Difference WikiGeneral

Difference Between Ontology and Epistemology

ADVERTISEMENT

Main Difference

The main difference between Ontology and Epistemology is that Ontology is associated with the nature of reality, whereas Epistemology is associated with the general basis of nature of reality, including different methods of gaining knowledge.

Ontology vs. Epistemology

Ontology is generally associated with the truth or reality, and the nature of reality; on the other hand, epistemology is usually associated with the nature of gaining knowledge and many different methods of gaining knowledge.

ADVERTISEMENT

In ontology, these types of questions are usually asked, like “What is existence?” or “What is the purpose of existence?”; on the contrary, in epistemology, these types of questions are generally asked, like “What do you know?” or “How do you know it?”.

Ontology asks about what things, behaviors, and relationships accurately do exist and usually exist as; on the flip side, epistemology asks about how and why things occur and ask candidly. There are present opposing ideas like the ontology say “this is that,” but the epistemology answer “how can you be so sure of what it is if you don’t even know what it is?”.

In ontology, people usually love to define things very precisely, while in epistemology, people find a logical reason behind every happening using precise data. Ontology is generally the study of “being” like “being in the world”; on the other hand, epistemology is the study of knowledge or knowing about things like “what do you know?”.

ADVERTISEMENT

Ontology mainly tries to address us who we are, while epistemology mainly tries to answer how close to absolute reality is our perceived reality. An example of an ontology is when a grey parrot asking the trainer what color am I? by presenting his shapes of different colors, the parrot is posing an ontological question; on the contrary, the example of epistemology is why and how could the color of parrot grey?

Comparison Chart

OntologyEpistemology
The branch of philosophy that is associated with the overall nature of things with identifying in the most general term is the ontologyThe philosophy branch that is associated with the kind of knowledge or information itself, its scope, possibility, and comprehensive basis is epistemology
Area
Generally associated with the truth or reality, and the nature of realityAssociated with the nature of gaining knowledge and many different methods of gaining knowledge
Questions
Questions are usually asked, like “What is existence?” or “What is the purpose of being?”Questions are generally asked, like “What do you know?” or “How do you know it?”.
Asks About
Asks about what things, behaviors, and relationships accurately do exist and usually exist asAsks about how and why things occur and ask in an objective way
Opposing Ideas
Ontology says “this is that”Epistemology answers, “how can you be so sure of what it is if you don’t even know what it is?”
Importance
People usually love to define things very preciselyPeople find a logical reason behind every happening using precise data
Study
The study of “being” like “being in the world.”The study of knowledge or knowing about things like “what do you know?”.
Tries To
Tries to address us who we areMainly tries to answer how close to absolute reality is our perceived reality
Example
When a grey parrot asking his trainer what color am I? by presenting his shapes of different colors, the parrot is posing an ontological questionWhy and how could the color of parrot grey?
ADVERTISEMENT

What is Ontology?

Ontology is considered as the fundamental branch of philosophy and is one of the oldest. It is a Greek word that means study, theory, or science of being, which exists.

In practical terms, the ontology studies about the existence or non-existence of stuff, and additionally, the existence of how things related to each other. The questions that ontology asks are some of the oldest types of questions that are usually asked by humankind: Do ideas, memories, and emotions exist? Does God exist? Do numbers exist? If numbers, memories, or numbers exist, then how do they relate to each other?

All things are divided into two large groups by ontology: Concrete Entities, which includes trees or stones, and Abstract Entities, which includes God or memories. Understandably, it is usually not possible to study these two types of entities in a similar method because both of them contain different characteristics.

ADVERTISEMENT

Like all branches of philosophy, ontology could be related to different fields of knowledge. For instance, in medicine, the ontology considers deeply into what type of disease is, what are different characteristics it has, and how humans could observe it.

In law, the ontology determines the features of law and the characteristics which differentiate it from other systems, e.g., customs. Moreover, in the ontology of computer science, it has grown up so much, and its entities study the computer science field and how they relate to each other.

What is Epistemology?

Epistemology means study about knowledge. Epistemology deals with the second type of knowledge, and that’s why it is said that epistemology is the branch of philosophy that deals with the study of science.

For Greeks in older times, there were two types of knowledge: Doxa means vulgar knowledge. It is usually based on subjective observance and opinion. For instance, if I look out of the door, I know it rains. Episteme means rigorous knowledge, and it is normally based on the acquired knowledge from objective analysis and study. For instance, after reading, I know what causes rain.

Epistemology was studied from the very beginning as ontology. That’s why we can easily find examples of epistemological interrogations from the philosophers of antiquity.

René Descartes (1596-1650), the French philosopher, is deliberated as the founder of modern epistemology who gives views that are based on the principle called epistemological fundamentalism. This principle is a thesis that says that human knowledge must rely on truths that cannot be denied.

Key Differences

  1. The branch of philosophy which is concerned with the overall nature of things with identifying in the most general term is known as ontology; on the other hand, the branch of philosophy which is concerned with the nature of knowledge itself, its scope, possibility, and general basis is epistemology.
  2. The ontology generally asks questions about like “What is existence?” or “What is the purpose of existence?”; on the contrary, the epistemology usually asks questions about like “What do you know?” or “How do you know it?”
  3. People normally like to describe things very accurately in ontology, while people catch a logical reason behind every occurrence using precise data in epistemology.
  4. Ontology is the learning of “being” like “being in the world”; on the other hand, epistemology is the learning of knowledge or knowing about things like “what do you know?”.
  5. Ontology inquires about what things, actions, and relationships accurately do occur and usually exist as; on the flip side, epistemology inquires about how and why things occur and ask objectively.

Conclusion

The above discussion concludes that ontology and epistemology are the branches of philosophy that give their different ideas. Ontology is associated with the truth or reality, and the nature of reality, whereas epistemology is associated with the nature of gaining knowledge and many different methods of gaining knowledge.

Aimie Carlson

Aimie Carlson is an English language enthusiast who loves writing and has a master degree in English literature. Follow her on Twitter at @AimieCarlson

Adblocker detected! Please consider reading this notice.

We've detected that you are using AdBlock Plus or some other adblocking software which is preventing the page from fully loading.

We don't have any banner, Flash, animation, obnoxious sound, or popup ad. We do not implement these annoying types of ads!

We need money to operate the site, and almost all of it comes from our online advertising.

Please add difference.wiki to your ad blocking whitelist or disable your adblocking software.

×