The Distinction and Relationship between Ontology and Epistemology

Does It Matter?

  • Sarita-Louise Kant University of South Africa
Keywords: epistemology, category mistake, fallacy, ontology, solipsism

Abstract

In the social sciences, a distinction is generally drawn between ontology and epistemology, usually accompanied by the assumption that some relationship exists between ontology and epistemology. In this regard several issues arise. Whereas there seems to be general agreement on the meaning of the concepts ‘ontology’ and ‘epistemology’, there seems to be no agreement on what can be classified as ontological or epistemological. The distinction and particularly the relationship between ontology and epistemology is furthermore regarded by some scholars as problematic and contested. The aim is to examine the distinction and the presumed nature of this relationship in order to establish why it is contested. It is extremely important to take cognisance of the possibility of fallacious reasoning concerning the distinction and the relationship between ontology and epistemology, as the failure to do so may have serious consequences for the integrity and validity of research projects in the social sciences. Lastly, it is also relevant to determine whether the distinction and the presumed relationship between ontology and epistemology are important for the scientific enterprise.

Author Biography

Sarita-Louise Kant, University of South Africa

Sarita-Louise Kant of Pretoria received her Bachelor of Arts degree in the Humanities (Politics) at the University of South Africa in 1979. In 1989, she obtained a Master of Arts degree at the University of South Africa. The dissertation was entitled ‘Ayn Rand’s contribution to political thought. An evaluation’. The dissertation was passed ‘cum laude’. She obtained her doctorate (D Litt et Phil) in 2010 at the University of South Africa. The thesis was entitled ‘A critical and systematic analysis of the democratic values of freedom and equality’. Fields of interest include issues in the philosophy of science and political philosophy.

Published
2014-09-01
How to Cite
Kant, S.-L. (2014). The Distinction and Relationship between Ontology and Epistemology: Does It Matter?. Politikon: The IAPSS Journal of Political Science, 24, 68-85. https://doi.org/10.22151/politikon.24.4
Section
Articles