Ontologies

An ontology is merely an understanding that utilizes specifically chosen concepts.

It mystifies me a bit that in the field of philosophy, so very few ever realize the distinction in ontologies. A philosopher seeks truth and wisdom. It would seem wise to me for him to first realize that the truth can be expressed in a multitude of ontologies and one cannot mix them and make any sense. Thus one must choose an ontological set of entities for his own understanding and translate any others, if they can be translated.

The stick is either 1 yard long or 0.9144 meters long. Which is true or false?

It isn’t an issue of true or false. It is an issue of which system of units or concepts one is using. An ontology is analogous to a system of measurement units. In the religions, the ontological entities vary, but involve things like “angels”, “spirit”, “soul”, and “god(s)”. In the newer Science and physics ontology such concepts are not defined but rather expressed in different terms; “concepts”, “behaviors”, “identity”, and “force(s)”.

What one religion might call “the Devil”, when translated into modern physics becomes “entropy” or more exactly, “the cause(s) of entropy”. Both are exceedingly insidious and clever and can be viewed as intelligent adversaries or as a weapon against an adversary. Both have the same attributes. In the Bible, a “tree” isn’t a physical tree, but rather the general concept of a tree, a growing ontology. And “Judas Iscariot” wasn’t anyone’s real name. But neither scriptures nor science is a question of truth or fiction, existent or fantasy. They are different ontologies born of a different focus for relevance.

Philosophers preach truths quite often and just as often argue that they are right and the other guy is wrong. Well, the truth is that even though they might be right, the other guy, seemingly in opposition, might be equally right, merely speaking in a different “tongue”, a different ontology. One cannot rationally argue the validity of an understanding without first accepting the definitional premises, the concepts and terms involved. The only thing that can be justly argued is whether each is being coherent within his own ontology. Yet people across the world, whether philosopher or not, argue “My ontology is Truth. Your ontology is fiction.

Scriptural texts use a different ontology than science uses (“yards vs meters”). One cannot take something out of the Bible (for example) and claim that a scientific principle invalidates it, nor vise versa. Each has their own version of the same principles merely constructed of different concepts. And either can be internally inconsistent, actually invalidating itself. And both, to a different degree, use metaphor (a commonly known entity to represent a more general concept and in its stead).

Any ontology can be true (accurate to reality and/or experience) as long as it holds to the concerns of;
A) consistency / coherency
B) completeness / comprehensiveness
C) relevance / “issues of rational concern”

If one is going to be a philosopher, wouldn’t it be wise to realize this issue, Before arguing a case? I would also think it additionally wise to indicate, if not declare, which ontological system is being argued or debated.

Yes. Ontologies are methods of understanding, of conceptualizing. Different ontologies reflect different subjectivities and “languages”, but ontologies can and should be weighed and measured against each other. Philosophy explains ontologies and sets them against each other, to observe what happens, to test them, to gain a wider vantage. The more ontologies one is able to entertain and understand at the same time, the greater one’s powers of consciousness and of understanding.

Being stuck in a single ontological logic-system is a consequence of being insufficiently philosophical, of being merely a “surviving animal” that has only found or is only trying to find the best-possible (useful and easiest) single conceptual paradigm to sustain its “living”. This is why truth and philosophy cannot be reduced to living and/or dying, the impulse is necessarily beyond life and death and is not reducible to those concerns (even will to power is inadequate as a psychoepistemic or ontological principle because of this).

Yes, and if you are going to weigh them in comparison, you have to weigh them as a whole, not piece by piece.

Similarly with societies, one cannot say that an action is good or bad without first verifying which society is being handled by the action. In some places, it might be illegal or unethical because they don’t have a way to handle it. In another society, it might be not only legal, but expected because they already have in place a means to get good out of that same act.

Philosophies or ontologies don’t have “good thoughts” or “bad thoughts” compared to other ontologies, although they might be good or bad within their own ontology. In every case, if something is being seen as good or bad, it is being judged from a particular ontology or society. It might really be good or bad, but one cannot assess such things if they don’t know its environment, from where it is “coming”, or to where it is going.

In mathematics, you have the Laplace transform (amongst others) wherein you translate mathematics operators and quantities into a different ontology. Multiplying becomes adding. Dividing becomes subtracting and so on. The purpose is to simplify and make obvious complex operations. But before any conclusion, one must translate it all back.

I translate back and forth between religious ontologies and science ontologies so often they all become the same to me. But I can’t conclude anything until I translate it back into its intended environment.

I wonder whether the problem is inscribed within the apparent solution here. By saying that an ontology has to be coherent, don’t we lead ourselves into the position that our ontology is the only “true” one in order to maintain that coherence, even if that isn’t our intention? It’s not that I necessarily disagree, I’ve long had sympathy with the hermeneutic idea of horizons of understanding, but it seems ultimately that its a subjectivist stance - albeit an assimilationist one rather than the exclusionary one you seem to be proposing.

I don’t believe that if you were to have a nation that used only the metric system and another that used only the Old English system, you would ever run across a conclusion that one was “truth” and the other was not.

In physics, affects are ontologically categorized by “forces” acting upon “objects” within “fields”. In Rational Metaphysics, “forces” don’t exist, nor “objects” really. Yet RM agrees with a great deal of what physics presents as truth. They only begin to disagree when it comes to more extreme details. In RM, one “field” causes both of the effects of “gravitation force” and “electromagnetic force” as well as the construct substance of all “objects”. It is merely a matter of naming conventions.

But having said that, if one were to go to the ultimate extreme with an ontology to literally explain all things, I believe that they would have to end up saying exactly what RM says, although they would have their own names for the same elements. So there would be only one “truth”, merely in different word-for-word languages. The concepts would end up being the same. In less stringent ontologies, the concepts can be very different, such as in politics; “Republicans vs Democrats” and “liberals vs conservatives”. Both are “true distinctions” to a degree of accuracy, yet different overlapping concepts.

James… “ontologies” as you’ve described them here are forms of knowledge and are secondary to understanding. With understanding, you can mix ontologies as casually as you want, though your approach might prove idiosyncratic rather than universal (i.e. nobody may have a clue what you’re talking about). But without understanding, everything is error. You think Jesus is a specific man in the sky who will come to earth again, or you think Jesus means the same thing as some concept in physics. Or you think a bridge failure literally means the bridge sinned against reality or something. I like your OP, but I think this distinction needs to be made.

An Ontology ≡ An Understanding.

A person can stand on sand and float on water, but the day of his eschatology is set by on the coherence of his ontology.

Truth can be defined as that which is;
A) Coherent (Logical)
B) Comprehensive (All-encompassing)
C) Relevant (Effective)

I personally have found Affectance Ontology to be such a Truth.

That seems quite different from what you described in your OP. Do you know what I mean by the difference between knowledge and understanding? You may be able to measure a stick in yards or feet (knowledge), but that doesn’t mean you have a clue what to do with either number (understanding).

A bit too nebulous for me to agree or disagree, which is ok by me.

I updated the last post.

Without the pedantry involved, Knowledge and Truth are very related.

I thought we were having a friendly exchange. Pedantry? Tough place, ILP.

Sorry, I wasn’t intending any reference to you. I merely meant that I didn’t want to go into all of the pedantic distinctions between “knowledge” and “Truth”.

Oh, OK. I’m sorry too for misunderstanding. I’m tired…