Natural Language Ontology

submited by
Style Pass
2024-04-02 16:00:07

Natural language ontology is the study of the ontology (ontological categories, structures, and notions) implicit in natural language. Natural language ontology is part of “descriptive metaphysics” to use Strawson’s term (1959), as opposed to what Fine (2017a) calls “foundational metaphysics”, metaphysics whose interest is in what there ultimately is. Natural language ontology is a sub-discipline of both philosophy and linguistics, more specifically, of metaphysics and natural language semantics. It was recognized as a separate field of study relatively recently, through the development of natural language semantics over the last decades. At the same time, natural language ontology can be considered a practice that philosophers have engaged in throughout the history of philosophy when drawing on language in support of a metaphysical argument or notion. The ontology of natural language is to be distinguished from the ontology a speaker accepts on the basis of philosophical or naïve reflection or reasoning using language, as well as from the ontology that is reflected in cognition in general. The ontology of a natural language is thus best characterized as the ontology competent speakers implicitly accept by way of using the language.

The subject matter of natural language ontology is the ontology implicit in natural language, which is to be distinguished from the ontologies of the various metaphysical theories or naïve philosophical views formulated by using natural language. Natural language ontology has as its task to uncover the ontology that is reflected in relevant sorts of linguistic intuitions, setting aside the question whether that ontology is real or merely apparent.

Leave a Comment