Logic and Ontology

I found an interesting article on the SEP this morning, it seemed to me well written and clearly argumented. 'Logic and ontology', by Thomas Hofweber. Defining logic and ontology is not an easy thing - maybe because it is just a truism to say that there is one unifying view of what they they are. Something like physics... it is likely that no physicist would tell you that there is one thing  such as 'the physics', but a range of different approaches and theories which constitute physics as a whole.

Nonetheless, you can look for similarities and differences and come up with a nice classification. I think that's what this article is doing:

Overall, we can thus distinguish four notions of logic:

  • (L1) the mathematical study of artificial formal languages
  • (L2) the study of formally valid inferences and logical consequence
  • (L3) the study of logical truths
  • (L4) the study of the general features, or form, of judgements

Then he continues with ontology:

The larger discipline of ontology can thus be seen as having four parts:

  • (O1) the study of ontological commitment, i.e. what we or others are committed to,
  • (O2) the study of what there is,
  • (O3) the study of the most general features of what there is, and how the things there are relate to each other in the metaphysically most general ways,
  • (O4) the study of meta-ontology, i.e. saying what task it is that the discipline of ontology should aim to accomplish, if any, how the question it aims to answer should be understood, and with what methodology they can be answered.

I also tried to run the article through WordSift (a text-visualizer tool I mentioned some time ago) but the results were not so exciting I must say. The initial hope was to extract the 'core' terms of the article, and somehow let the inherent argument or discourse emerge.. but I guess we're still far from there! WordSift is probably useful for an english teacher to explain some of the most used terms in a text, but for anything deeper or more domain-centered than that we've got to look for something else.....


the 'words' clouds in WordSift

Picture 3


the visual thesaurus applet :

Picture 1

Cite this blog post:

Michele Pasin. Logic and Ontology. Blog post on www.michelepasin.org. Published on June 19, 2009.


See also:


paper  Moving EMLoT towards the web of data: an approach to the representation of humanities citations based on role theory and formal ontology

New Technologies in Medieval and Renaissance Studies, (forthcoming). (part of the 'Envisioning REED in the Digital Age' collection)


paper  Annotation and Ontology in most Humanities research: accommodating a more informal interpretation context

NeDiMaH workshop on ontology based annotation, held in conjunction with Digital Humanities 2012, Hamburg, Germany, Jul 2012.


paper  An Ontological View of Canonical Citations

Digital Humanities 2011 , Stanford, USA, Jun 2011.

paper  Ontological Requirements for Annotation and Navigation of Philosophical Resources

Synthese, Volume 182, Number 2, Springer, Jan 2011.



paper  PhiloSURFical: An Ontological Approach To Support Philosophy Learning

Semantic Web Technologies for e-Learning, Oct 2009. D. Dicheva, R. Mizoguchi, J. Greer (Eds.), vol. 4 The Future of Learning, IOS Press

paper  Ontological Requirement for Supporting Smart Navigation of Philosophical Resources

PhD Thesis, Milton Keynes, UK, The Open University, Jul 2009.


paper  Approach and ontology in PhiloSURFical

COST EU Workshop, Ancona University, May 2008.


paper  AquaLog: An ontology-driven question answering system for organizational semantic intranets

Journal of Web Semantics, Sep 2007. Vol. 5, 2, (72-105), Elsevier

paper  Supporting Philosophers’ Work through the Semantic Web: Ontological Issues

Fifth International Workshop on Ontologies and Semantic Web for E-Learning (SWEL-07), held in conjunction with AIED-07, Marina Del Rey, California, USA, Jul 2007.


paper  An ontology for the description and navigation through philosophical resources

European Conference on Philosophy and Computing (ECAP-06), Trondheim, Norway, Jun 2006.


paper  AquaLog A Ontology-portable Question Answering interface for the Semantic Web

2nd European Semantic Web Conference (ESWC05), Heraklion, Crete, Greece, May 2005. pp. 546-562