Foundations of Information Technology Based on Bunge’s Systemist Philosophy of Reality

Mεtascience: Scientific General Discourse 2:140-181 (2022)
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General ontology is a prominent theoretical foundation for information technology analysis, design, and development. Ontology is a branch of philosophy which studies what exists in reality. A widely used ontology in information systems, especially for conceptual modeling, is the BWW (Bunge–Wand–Weber), which is based on ideas of the philosopher and physicist Mario Bunge, as synthesized by Wand and Weber. The ontology was founded on an early subset of Bunge’s philosophy; however, many of Bunge’s ideas have evolved since then. An important question, therefore, is: do the more recent ideas expressed by Bunge call for a new ontology? In this paper, we conduct an analysis of Bunge’s earlier and more recent works to address this question. We present a new ontology based on Bunge’s later and broader works, which we refer to as Bunge’s Systemist Ontology (BSO). We then compare BSO to the constructs of BWW. The comparison reveals both considerable overlap between BSO and BWW, as well as substantial differences. From this comparison and the initial exposition of BSO, we provide suggestions for further ontology studies and identify research questions that could provide a fruitful agenda for future scholarship in conceptual modeling and other areas of information technology.


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