First and second order ontologies

Maybe there is a way we use a notion like this. Say there is smoke and in a society nobody actually has anything to say what it is as such. It’s just smoke, it’s indexically linked to fire and someone might give a definition using this kind of indexical manner ‘it comes with fire’ and that’s it. Then we have only a first order ontology. If we say ‘what is smoke?’ and we answer ‘the spirit of the thing that is burnt released into its purest form’ then we have a second order ontology. It does not only take that thing as existent( indeed kind of the point is that there is no object in this ontology but still the correlation of use and phenomenon begins to suggest it), it tells you what it is with recourse to a theoretical framework. Both are accretive, but differently so. The former accretes the word to the phenomena (and hence to other indexically related phenomena), the latter accretes to the framework designation and reifies the phenomenon into a thing defined by certain constraints. Of course herein lies part of the problem, for the definition can never be sure that it is complete, though it may appear as such.Is smoke is ‘a visible suspension of carbon or other particles in air, typically one emitted from a burning substance’  more true than ‘a spirit of the thing burned’?

 

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