Hidden Ontologies: Cognitively Real and Empirically Real

eJournal: uffmm.org

ISSN 2567-6458, 17.August 2022 – 17 August 2022
Email: info@uffmm.org
Author: Gerd Doeben-Henisch
Email: gerd@doeben-henisch.de


This text is part of the subject COMMON SCIENCE as Sustainable Applied Empirical Theory, besides ENGINEERING, in a SOCIETY. It is a preliminary version, which is intended to become part of a book.

Hidden Ontologies: Cognitively Real and Empirically Real

Instead to talk about the ‘meaning of expressions’ often the expression ‘ontologies’ is used. This language game traces back to the Greek philosophy and is vivid since then through all centuries in the world of philosophers (and today heavily borrowed by computer scientists without giving some foundation, what these ‘formal ontologies’ should be).

While the concept of ‘meaning’ is alluding to (i) those abstract (cognitive, mental, …) entities in our thinking which can be related to expressions, and (ii) mediated by this to those perceptions of object-like somethings assumed to exist in the ‘outer world’ of the brain, an ‘ontology’ assumes a ‘realm of objects’ without an existential qualification: the assumed realm of objects can be only an abstract realm (only by thinking) or an assumed ’empirical realm’ by ‘real objects’.

The philosophical discipline called ‘epistemology’ — today backed up by different empirical disciplines like e.g. experimental psychology associated with brain sciences — has clarified that so-called ’empirical reality’ is for a brain only given as an ‘abstract model triggered by different perceptional events’, where the abstract model is associated with ‘perceptional triggers’. A human actor can talk about ‘ontologies’ only in this ‘abstract mode’, which eventually has some ‘clues for perceptional triggers’ which ‘signal’ an ‘object-like something’ as a ‘possible instance’ of the used abstract structure in thinking. In this sense appears the language game of an ‘ontology’ to be an unnecessary doubling of the language game of ‘meaning’.