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Ontology

(i) Part of metaphysics which engages in the study of the nature of existence in general, not with the existence of particular entities. Thus, an ontological enquiry, such as that engaged in by Martin Heidegger in Being and Time, is concerned with “the question of Being,” by which he means the conditions of possibility for the existence of any particular entity.

(ii) Any set of assumptions about the fundamental nature of existence which are presupposed within a theory. For example, the thought of classical liberalism, it has been argued, contains a particular conception of individual subjectivity which conceives of it as comprising a particular set of properties which make it what it is (this is sometimes termed an ontology of the subject).


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