Grazer Philosophische Studien

Volume 6, 1978

Barry Smith
Pages 39-62

An Essay in Formal Ontology

As conceived by analytic philosophers ontology consists in the application of the methods of mathematical logic to the analysis of ontological discourse. As conceived by realist philosophers such as Meinong and the early Husserl, Reinach and Ingarden, it consists in the investigation of the forms of entities of various types. The suggestion is that formal methods be employed by phenomenological ontologists, and that phenomenological insights may contribute to the construction of adequate formal-ontological languages. The paper sketches an account of what might be involved in this new discipline, an account which is illustrated in application to the formal-ontological problems raised by negative states of affairs.