The Laboratory for Ontology is a research centre of the Department of Philosophy, University of Torino directed by Maurizio Ferraris. The members of LabOnt are PhD Students and young Researchers in philosophy, with different specializations, ranging from metaphysics, philosophy of language, aesthetics, philosophy of the cognitive sciences, ethics, and philosophy of arts. Maurizio Ferraris founded the Laboratory in 1999, he organizes the activities of the Laboratory and the training of young researchers, and works directly to improve and develop the research line devoted to social ontology. Under his tutorship, many young researchers have developed their specific skills in cooperation and been able to achieve many important results – both in terms of publication, services to the professions and teaching.
The general research field of LabOnt is ontology, namely the philosophical discipline that aims at providing a theory of what exists. Ontology, along with metaphysics at large, has lately returned to playing a central role in philosophy. This is probably because ontology has been attentive towards the empirical results of the “hard-sciences”, while not being servile towards them. On the contrary, a distinctive trait of contemporary researches in ontology is their explicit and critical approach to the study of the nature of the objects that constitute reality. The latter is understood as an objective background that constrains the lives of human beings, but also yields opportunities to them (such as society, economy, politics, art). Within this domain of problems and research questions, one of the main targets is the philosophical elaboration of theories that can enlarge and enrich, when necessary, the description of reality given by the natural sciences – physics,
biology, but also cognitive psychology.
The activities of LabOnt are connected to this general research trend. In particular, the most recent works of the researchers has focused on the ontology of social objects and the relationships between the ontology of the social and other branches of ontology.