Basic Formal Ontology

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 and different levels of granularity. [1] The ontologies are divided into two varieties: continuing (or snapshot) ontologies, comprehending continuing entities such as three-dimensional enduring objects, and occurrent ontologies, comprehending processes. 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 which BFO provides the facility to deal with both static / spatial and dynamic / temporal features of reality. Each continuing 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 can be used as a basis for a series of sub-ontologies, each of which can be conceived as a part of a granularity.


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

See also

  • Formal ontology
  • Upper ontology


  1. ^ Jump up to:a b“Basic Formal Ontology (BFO) – Home” . . Retrieved 6 May 2017 .

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