Uppermost Ontology

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Elsewhere I address ontologies as analytic and implementation devices.

In this separate section I provide a personal and philosophical ontology that underlies and informs all the rest of my work.

Elsewhere I talk about systems in much more detail.  The fact is, the concept of system is the foundation of my personal view of the world.  I see systems wherever I look.  And when I think about systems, I always try to remember that systems are always and intrinsically both thing and behavior.  Other ontologies make a big point of separating the concept of thing from the concept of behavior, but my ontological viewpoint says that a system is always both thing and behavior simultaneously.

If everything is system, then that doesn't say much that is useful, because it does not differentiate anything from anything else.  But, given that systems always have the complexity of thing and behavior aspects, this leads to an infinite variety of systems, where everything that needs to be said can be said about the characteristics and distinctions that rise through the interaction of those thing-behavior complexes.

Everything said about a system is said by an observer.  So for my ontology, the omnipresence of an observer is crucial.  And the other key concept at this uppermost level, to me, is purpose.  At this high level it is important to distinguish between purpose as applied to the system being observed, and purpose as applied to the observer. 

The purpose of the system is always a judgment call, but it has to do with the functions the system performs in relation to other systems.  Many systems can be distinguished by the observer that do not appear to have that kind of purpose. 

The other kind of purpose is always present, however.  This is the purpose that the observer brings to the observation of the system.  Why is the observer focusing on this system, when by definition, there is an infinite set of other potential systems that could be observed instead?  That is the purpose, moment by moment, that causes the observer to call out a system from the ambient world, and focus attention on it.