Guest Honor Talk : Conceptual Modeling: Philosophical Reflections

November 7th, 09:00 - 10:00

The underlying philosophies of Conceptual Modeling vary between Critical Realism and Ontological Constructivism and fit into the philosophical panorama: There are distinctions and therefore we make them (Realism) — We make distinctions and therefore they are (Idealism/Constructivism).
The presupposition of dichotomies between language and world, description and object, between what we talk and what we talk about, helps to freeze, dogmatize and fundamentalize the status quo into a “real” world and “its” representations.
Claims of representing the real world remain irrelevant as long as consensus prevails. When conflicts arise, the world and other potential decision criteria in a beyond of discourse stay mute: the criteria fail and the opposing parties get into a stalemate… In a recent conversation the ontologist Barry Smith said on how he would deal with competing ontologies: “I try to win.”
Proposing an alternative philosophy of change requires a shift in the vocabulary and in the direction of discourse: Instead of advocating a dichotomy between a fixed/independent world and privileged representations, a philosophy of change favors relations between so far and from now on. The object of a description relates to the description of the object like the description so far to the description from now on. Every description of the object changes the object into a new object of further descriptions.
Philosophical ontologists try to transcend the “here and now” into the past and future. I opt for transparence rather than transcendence. The world, the reality is nothing but the present state of things.
  • Josef

    Josef Mitterer (born in Westendorf, Austria) studied philosophy and sociology in Innsbruck, Linz and Graz with time spent at the London School of Economics with Imre Lakatos and at the University of California at Berkeley with Paul Feyerabend.
    Since 1990 Mitterer teaches philosophy at the University of Klagenfurt. Guest professor at universities in Austria, Germany and Poland.


    Das Jenseits der Philosophie / The Beyond of Philosophy. 1992, 4th edition 2011.
    Die Flucht aus der Beliebigkeit / The Flight from Contingency. 2001, 4th edition 2011.

    His philosophy is discussed in two special issues of the Journal Constructivist Foundations:
    - The Non-dualizing Philosophy of Josef Mitterer, 2008. Includes (Radical) Constructivism – What Difference Does It Make? by Josef Mitterer.
    - Non-dualism: A Conceptual Revision?, 2013. Includes On Interpretation by Josef Mitterer.

    Josef Mitterer
    Professor of philosophy, Universität Klagenfurt