Ontology is a foundational discipline of philosophy that has its
origins in ancient Greece and is represented in our own day by the
work of analytical metaphysicians such as David Armstrong and Kit
Ontology in this philosophical sense is a theoretical discipline. It is (roughly) the science of what is, of the kinds and structures of objects, properties, events, processes and relations in every area of reality.
Intersection of Philosophy and Information Science
Ontology is also, however, a rapidly growing practical discipline at the intersection of philosophy and information science. Ontological tools and theories are increasingly being applied in bio- and medical informatics, in intelligence, defense and security analysis, in industry, publishing, finance, and other fields, where they serve as a basis for improved classifications, information integration, and automatic reasoning.
The University at Buffalo is a world center of this applied ontology and is providng a growing set of career opportunities for graduate students who are interested in real world applications of philosophy.
The National Center for Ontological Research (NCOR) was established in Buffalo in 2005 with the goal of advancing the quality of ontological research and development and of establishing tools and measures for ontology evaluation and quality assurance. Learn more.
In addition, Buffalo’s special focus in ontology has resulted in an increasing number of students embarking on careers as ontologists in government and business. For more information, see Careers in Ontology.