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Full Title or Meme

The branch of metaphysics dealing with the nature of being in the Abstract[1] aka a specification of a conceptualization of reality.


  • Whereas the origin of the word was used for the discussion of the essence of things in the real world, in computer science it is used for a collection of abstract ideas in any specific domain.
  • There is no obvious distinction between an Ontology and a Categorization.
  • Some in the field confuse these terms, but convergence on the real meaning is not likely:
    • Data Dictionary - mostly used by data base architects.
    • Data Model - defines a schema for a data dictionary.
    • Taxonomy - used to categorize objects into distinct taxa.
    • Ontology - used to add significance to a data dictionary.


  • Most of Philosophy is arguing about the meaning and use of words. The idea that there will be a single ontology of any domain in computer science is absurd, which doesn't deter anyone from creating new ones all the time.
  • There is a major disconnect between the way that coders see the world and the way that normal users see the world, which makes the idea of an ontology developed by coders as the basis for User Experience absurd as well.


  1. W W Skeat, Entomological Dictionary of the English Language Oxford (1879)