Basic Formal Ontology

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

The Basic Formal Ontology (BFO) is a formal ontological framework developed by Barry Smith and his associates that consists in a series of sub-ontologies at different levels of granularity.[1] The ontologies are divided into two varieties: continuant (or snapshot) ontologies, comprehending continuant entities such as three-dimensional enduring objects, and occurrent ontologies, comprehending processes conceived as extended through (or as spanning) time. BFO thus incorporates both three-dimensionalist and four-dimensionalist perspectives on reality within a single framework. Interrelations are defined between the two types of ontologies in a way which gives BFO the facility to deal with both static/spatial and dynamic/temporal features of reality. Each continuant ontology is an inventory of all entities existing at a time. Each occurrent ontology is an inventory (processory) of all the processes unfolding through a given interval of time. Both types of ontology serve as basis for a series of sub-ontologies, each of which can be conceived as a window on a certain portion of reality at a given level of granularity.


BFO has been adopted as a foundational ontology by many projects, principally in the areas of biomedical ontology and security and defense (intelligence) ontology.[1] An example application of BFO can be seen in the Ontology for Biomedical Investigations (OBI).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Basic Formal Ontology (BFO) – Home". Retrieved 6 May 2017. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]