An example of ontology is when a physicist establishes different categories to divide existing things into in order to better understand those things and how they fit together in the broader world.
Origin of ontology
- First known English use 1663: Archelogia philosophica nova; or, New principles of Philosophy. Containing Philosophy in general, Metaphysicks or Ontology, Dynamilogy or a Discourse of Power, Religio Philosophi or Natural Theology, Physicks or Natural philosophy, by Gideon Harvey (1636/7-1702), London, Thomson, 1663.
- Originally Latin ontologia (1606, Ogdoas Scholastica, by Jacob Lorhard (Lorhardus)), from Ancient Greek ὤν (ōn, “on"), present participle of εἰμί (eimi, “being, existing, essence") + λόγος (logos, “account").
- Popularized as a philosophical term by German philosopher Christian Wolff (1679-1754).