A Detailed Reflexive Glossary of Epistemology, Ontology, and Axiology
A Detailed Reflexive Glossary of Epistemology, Ontology, and Axiology
This is a descriptive glossary of terms used in Epistemology, Ontology, and Axiology. The terms are defined and described fully using a reflexive approach, as the glossary shall reveal. The fields are defined based on existing resources, reference materials, and individual understanding from what has been learnt. Each term has two parts, a formal definition according to accurate dictionaries and original materials, and a description expressing what the terms entail.
Going by the conventional English dictionary, epistemology is defined as the branch of philosophy that deals with the investigation of origin, limits, nature and methods of human knowledge (Oxford Dictionaries, n.d). A much narrower definition expresses epistemology simply as the study of knowledge. Other definitions from the psychology dictionary add justified beliefs into the definition besides knowledge and it is noted as the theory of knowledge in a number of instances. Epistemology is derived from two Greek words “Episteme” which means knowledge, and “Logos” which is an illustrative word referring to the study of something or simply “the study of” These two words combine to bring the basic meaning of epistemology defined in various dictionaries.
The term ontology can be defined simply as the study of nature of existence, being, reality or becoming. It is a branch of philosophy described under metaphysical explanations. The broader definition expresses ontology as a metaphysical science in philosophy that deals with issues of existence, what exists and what can exist (Doctionaries.com, n.d). The term is derived from Greek words “On” which mean being and “logia” which refers to science or study of.
The conventional dictionary defines axiology as the independent study of value, its nature, types and criteria of recognition (Dictionaries.com, n.d). The term is found in most references noted as the theory of value particularly value judgments in ethics. Axiology is derived from two Greek words “Axia” which means value or worth and logos which is the study of something. The philosophical study seeks to describe what entails value and is expressive of two main kinds of value; ethics and aesthetics. Axiology is therefore often seen as a collective term for these two values or as their foundation altogether. Ethics, which is the first type of value, deals with rightness and goodness of individual and social conduct while aesthetics, the other type of value, deals with harmony and beauty.
Besides the three abovementioned terms (epistemology, ontology and axiology), there are other terms that are used to aid understanding and cognition of these fields. They include dialectic, systemization, exoteric, untenable, mysticism, polytheistic, erroneously, extraneous, instrumentalism, and perpetuity. These will be defined in the glossary as follows.
Anthropomorphically – this is an adjective derived from anthropomorphic or anthropomorphism, which describes ascribing the human form or being to something that is not human.
Axiology – Refers to independent study of value, its nature, types and criteria of recognition.
Dialectic – the term dialectic is defined as a method of reasoning or argument exhibited when evaluating two opposing thoughts or ideas for determining the truth.
Epistemology – is the branch of philosophy that deals with the investigation of origin, limits, nature and methods of human knowledge.
Erroneously – refers to an adjective derived from the term error, which means containing mistake, incorrect or wrong.
Exoteric – the term exoteric can be simply expressed as the opposite of esoteric although this definition is quite incomplete. It is knowledge independent from one’s individual thought, often described as that which is out of, rather than from within.
Extraneous – refers to that which is considered irrelevant to the subject topic.
Instrumentalism – this is a school of thought with a conceptual indention that everything derives significance from its value as an instrument.
Mysticism – this is an ancient term that originally meant to conceal or issues that related to concealment. The term has often been expressed in the union with infinite or God thus its common alliance to religious contexts and matters.
Ontology – is the study of nature of existence, being, reality or becoming.
Perpetuity – is derived from the term perpetual, which describes continuity, everlasting or an endurance that is forever.
Polytheistic – polytheism is the worship or pertaining to the belief in more than one god.
Systemization – describes the process of reducing or forming a system.
Untenable – this refers to that which is incapable of attracting defense, whether reasonable, contextual or varied.
Reflective definition of the terms
It describes non-human forms and attributes like a deity being ascribed to resemble human. It is sometimes used synonymously with personification.
The term is found in most references noted as the theory of value particularly value judgments in ethics. Axiology can cover two broad outlooks that include;
- A significance based on the substantial considerable expansion it provides for the term value, and
- A significance based on the substantial considerable unification it provides for study of various questions that have often been isolated during consideration.
These categories cover the economical, moral and aesthetical aspects in addition to logical explanations (Chatzistavrakidis, Erfani, & Niles, 20I2). An example of axiology at work is in the pondering of what values shape theory making.
This term originates from ancient Greek and involves discussions guided by reasoning. Dialectic is also sometimes referred to as an argument method of resolving disagreements.
We use the term to describe a broad field that is more than just knowledge study. As a branch of psychology, the term deals with answering a couple of questions that include;
- What are the sufficient conditions describing knowledge?
- What are the necessary conditions describing knowledge?
- What are the origins and sources of knowledge?
- What structure does knowledge takes?
- What are the limits of knowledge?
However, epistemology also covers how to understand justification, by understanding what qualifies justified beliefs to be seen as justified. Additionally, epistemology answers whether justification is internal or external to an individual’s mind. Furthermore, it deals with the various issues regarding creation, interpretation, and dissemination of knowledge in a particular field of inquiry. An example of epistemology at work is in the debate between empiricism (knowledge acquisition through experience) and rationalism (knowledge acquisition through reasoning) (Himati-Ataya, 20I4).
Erroneously describes blatant or oversight inclusion of error or straying from what is normal.
Exoteric deals with knowledge that can be interpreted by everyone and is related to common sense. It is public rather than private and relates to external realities.
Extraneous means introduced from without or from that which does not belong, or from that which is not proper to a thing. Also means foreign or non-pertinent.
This doctrine holds that ideas, theories and theses are instruments of actions and shares the same goals as other thoughts like pragmatism and positivism, that usefulness determines truth.
The term has often been expressed in the union with infinite or God thus its common alliance to religious contexts and matters. Mysticism in the modern world includes various distinguishable discourses, practices, experiences, traditions, and even institutions. It houses the contemplative, spiritual and liturgical dimensions that can be associated with extraordinary experiences and state of thought.
This term is all about the existence of something under natural circumstances. It is a branch of philosophy described under metaphysical explanations. To elaborate on the term, you need to consider an approach from two dimensions. Ontology deals with an inquiry of being in as far as “being” and an inquiry into being in as far as their existence. It rouses debate on matters of universals, particulars, accident, abstracts, essence, existence and determinism as well as indeterminism (Mix, 20I4). An example of ontology in action is in the prevailing of nature itself as the fact that proves ultimate ontology. Ontology therefore seeks to answer the following questions:
- What is existence, reality, being or becoming?
- What exists and what can be said to exist?
- What is the meaning of being?
- What is a thing, how are things categorized and what is considered?
- How are entities of existence grouped and how do they relate with others?
- How do entities relate with each other within a hierarchy?
- What are the similarities and differences of existence entities?
Perpetuity is often preceded by “in” to describe the existence of lasting an indefinitely long duration of time.
Polytheistic thus refers to that which pertains to the nature of, or worshiping of many (2 or more) gods. For instance, some communities worship different gods for different purposes. For example, Indians have the god of love, the god of way, the god of harvest among others.
Systemizing is a verb describing the act of forming into different systems. Being systematic sometimes give the impression if doing something in a certain pattern.
Untenable thesis or arguments are those that cannot be defended. In simple terms untenable means that which cannot be maintained or defended in an argument. It also means not capable of being occupied.
Chatzistavrakidis, Erfani, & Niles, H. (20I2). Axiology. Journal of Cosmology, September vol.
Doctionaries.com. (n.d.). Dictionaries and references. Retrieved January I3, 20I5, from Dictionaries.com: http://dictionaries.reference.com/browse/ontology
Himati-Ataya, I. (20I4). Epistemology: idea of political thought. Wiley & Sons.
Mix, L. J. (20I4). Defending definitions of life. Jouranal of ontology and astrobiology.
Oxford Dictionaries (n.d.). Oxford dictionaries. Retrieved January I3, 20I5, from Oxford dictionaries: http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/epistemology/