Phenomenology and ontology are two philosophical concepts that deal with the nature of existence. Phenomenology looks at the structures of consciousness, while ontology deals with the question of what exists. This article will explore these concepts in more detail and see how they differ from each other.
What is Phenomenology?
Phenomenology is a philosophical movement that emerged in the early 20th century. Phenomenologists believe that the key to understanding existence is through our own conscious experience. Phenomenology attempts to describe and understand the structures of consciousness. Phenomenon is the Greek word for “appearance,” so Phenomenology is the study of appearances.
The most famous phenomenologist is Edmund Husserl. In his book The Phenomenology of Internal Time-Consciousness, Husserl argues that our conscious experience is not just a sequence of isolated moments but it has a temporal structure. Our consciousness is always directed towards the past, present, or future. We constantly live in the past because we can never directly experience the present. The Phenomenology of Internal Time-Consciousness was a groundbreaking work in Phenomenology and has influenced many other philosophers such as Martin Heidegger and Jean-Paul Sartre.
What is an Ontology?
Ontology is the study of what exists and how things exist. It includes figuring out what categories things belong in and what exists on the most fundamental level.t is about understanding what things are in the world and how they are related to each other. [Source].
Ontology is the study of what is true for everything that exists; it is known as ontology. [Source]. Aristotle described it as the “first philosophy” in his Metaphysics, Book IV. The term has roots in the Latin term ‘ontologia,’ which means ‘science of being.’ It focuses on studying the existence and how we determine if certain things exist or not, and the classification of existence. Ontology also tries to make the abstract real. As a branch of metaphysics, it is a branch of philosophy that “looks at the very nature of things, their being, cause, or identity” [Source].
Do ontologists believe in a higher power?
Ontologists don’t generally believe in a higher power, as that would require existence beyond our universe, which is unprovable. Instead, they seek to comprehend the nature of existence and what exists at its most basic level.
Difference between Phenomenology and Ontology
The difference between phenomenology and ontology is that ontology is about what things exist, and phenomenology is about experiences. Phenomenology is concerned with humans studying their experiences to make correct life decisions, while ontology seeks to find out the truth behind the existence of questionable things. Ontology can look into abstract things and try to understand if they can become real to our eyes. On the other hand, phenomenology focuses on phenomena, which are things people can observe or see and appreciate. An ontological perspective tends to question the status quo or other held beliefs in society and aims at proving the validity of their existence, while phenomenology believes that the conscious nature of people enables them to interpret things on their own.
Under phenomenology, people can attach meaning to their experiences; thus, there is no universal interpretation of experiences. There is supporting evidence to prove the existence of things and a study of being with ontology.
Another difference is that “phenomenology is (philosophy) a philosophy based on the intuitive experience of phenomena, and on the premise that reality consists of objects and events as consciously perceived by conscious beings” while ontology is “(uncountable|philosophy) the branch of metaphysics that addresses the nature or essential characteristics of being and of things that exist; the study of being qua being” [Source].