- experience and evidence based experimental ontology

Science studies and philosophy of science has for some time been hesitant about dealing directly with the ontology of research.

The study of ontology today is either understood in the classical sense as metaphysics - a contemporary theoretical discipline rooted in the traditions of analytic and continental philosophy - or as a field close to computer science dealing with construction of formal knowledge systems, knowledge engineering, etc.

We will take a third approach to ontology: that of combining perspectives from the history and philosophy of science, science studies, and philosophy of nature, to investigate ontologies as they funcion in the practice of present day science and scholarship.

Our approach,
  • taking departure from case studies, is evidence based or data driven;

  • allows also for qualitative kinds of data, and takes various forms of human experience as an addional source of knowledge; and

  • aims at looking critically at alternative ways to construct ontologies and to question ontological presuppositions, and forms a part of rational inquiry, using the standard arsenal of reasoning and experimental techniques;
thus motivates the neologism expontology, combining experience, experimental research and ontology. We aim at pursuing expontology not as a unified investigation into one topic, but going stepwise forward in parallel with specific case studies, that will be compared for meta-analysis as the individual projects proceed.

We work by standard scientific and scholarly methods of inquiry, but we are also open play and alternative forms of exploration, for instance, art, dance, and music focusing on ontology.

Studies of different epistemological and ontological aspects of scientific and scholarly inquiry has for a long time been separated. Perhaps time is ripe for combining the efforts.

(Claus Emmeche, April 29, 2009)

People in the Expontology group at the CPNSS, see staff page here