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Posted on June 12, 2010 in Computrons

Something reminded me recently of how annoying I find the “information science” definition of ontology. For one thing, there is already a word (taxonomy) for this process of putting everything in order, and furthermore it’s a word that describes an epistemological process, so ontology don’t really enter into it. During my grumbling, however, I remembered that people would abuse “ontology” in a similar way at Hampshire to describe a theorist or philosopher’s overall understanding of the universe. The point of this coinage was basically to avoid attributing a cosmology (which was what people meant when they used the word in this way) to thinkers who were too contemporary for such tomfoolery. This made the whole thing feel a bit whimsical, so now I don’t mind the abuse of language as much.

(Here’s what does still annoy me: in computer terms, “synchronous” and “asynchronous” mean the exact opposite of what they do in real life.)

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One thought on “Vocabulary”

  • missus grae says:

    Maybe the kids at Hampshire were just messing with you. Tauntology. I used to love mispronouncing ‘Ecclesiastes’ in Sunday school.

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