exist in the mind, even in the mind of the person who denies the existence of God. He suggested that, if the greatest possible being exists in the mind, it must also exist in reality. If it only exists in the mind, then an even greater being must be possible—one which exists both in the mind and in reality.

Therefore, this greatest possible being must exist in reality. Descartes published several variations of his argument, each of which centred on the idea that God's existence is immediately inferable from a "clear and distinct" idea of a supremely perfect being. In the early eighteenth century, Gottfried Leibniz augmented Descartes' ideas in an attempt to prove that a "supremely perfect" being is a coherent concept. Norman Malcolm revived the ontological argument in when he located a second, stronger ontological argument in Anselm's work; Alvin Plantinga challenged this argument and proposed an alternative, based on modal logic.

Attempts have also been made to validate Anselm's proof using an automated theorem prover. Other arguments have been categorised as ontological, including those made by Islamic philosophers Mulla Sadra and Allama Tabatabai. Jaakko Hintikka puts the view that a useful explication of the notion of existence is in the words "one can find", implicitly in some world or universe of discourse. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about ontology in philosophy.

For the concept in information science and computing, see Ontology information science. Not to be confused with Oncology , Odontology , Ontogeny , or Deontology. This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources.

Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. January Learn how and when to remove this template message. This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. September Learn how and when to remove this template message. Abhidharma Applied ontology Foundation ontology Geopolitical ontology Guerrilla ontology Hauntology Holism Living educational theory Mereology Metamodeling Modal logic Monadology Nihilism Ontological paradox Philosophy of mathematics Philosophy of science Philosophy of space and time Physical ontology Porphyrian tree Quantum ontology Solipsism Speculative realism Structure and agency Subject—object problem.

Yearbook of the History of the Metaphysics , 9, , pp. Lectures on Quantum Theory: Process ontology in the context of applied philosophy". In Vesselin Petrov, ed. The Ionian Tradition of Scientific Philosophy". Contributions to social ontology. Ontological Design in Practice". In Tony Fry and Eleni Kalantidou. Design in the Borderlands. A Heideggerian Perspective on Interpersonal Communication".

State University of New York Press, The individual and the social self: Unpublished work of George Herbert Mead D. University of Chicago Press, Objects and Their Environments: Taylor and Francis, , Unterwegs zur Sprache Neske, Pfullingen Introduction to an Ontology of Intellectual Property. Proceedings and Address of the American Philosophical Association. Two defenses of common-sense ontology PDF. Physical-object ontology, verbal disputes and common sense".

Quantifier Variance and Realism: Quantifier variance and realism". In John Greco, ed. Ernest Sosa and His Critics. Financial Times Prentice Hall. What on earth are Ontology and Epistemology? By using this form you agree with the storage and handling of your data by this website. Facebook Twitter Linkedin Email.

The two Ontological positions point to two of the main distinctions in the Epistemology of research in NLP ; Positivism and Interpretivism Positivism does not allow for the subjective opinions of the researcher as the approach deals with verifiable observations and measurable relations between those observations, not with speculation and conjecture. Interpretivism The Interpretivist approach however, rejects absolute facts and suggests that facts are based on perception rather than objective truth.

Are able to carry out cross sectional analysis in order to identify regularities. Assignments using focus groups and creative methodologies with structured observation e.

Epistemology and Ontology Corkill, It is vital to decide on your approach before moving into your research design, and the impact of your choice upon design e. Oxford University Press Corkill ,D. Management Research, an introduction: Thomson Learning Saunders, M.

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But the assumptions underlying every piece of research are both ontological and epistemological. According to Eddie , and quoting directly, most social science sits into the following:. Experimental Positivist , with a more realist ontology i. Postmodernist constructivism, with a less realist ontology i. Applied, then to social psychology, it is important to understand the tension, throughout its history, between: A more traditional experimental quantitative approach, which sees social reality as a set of facts to be known for all time by measuring people in the laboratory;.

A more critical, discursive qualitative approach, which sees social reality as mutually constructed between people in the real world. However, I must add that pragmatism and hence mixed methods research is also being increasingly used in social sciences.

It will have a huge impact. Let me give you an example of an interview based research that is constructivist:. Foundations of social research: Meaning and Perspective in the Research Process. Exploring the philosophical underpinnings of research: Relating ontology and epistemology to the methodology and methods of the scientific, interpretive, and critical research paradigms.

English Language Teaching , 5 9 , pp. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email. Thanks a million brother Salma Patel. A scholastic, helpful post that made me understand the subject crystal clear.

On pondering this I came across a blog by Salma Patel which had a summary table that helped with some of my reflection. My drawing reflects me the […]. Oh my gosh, this is amazing. And so, so helpful. Thank you for making it so clear. That table alone is worth a million bucks. Thank you so much for the knowledge you shared for us who are working on research as I was confused about these long words but the explanation provided for each word and their meaning, enlightening myself in research terminology for words like epistemology, ontology, and many more.

Thanks again and God bless. Thanks Salma This is very helpful, clearly laid out information. Hi Lauren, Thank you for your comment. I am very pleased to hear it was useful for your assignment.

What an excellent explanation you have given brother.. It is really useful for my thesis works. Decided to keep in touch with your site… Thanks. Your explanation has made it all that much simpler. Brilliant — thank you!! I re-read this information, and now I am now certain that I am locating my research in the correct paradigm of Pragmatism.

So I am also using genealogy, which is part critical. I have been pulling my hair out! Thank you for your explanation at least I can attempt my assignment.

I have been really pulling my hair out. Now I can attempt my assignment. Felt like I was a little lost until I came across your page. Thanks for your hard work! Absolutely useful guidelines as I embark on my doctoral journey. I am busy with my research proposal and your post has come in handy and is helping me clarify my research methodology. I actually understand it!! What a great article and video! It was extremely helpful!

Holistic and very useful materials. I must confess that this post helped to lift the burden of understanding this process few hours to the before submission of my Mphil-PhD transfer report. This is absolutely resourceful Patel.

Presented in such a manner that a layman can understand this process. Thanks once again as you have just saved a brother. Thanks for this article and the youtube video. Breaking the concepts down as you have done has really helped grasp these concepts as I commence my PhD studies. The work is superb. It has assisted me great deal. Great site to make sense of big words in simple terms. Thank you for the insight and simplicity of approach.

Thank you everyone for your lovely comments. I am truly pleased to hear this article has been useful to so many of you! Wishing you all the best with your research endeavors. Thanks Salma, this was helpful, easy to understand and interesting above all. The presentation simplifies everything about research. I really appreciate your great effort for helping students who have been facing challenge with research.

Can you use the ontology and epistemology at the same time in the dissertation? Example say ontology of power is socially constructed and my epistemology to explain power is what?

You would normally make reference to both Ontology and Epistemology in the thesis. I am not sure if the example you have given is correct though.

So ontology is a topic and epistemology finding how you arrive with the knowledge. Ontology can be positivist or non-positivist, subjective and objective. Very useful, You made this so simple. Well done and thanks for relieving me of some of the stress. Can i only use the quantitative research approach while following the pragmatism paradigm.

Thanks very much for this — after reading many text books and articles and still feeling lost, this was super helpful!! Is it in the Analysis part of your methods? Or is it in Design as it is supposed to influence your whole study?


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Ontology and epistemology are two different ways of viewing a research philosophy. Ontology in business research can be defined as “the science or study of being” and it deals with the nature of reality. Ontology is a system of belief that reflects an interpretation by an individual about what constitutes a fact.

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Ontology is the philosophical study of being. More broadly, it studies concepts that directly relate to being, in particular becoming, existence, reality, as well as the basic categories of being and their relations.

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What on earth are Ontology and Epistemology? Dr Sally Vanson I am an NLP Master Trainer, sit on the accreditation panel of ANLP, the Research Committee of ICF and am CEO of The Performance Solution where as well as training professional coaches to get accreditation through ICF, we have designed, developed and run the world’s first NLP based Masters’ degree. 3. Choose a spokes person to report back on: (i) how your research brief grew out of your epistemological starting point(s); (ii) any difficulties you faced in agreeing on epistemological and ontological positions in relation to your proposed research; (iii) potential limitations to the research: e.g.

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There is also a 2nd (ie alternate) meaning of `ontology' in the Digital Humanities (and, information science), which is sort of more like a `key term' in a `list of key . Nevertheless, a distance between the knower and the known, rendering the former "an impartial observer and the other to be subject to the observer's gaze" (SAVAGE, , p), often persists in those who, despite carrying out qualitative research, cannot get rid of an empiricist ontology and epistemology.