Being Becoming: Integrative Paradigms


Why Ontology?

There is a tremendous need in our time to choose venues of expression that both transcend and integrate vast quantities of knowledge.  Quality work in Interdisciplinary modalities require Ontological methods and perspectives to protect against problematic conceptual revisions, their overutilization stemming from problematic agendas and market driven manipulations and distortions. 

Specific professions and disciplines (regional ontologies) are called to make ample room for the integration of spiritual, metaphysical, morphic, quantum and three dimensional physical frames that honor and respect the intellectual foundations of Christendom.  This includes concepts, constructs, theories, paradigms, spiritual traditions and charisms, teachings, dogmas and doctrines.  At the same time, the interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary utility of Ontology rests with its capacity to interface with discipline specific realities.

Ontologists examine categories, states and conditions of being with the goal of framing contextual descriptions and validating existential meaning.   The effort to explain being in a given context or modality raises many epistemological and linguistic questions that are useful in defining aspects of existence, both those that are generalizable and those that illustrate more unique or personalized being, experience or volition.

In the last few centuries, abstract quests to develop common language and frames of reference for new and old disciplines has linked Ontology to Epistemology and Metaphysics.  The need to frame language and systematic approaches to human development, purpose and mission has accentuated the need for grounding of meaning within the abstract notion of being

Under the umbrellas of Ontology, Epistemology and Metaphysics are bound together with Phenomenology and Existentialism as well as other fields such as Philosophy of Mind. Especially in realms of public professions and their respective divisions and subgroups,  the quest for shared meaning and purpose has accentuated the need to reference Ontological dimensions and the need for Ontology itself to take on a broadening range of Metaphysical features in expanded categories.

We have reached an epoch were individual and group capacities have been radically altered and transformed by advanced technology as well as the world becoming smaller. We now live in a global society that is reassembling its priorities and alliances while at the same time knowledge itself is routinely contextualized for specific  agendas at times far outside prior systemic assumptions.   We do well to examine our knowledge and development, internal and external, within the context of ‘being in situation’ or ‘being in society‘.

New pathways of being bring about new levels of insight and more options for existence, but may also cause disruption and dissonance.  The study of being and experience itself, especially in reference to many types of describable phenomena helps establishes common frames of reference and meaning and also seeks consensus on what is good, less good and more bad than good. This primordial link of Ontology to morality and ethics as well as goal setting and performance is a premiere attribute with potential magnitude that has not been adequately recognized in modern times. 

To many, the attraction of Medieval studies has been at least a subconscious motivation to reestablish a fuller sense is unity and harmony of being. This modality and subsequent scholasticism offer foundational support to thinkers who seek to offer constructs that support unity and cohesion in and of being itself. 

The manifestation of being in a wide variety of domains and tapestry of paradigms often requires the utilization of interdisciplinary frameworks to explain existence in a whole and fully human context.  Consequently, Works like Aquinas’ On Being and Essence (De Ente et Essentia) and Scotus’ Concept of the Univocity of Being are significant frames of reference in modern Ontology. 

Your Dictionary defines Ontology as a noun in a discipline specific manner: “Ontology is an organizational system designed to categorize and help explain the relationships between various concepts of science in the same area of knowledge and research.”  It goes on to offer the following “Functions of Ontology” that emphasize its underlying role in supporting cohesive constellations of concepts that fit together in the natural order:

  • It provides a common background and understanding of a particular domain, or field, of study, and ensures a common ground among those who study the information.
  • It is a way of organizing concepts, information, and ideas that is meant to be universal within the field, and allows for a common language to be spoken.
  • It is a structural framework that allows the concepts to be laid out in a way that makes sense.
  • It helps show the connections and relationships between concepts in a manner that is generally accepted by the field. 

An example of ontology is when a physicist establishes different categories  to divide existing things into an order to better understand those things and how they fit together in the broader world.   [YourDictionary definition and usage example. Copyright © 2017 by LoveToKnow Corp]

Webster’s New World College Dictionary explains the origin of Ontology is tied to the Modern Latin ontologia: see onto- and -logy – putting a logical explanation on what we see.  It offers a more top down set of definitions for Ontology:

  1. the branch of metaphysics dealing with the nature of being, reality, or ultimate substance
  2. pl. -·gies a particular theory about being or reality
YOUR DICTIONARY explains “In the field of philosophy there is some variation in how the term ontology is used. Ontology is a much more recent term than metaphysics and takes its root meaning explicitly from the Greek term for being. Ontology can be used loosely as a rough equivalent to metaphysics or more precisely to denote that subset of the domain of metaphysics which is focused rigorously on the study of being as being.”

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Richard S. Waguespack, Ph.D., LCSW

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