What is/are the best introduction(s) of analytic ontology? I know about a book written by Edmund Runggaldier ‎and Christian Kanzian but still I don't have it.

I would like to read clear, simple written book(s), which doesn't go to much into the details, for now.

What is your advice?

  • Are you just interested in ontology, narrowly construed (such as, answers to the question 'what exists?'), or are you interested in the rest of metaphysics as well (they all have something to do with existence questions, but it is a little broader).
    – Lukas
    Nov 24, 2015 at 9:29
  • I am interested also in metaphysics, actually Nov 24, 2015 at 17:32

4 Answers 4


I personally enjoyed Theodore Sider's and Earl Conee's 'Riddles of Existence: A Guided Tour of Metaphysics'.

Here is the table of contents:

  1. Introduction

  2. Personal Identity

  3. Fatalism

  4. Time

  5. God

  6. Why Not Nothing?

  7. Free Will and Determinism

  8. Constitution

  9. Universals

  10. Possibility and Necessity

  11. What is Metaphysics

And here you can read the Introduction (on Sider's Homepage), which includes short abstracts for each chapter.


Ontology made easy - Amie Thomasson: It is considered a great book and a friendly guide to ontology. An important issue treated in it is related to the quantifier approach of ontology.


If you can read German I recommend

Meixner, Uwe: Einführung in die Ontologie


The book start simple but advances soon. It is considered a textbook.

  • Unfortunately, I do not read German. Thanks for your advice, anyway! Nov 23, 2015 at 21:17

I wholeheartedly recommend Ontology and Metaontology: A Contemporary Guide (2015) by Francesco Berto and Matteo Plebani. It's hot off the press!

Full disclosure: I know the author well.

  • The pros: It written very clearly.
  • The cons: It goes into some detail.

The blurb gives a sense of the content and the intended audience:

Ontology and Metaontology: A Contemporary Guide is a clear and accessible survey of ontology, focusing on the most recent trends in the discipline.

Divided into parts, the first half characterizes metaontology: the discourse on the methodology of ontological inquiry, covering the main concepts, tools, and methods of the discipline, exploring the notions of being and existence, ontological commitment, paraphrase strategies, fictionalist strategies, and other metaontological questions. The second half considers a series of case studies, introducing and familiarizing the reader with concrete examples of the latest research in the field. The basic sub-fields of ontology are covered here via an accessible and captivating exposition: events, properties, universals, abstract objects, possible worlds, material beings, mereology, fictional objects.

The guide's modular structure allows for a flexible approach to the subject, making it suitable for both undergraduates and postgraduates looking to better understand and apply the exciting developments and debates taking place in ontology today.

Here's the index:

  • Introduction: What Is Ontology? What Is Metaontology?
  • Part I: Quinean Metaontology
    1. On Denoting
    2. 1948: On What There Is
    3. The Standard View
  • Part II: Alternative Metaontologies
    1. Ontological Pluralism and Neo-Fregeanism
    2. Carnap's View of Ontology and Neo-Carnapians
    3. Fictionalism
    4. Meinongianism
    5. The Grounding Approach
  • Part III: Ontology
    1. Abstract Objects I: Numbers & Co.
    2. Abstract Objects II: Linguistic Types, Propositions, and Values
    3. Possible Worlds
    4. Material Objects
    5. Fictional Objects
    6. Beyond Particulars: Properties and Events

You can find a review over at NDPR.

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