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A Critical Assessment of the Bunge-Wand-Weber Ontology for Conceptual Modeling


Gove N. Allen


Tulane University - A.B. Freeman School of Business

Salvatore T. March


Vanderbilt University - Strategy and Business Economics


16th Annual Workshop on Information Technolgies & Systems (WITS) Paper

Abstract:     
The most influential work in the application of ontology to conceptual modeling is that of Wand and Weber (1990, 1995) who used the ontology posed by Mario Bunge (1977). However, Bunge's ontology is concerned with representing the material world - the world of material objects that possess physical properties existing independently from human perception. It has no place for human intentions, interpretations, creations, or meaning. It is unconcerned about institutional reality - the world of conceptual objects and attributes created by human intentions and for human purposes. Examples of such conceptual objects are corporations, government agencies, money, educational institutions, contracts, and transactions. None of these are material objects about which Bunge's ontology is concerned yet they are at the core of what business organizations are. Lacking constructs for such objects, Bunge's ontology is an inappropriate foundation for conceptual modeling in the context of organizational information systems.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 6

Keywords: conceptual modeling, ontology, concrete object, conceptual object

JEL Classification: M10, M19, M49

working papers series


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Date posted: June 28, 2007 ; Last revised: November 23, 2012

Suggested Citation

Allen, Gove N. and March, Salvatore T., A Critical Assessment of the Bunge-Wand-Weber Ontology for Conceptual Modeling. 16th Annual Workshop on Information Technolgies & Systems (WITS) Paper. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=951803 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.951803

Contact Information

Gove N. Allen (Contact Author)
Tulane University - A.B. Freeman School of Business ( email )
7 McAlister Drive
New Orleans, LA 70118
United States
HOME PAGE: http://gove.net/
Salvatore T. March
Vanderbilt University - Strategy and Business Economics ( email )
Nashville, TN 37203
United States
615-322-7043 (Phone)

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