Theory and History of Ontology

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  • "History Logic" and "Bibliographia" are my other websites. "Table of Contents" gives the list of the pages, for other indexes see the "Sitemap". "Modern Ontologists" contains a table with links to the pages on the most important philosophers of the 19th and 20th centuries who have written on ontology. The "Search" function can be used to find a particular author or subject.


Living Ontologists - Bibliographical Guide: M - Q

These pages will give some essential bibliographical information about some of the most important living ontologists; only a few titles will be cited for every author.

  • Jean-Luc Marion
  • Uwe Meixner
  • Donald W. Mertz
  • Kevin Mulligan
  • Frédéric Nef
  • Mieczyslaw Omyla
  • Terence Parsons
  • Jacek Pasniczek
  • Lorenzo Peña
  • Jean Petitot
  • Alvin Plantinga
  • Roberto Poli
  • Graham Priest
  • Hilary Putnam

Jean-Luc Marion

  1. Marion, Jean-Luc. 1975. Sur L'ontologie Grise De Descartes. Science Cartesienne Et Savoir Aristotelicien Dans Les Regulae. Paris: Vrin.

    Second revised edition 1981, third revised edition 1992.

  2. ———. 1981. Sur La Théologie Blanche De Descartes: Analogie, Création Des Verités Eternelles, Fondément. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France.

    Revised edition 1991

  3. ———. 1986. Sur Le Prisme Métaphysique De Descartes. Constitution Et Limites De L'onto-Théo-Logie Dans La Pensée Cartésienne. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France.

    English translation by Jeffrey L. Kosky: On Descartes' metaphysical prism. The constitution and the limits of Onto-theo-logy in Cartesian thought, Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1999.

Uwe Meixner

  1. Meixner, Uwe. 1997. Axiomatic Formal Ontology. Dordrecht: Kluwer.

  2. ———. 1998. "Actual Existence, Identity and Ontological Priority." Erkenntnis no. 48:209-226.

  3. ———. 2004. The Two Sides of Being. A Reassessment of Psycho-Physical Dualism. Paderborn: Mentis Verlag.

  4. ———. 2004. Einführung in Die Ontologie. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft,.


  1. Kleinknecht, Reinhard. 1998. "Comments on U. Meixner's Lecture "Actual Existence, Identity and Ontological Priority"." Erkenntnis no. 48:227-231.

Donald W. Mertz

  1. Mertz, Donald W. 1996. Moderate Realism and Its Logic. New Haven: Yale University Press.

  2. ———. 1999. "The Logic of Instance Ontology." Journal of Philosophical Logic no. 28:81-111.

    Abstract: "An ontology's theory of ontic predication has implications for the concomitant predicate logic. Remarkable in its analytic power for both ontology and logic is the here developed Particularized Predicate Logic (PPL), the logic inherent in the realist version of the doctrine of unit or individuated predicates. PPL, as axiomatized and proven consistent below, is a three-sorted impredicative intensional logic with identity, having variables ranging over individuals x, intensions R, and instances of intensions Ri. The power of PPL is illustrated by its clarification of the self-referential nature of impredicative definitions and its distinguishing between legitimate and illegitimate forms. With a well-motivated refinement on the axiom of comprehension, PPL is, in effect, a higher-order logic without a forced stratification of predicates into types or the use of other ad hoc restrictions. The Russell-Priest characterization of the classic self-referential paradoxes is used to show how PPL diagnosis and solves these antimonies. A direct application of PPL is made to Grelling's Paradox. Also shown is how PPL can distinguish between identity and indiscernibility."

  3. ———. 2001. "Individuation and Instance Ontology." Australasian Journal of Philosophy no. 79:45-61.

    "A critique of James Moreland's defense of bare particulars serves as a context for providing an alternative and sustainable account of individuation based upon the linking-'combinatorial'-nature of ontic predication. Displayed most clearly in polyadic predicates, an ontic predicate is assayed as a simple particular with two abstractable aspects: a repeatable intension and an unrepeatable unifying agency among a subject n-tuple. The assumption that predicate instances are complex is shown to imply either a Bradley-type regress or impossible 'bare-linkings'. An analogy is given to explicate how an entity can be simple but found two distinct aspects."

  4. ———. 2006. Essays on Realist Instance Ontology and Its Logic. Predication, Structure, and Identity. Frankfurt: Ontos Verlag.

Kevin Mulligan

  1. Mulligan, Kevin. 1989. "Husserl on States of Affairs in the Logical Investigations." Epistemologia no. 12:207-234.

  2. ———. 1998. "Relations - through Thick and Thin." Erkenntnis no. 48 (2-3):325-353.

  3. ———. 2006. "Facts, Formal Objects and Ontology." Meinong Studies / Meinong Studien no. 2:31-46.

  4. Mulligan, Kevin, and Smith, Barry. 1986. "A Relational Theory of the Act." Topoi.An International Journal of Philosophy no. 5:115-162.

Frédéric Nef

  1. Nef, Frédéric. 1988. Logique Et Langage. Éssais De Sémantique Intensionelle. Paris: Hemés.

  2. ———. 2000. L'objet Quelconque. Recherches Sur L'ontologie De L'objet. Paris: Vrin.

  3. ———. 2004. Qu'est-Ce Que La Métaphysique? Paris: Gallimard.

  4. ———. 2006. Les Propriétés Des Choses. Expérience Et Logique. Paris: Vrin.

  5. ———. 2006. "Ontologie De L'objet, Théorie Des Propriétés Et Théorie Des Ensembles: Quelques Problèmes Et Perspectives." Revue Internationale de Philosophie no. 61:181-208.

  6. ———. 2009. Traité D'ontologie Pour Les Non-Philosophes (Et Les Philosophes). Paris: Gallimard.

Mieczyslaw Omyla

  1. Omyla, Mieczyslaw. 1976. "Translatability in Non-Fregean Theories." Studia Logica no. 35:127-138.

  2. ———. 1978. "Boolean Theories with Quantifiers." Bulletin of the Section of Logic no. 7:76-83.

  3. ———. 1982. "The Logic of Situations." In Language and Ontology. Proceedings of the 6th International Wittgenstein Symposium. 23rd to 30th August 1981 Kirchber Am Wechsel (Austria), edited by Leinfellner, Werner, Kraemer, Eric and Schamk, Jeffrey, 195-198. Wien: Hölder-Pichler-Tempsky.

    "Professor Roman Suszko introduced a broad class of languages into the literature of logic. In honour of Wittgenstein Suszko named these languages W-languages. Syntax, semantics and consequence operations in these languages are based on the famous ontological principle: whatever exists is either a situation, or an object, or a function. The distinguishing property of W-languages is that they contain sentential and nominal variables, identity connectives and identity predicates. The intended interpretation of W-languages is such that sentential variables range over the universum of situations, nominal variables range over the universum of objects. All other symbols in these languages except sentential and nominal variables are interpreted as symbols of some functions both defined over the universum of situations and the universum of objects. Identity connectives correspond to identity relations between situations, and identity predicates correspond to identity relations between objects. It is obvious that the ordinary predicate calculus with identity is a part W-language excluding sentential variables, but the most often used sentential languages are the part of W-languages without nominal variables and identity predicates. In this paper, I will discuss only W-languages containing sentential variables, connectives and possibly quantifiers binding sentential variables." p. 195

  4. ———. 1982. "Basic Intuitions of Non-Fregean Logic." Bulletin of the Section of Logic no. 11:40-47.

  5. ———. 1989. "Non-Fregean Logic and Ontology of Situations." Ruch Filozoficzny no. 47:27-30.

  6. ———. 1990. "The Principles of Non-Fregean Semantics for Sentences." Journal of Symbolic Logic no. 55:422-423.

  7. ———. 1994. "Non-Fregean Semantics for Sentences." In Philosophical Logic in Poland, edited by Wolenski, Jan, 153-165. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.

    "In this paper I intend to present the general and formal principles of non-Fregean semantics for sentences and to derive the simplest consequences of these principles. The semantic principles constitue foundation of non-Fregean sentential calculus and its formal semantics and the philosophical interpretations of it. Non-Fregean sentential calculus is the basic part of non-Fregean logic. Non-Fregean logic is a generalization of classical logic. It was conceived by Roman Suszko under the influence of Wittgensteinian's Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. The term "non-Fregean" indicates that the set of semantic correlate of sentences need not contain of just two elements, as it assumed by Frege in Über Sinn und Bedeuting (1892). Frege accepted the following semantic principle:

    (A.F.) all true sentences have the same common referent, and similarly all false sentences also have the one common referent.

    J. Lukasiewicz interpreted the common referent of true sentences as "Being" and analogically the common referent of all false sentences as "Unbeing". Suszko called the principle (A.F) the "semantical version of the Frege an axiom".

    In Abolition of the Frgean Axiom (1975) Suszko wrote: "If one accepts the Fregean Axiom then one is compelled to be an absolute monist in the sense that there exists only one and necessary fact".

    According to Suszko (A. F.) has a counterpart in the language of classical logic which is a formula asserting that the universe of sentential variables is a two-element set. This formula is not expressed that fact in the language of non-Fregean logic.

    In SCI and modal systems (1972) Suszko presents the properties of his logic as follows: "... nonFregean logic is the realization of the Fregean program in pure logic, logically bi-valent and extensional with two modifications: (1) keep formulas (sentences) and termes (names) as disjoint syntactic categories, having sense and denotations,as well, and (2) drop the desperate assumption that all true or false senetences have the same denotation (not sense that is proposition)"." pp. 153-154.

  8. ———. 1996. "A Formal Ontology of Situations." In Formal Ontology, edited by Poli, Roberto and Simons, Peter M., 173-187. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.

    "The theoretical foundation for this paper is the system of a non-Fregean logic created by Roman Suszko under the influence of Wittgenstein's Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. In fact, we use just a fragment of it called here a non-Fregean sentential logic.

    Our basic term is that of a 'situation'. We do not answer the question what situations are. We simply assume that sentences present situations, and we provide a criterion determining when two sentences of some fixed language present the same situation.

    The lay-out of this paper is the following. First we set out certain philosophical consequences of the assumption adopted in classical logic that the only connectives of the language in question are the truth-functional ones. Then we sketch out briefly the axiomatics of non-Fregean sentential logic, and of a formal semantics of the algebraic type for it.

    Next, for an arbitrary model for a non-Fregean sentential logic, we pick out from the formulae true in that model a theory to be called the 'ontology of situations determined by the model in question' - in contradistinction to all sentences holding contingently in that model, i.e. not determined by its algebra. In the ontology of situations determined by a model we point out those propositions which pertain to possible worlds." p. 173

    Philosophical Interpretations of non-Fregean Sentential Logic

    According to the principles of non-Fregean semantics as presented in Omyla 1975, all sentences of an interpreted language have their references. However, not in every such language are we in a position to put forward universal and existential theorems with regard to the structure of the universe of those references. To be in such position the language in question must contain as its sublanguage the language of non-Fregean sentential logic, or at least a significant part of it. As we are not interested here in the universe of any particular language, but only in that of a quite arbitrary one, let us consider now some philosophical aspects of arbitrary models of that kind. Let M = (U, F) be such a model. The elements of the universe of U do not generally answer to the intuitions we have about the reference of sentences, and about situations in particular. However, the algebraic structure imposed on U by the theory TR(M) is the same as that of a possible universe of situations, with regard to the operations corresponding to logical constants. Moreover, the set F has the formal properties of a possible (or 'admissible') set of situations obtaining in that universe. This is so because sentential variables are at the same time sentential formulae, and because the logical constants get in the model M their intended interpretation. Thus for any model M = (U, F) its algebra U is a formal representation of some universe of situations, and the set F is a formal representation of some admissible set of facts obtaining in some universe of situations. Not all the generalized SCI-algebras represent some algebra of situations; for not all of them contain a set F representing the facts, i.e. such that the couple (U, F) is a model. This depends on how the operations in the algebra U are defined. For the sake of simplicity the algebra of any model M = (U, F) for the language of a non-Fregean sentential logic will be called the algebra of situations occurring in the model M, and the designated set F will be called the set of facts obtaining in M. Such a terminology is appropriate here for we are interested only in the formal properties of those universe of situations which in view of our semantic principles find expression in the logical syntax of the language in question, and in consequence operation holding in it. By the completeness theorem for non-Fregean logic it follows that for any consistent theory T in L there is a model M such that T e TR(M). Hence any theory in the language of non-Fregean sentential logic will be called a theory of situations.

    The term 'ontology of situations' we take over from the title of Wolniewicz 1985 [ Ontologia sytuacji: Ontology of situations in Polish], but we understand it a bit differently. By an ontology of situations we mean a theory describing the necessary facts of universe of situations fixed beforehand. I.e. an ontology of situations is a set of formulae holding in some fixed universe of situations, independently of which situations there are facts. To be more accurate, by an ontology of situations we mean a set of formulae with the following three properties:

    ( 1) An ontology of situations is a theory having in its vocabulary just one kind of variable - e. the sentential one. Under the intended interpretation they range over a universe of situations. (Like in modem set theory there are variables of just one kind, i.e. those ranging over sets.)

    (2) An ontology of situations is formulated in a language containing logical symbols only, i. e. logical constants and variables. To justify that postulate let us note that such a basic theory should not presuppose any other terminology except the logical one. At most it might adopt some specific ontological terms as primitive, characterizing them axiomatically. However, we shall deal here only with such ontologies of situations which are expressed exclusively in logical terms." pp. 180-181.

  9. ———. 2003. "Possible Worlds in the Language of Non-Fregean Logic." Studies in Logic, Grammar and Rhetoric no. 6:7-15.

    "The term "possible world" is used usually in the metalanguage of modal logic, and it is applied to the interpretation of modal connectives. Surprisingly, as it has been shown in Suszko Ontology in the Tractatus L. Wittgenstein (1968) certain versions of that notion can be defined in the language of non-Fregean logic exclusively, by means of sentential variables and logical constants. This is so, because some of the non-Fregean theories contain theories of modality, as shown in Suszko Identity Connective and Modality (1971).

    Intuitively, possible worlds are maximal (with respect to an order of situations) and consistent situations, while the real world may be understand as a situation, which is a possible world and the fact.

    Non-Fregean theories are theories based on the non-Fregean logic. Non-Fregean logic is the logical calculus created by Polish logician Roman Suszko in the sixties. The idea of that calculus was conceived under the influence of Wittgenstein's Tractatus. According to Wittgenstein, declarative sentences of any language describe situations."

Terence Parsons

  1. Parsons, Terence. 1979. "The Methodology of Nonexistence." Journal of Philosophy no. 76:649-662.

  2. ———. 1980. Nonexistent Objects. New Haven: Yale University Press.

  3. ———. 1982. "Fregean Theories of Fictional Objects." Topoi.An International Journal of Philosophy no. 1:81-86.

  4. ———. 1987. "Entities without Identity." Philosophical Perspectives no. 1:1-19.

  5. ———. 1996. "What Is an Argument." Journal of Philosophy no. 93:164-185.

  6. ———. 2000. Indeterminate Identity. Metaphysics and Semantics. New York: Oxford University Press.

Jacek Pasniczek

  1. Pasniczek, Jacek. 1992. "The Meinongian Logic Vs. The Classical Logic." In Theories of Objects: Meinong and Twardowski, edited by Pasniczek, Jacek, 105-112. Lublin: Wydawnictvo Uniwersytetu Marii Curie-Sklodoskiej.

  2. ———. 1993. "The Simplest Meinongian Logic." Logique et Analyse no. 143-144:329-342.

    "The Meinongian logic is a logic which accommodates main principles of Meinong's theory of objects. This principles give rise to a very extensive ontology which contains various kind of nonexistent entities (e.g., incomplete and impossible ones). In the paper quite a simple Meinongian logic is developed. This logic has the following features: 1) it is extensional, 2) it differs slightly from the classical first-order logic, 3) it is a first-order system, 4) it is closer to the natural language than classical logic, 5) it is much more simple than Meinongian systems created by T. Parsons and E. Zalta."

  3. ———. 1994. "Ways of Reference to Meinongian Objects. Ontological Commitment of Meinongian Theories." Logic and Logical Philosophy no. 2:69-86.

  4. ———. 1996. "Lesniewski's Ontology Vs. Meinongian Ontology (toward a Meinongian Calculus of Names)." Axiomathes:279-286.

  5. ———. 1997. The Logic of Intentional Objects. A Meinongian Version of Classical Logic. Dordrecht: Kluwer.

Lorenzo Peña

  1. Peña, Lorenzo. 1985. El Ente Y Su Ser. Lèon: Universidad de Léon.

  2. ———. 1987. Fundamentos De Ontología Dialectíca. Madrid: Siglo XXI.

  3. ———. 1993. Introducción a Las Lógicas No Clásicas. México: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.

Jean Petitot

  1. Petitot, Jean. 1985. Morphogenèse Du Sens. Pour Un Schématisme De La Structure. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France.

    English translation by Franson Manjali - Morphogenesis of meaning - Bern, Peter Lang, 2003

  2. ———. 1999. Naturalizing Phenomenology. Issues in Contemporary Phenomenology and Cognitive Science. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Alvin Plantinga

  1. Plantinga, Alvin. 1974. The Nature of Necessity. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

  2. ———. 1979. "De Essentia." Grazer Philosophische Studien (7-8):101-121.

  3. ———. 1987. "Two Concepts of Modality: Modal Realism and Modal Reductionism." Philosophical Perspectives no. 1:189-231.

  4. ———. 1988. "Positive Epistemic Status and Proper Functions." Philosophical Perspectives no. 2:1-50.

  5. ———. 2003. Essays in the Metaphysics of Modality. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Studies on His Work

  1. Adams, Robert Merrihew. 1977. "Critical Study: The Nature of Necessity (A. Plantinga)." Noûs no. 11:175-191.

  2. Tomberlin, James E., and Inwagen, Peter van, eds. 1985. Alvin Plantinga. Dordrecht: Reidel.

Roberto Poli

  1. Poli, Roberto. 1992. Ontologia Formale. Padova: Marietti.

  2. Poli, Roberto, Healy, Michael, and Kameas, Achilles, eds. 2010. Theory and Applications of Ontology. Vol. 2: Computer Applications. New York: Springer.

  3. Poli, Roberto, and Simons, Peter M., eds. 1992. Formal Ontology. Dordrecht: Kluwer.

  4. Poli, Roberto, and Steibt, Johanna, eds. 2010. Theory and Applications of Ontology. Vol. 1: Philosophical Perspectives. New York: Springer.

Graham Priest

  1. Priest, Graham. 1987. In Contradiction. A Study of the Transconsistent. Dordrecht: Kluwer.

    Expanded edition: Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2006.

  2. ———. 1995. Beyond the Limits of Thought. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

    Second expanded edition 2002.

  3. ———. 2005. Towards Non-Being. The Logic and Metaphysics of Intentionality. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Hilary Putnam

  1. Putnam, Hilary. 1987. The Many Faces of Realism. La Salle: Open Court.

  2. ———. 1992. Renewing Philosophy. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.