a1 The Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies
The term “ontology”, as is well enough known, is of seventeenth-century vintage. According to current research, it first appears in the year 1613. By the end of the century it had waxed firm in common recognition. Through the influence of Christian Wolff in the following century, the eighteenth, it quickly became standard in the school tradition for the science of being in general, the science of being qua being. In its morphology the term showed clearly enough that it was meant to designate a science that bore upon being in the widest range of the notion. In that tenor it was described at the time as metaphysica de ente, philosophia de ente, doctrina de ente, or entis scientia, in the sense that “being” denoted its proper subject matter (objectum proprium) more correctly than did “metaphysics”.' Accordingly, it was intended to imply that “being”, tout court, was to be regarded as the object of a philosophical science quite as “soul”, for instance, played the role of object for psychology.