Difference Between Ontology and Epistemology

Epistemology and Ontology are two different branches of Philosophy, which, although they may share certain similarities, should not be confused; since they have different objects of study. Both are theoretical in nature and move people to think beyond what they already know, hence with considerable frequency people confuse them, ignoring that they are different fields of study.

If you have doubts about the difference between Epistemology and Ontology or are simply looking for a little more information to complement what you already know, then continue reading, because below we explain everything you need and want to know on this interesting topic.

EPISTEMOLOGY Difference Between Ontology and Epistemology

As we have already mentioned, Epistemology is a subfield or branch of Philosophy. This term derives from the ancient Greek word ‘epistēmē’, which means “knowledge”; combined with the suffix ‘logos’, which translates to ‘logical discourse’ or ‘study of’. Therefore, as a field of study, Epistemology is that which has knowledge as its main object.

It is responsible for working with theories of knowledge and its purpose is to try to discover and understand what constitutes knowledge and where it derives from.

There are no correct or incorrect answers for all the questions generated around this topic, for this reason, in modern times this branch has increasingly focused on studying all the postulates of the different theories in order to extract the best of each one. .

In Epistemology, the debate between Empiricism and Rationalism is usually presented . The first affirms that knowledge derives from experience, while the second maintains that it is acquired through reason.


On the other hand, Ontology is a subject of Metaphysics, which is another branch of Philosophy. Metaphysics is responsible for studying the essence of things and seeks to answer questions such as What is reality? What is existence? as well as seeking to understand space-time, objects and their properties, cause-effect and possibilities.

As a sub-branch of Metaphysics, Ontology works specifically with the nature of being; that is, how the being comes to be what it is, its existence and its reality.

The term Ontology comes from the Greek «onto», which means to be and the suffix «logos»; whose meaning has already been explained above. According to its etymology, this word can be translated exactly as “study of being.”

Finally, with the purpose of being able to easily differentiate between these two branches of Philosophy, it can be said that Ontology works with the nature of reality (because being is all that exists or can be thought of); while Epistemology is responsible for analyzing the relationship between the entity and its reality (that is, how it apprehends it).

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