Categories and foundational ontology: A medieval tutorial

Journal of Knowledge Structures and Systems 3 (1):1-56 (2022)
  Copy   BIBTEX


Foundational ontologies, central constructs in ontological investigations and engineering alike, are based on ontological categories. Firstly proposed by Aristotle as the very ur- elements from which the whole of reality can be derived, they are not easy to identify, let alone partition and/or hierarchize; in particular, the question of their number poses serious challenges. The late medieval philosopher Dietrich of Freiberg wrote around 1286 a tutorial that can help us today with this exceedingly difficult task. In this paper, I discuss ontological categories and their importance for foundational ontologies from both the contemporary perspective and the original Aristotelian viewpoint, I provide the translation from the Latin into English of Dietrich's De origine II with an introductory elaboration, and I extract a foundational ontology–that is in fact a single-category one–from this text rooted in Dietrich's specification of types of subjecthood and his conception of intentionality as causal operation.

Author's Profile

Luis M. Augusto
Independent Scientist


Added to PP

517 (#16,896)

6 months
114 (#6,720)

Historical graph of downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.
How can I increase my downloads?