Ontology, Kinds Of Existence
In the article, "Ontology Introduction," the three corollaries to the axiom of identity were used to explain exactly what an entity is ontologically and what an existent's identity is epistemologically. From metaphysics it is known, not all existents are material entities. Everything exists, but everything does not exist in the same way. Rocks, rivers, mountains, rain, sunlight, and animals all exist materially. Ideas, fiction, science, language, mathematics, and history exist epistemologically, but not physically, because they only exist in human consciousness and as the creations of the human mind.
Ontological (material) existence and epistemological (psychological) existence are the two fundamental categories of existence and everything that exists must be one, and only one, of those kinds of existents.
Both ontological existence and epistemological existence include sub-categories of existence. The sub-categories of epistemological existents are identified by the different kinds of possible concepts that identify them, such as the following:
1. Material (or ontological) versus epistemological.
2. Particular versus universal.
3. Intrinsic versus extrinsic.
4. Analytic versus synthetic
5. Complex (anthropological) concepts
6. Concepts for categories, existents, qualities, actions, and relationships
[See "Epistemology, Concepts."]
The sub-categories of Ontological existents include the following:
1. Entities, non-contingent
2. Physical qualities, events, and relationships
3. Life qualities, behavior, and relationships (non-physical)
4. Entities and events contingent on organisms
5. Entities and events contingent on human beings
Entities are material existents that exist independently of anyone's knowledge or consciousness of them, have the nature they have, and are not contingent on anything else for their existence or nature. They are the subject of all the physical sciences and include all physical entities, living organisms, conscious organisms, and human beings.
[NOTE: All past events, and all past or currently existing entities are what they are and could not have been anything else, including those things that are dependent for their existence on living organisms and human action. Once an event has occurred and once an entity exists, it is what it is and could never have been anything else. See "Entities and events contingent on organisms," and "Entities and events contingent on human beings," below.]
Physical qualities, events, and relationships
Qualities, behavior, and relationships exist materially but only as the qualities of entities, the behavior of entities, or the relationships between entities and otherwise have no existence independent of the entities they are the qualities of, behavior of, or relationships between.
Life qualities, behavior, and relationships (non-physical)
Life, consciousness, and human minds are qualities (or attributes) of physical entities called organisms. These qualities are material qualities, because they exist independently of anyone's consciousness or awareness of them, but they are not physical attributes and do not exist independently of the organisms they are the life, consciousness, or minds of.
[See the articles: "The Nature Of Life," "The Nature Of Consciousness," and "The Nature Of Mind."]
Entities and events contingent on organisms
Every physical existent or event that is the product or result of the existence or behavior of organisms are material existents with material attributes and are contingent on living organisms for their existence. They include such things as jungles, woods, spore, bird's nests, burrows, fur, leather, feathers, food, and many organic substances.
Entities and events contingent on human beings
Every physical existent or event that is the product or result of the existence or behavior of human beings are material existents with material attributes and are contingent on human beings for their existence. They include all tools, buildings, machines, packaged material, food, drink, all medicine, plastics, fuels, and all other products of human invention, design, development, and creation.
[NOTE: Epistemological (psychological) existents are all contingent on and are created by the human mind and include: all knowledge and knowledge methods, (language, mathematics, logic), science, technology, geography, history, literature, religion, and philosophy. None of these exist independently of human minds. If there were no human beings, none of these would exist.]
Knowledge Of Kinds Of Existents
Knowledge of all material existents, with the exception of entities and events contingent on human beings, must be discovered by studying material existents themselves or learned from the works of others who have made such studies.
Knowledge of all epistemological existents must be learned from the works or teachings of others or created.
Knowledge of entities and events contingent on human beings can be learned from the teaching and works of others, by studying the actual artifacts of human activity, or created.