Basic Formal Ontology

The upper level ontology upon which OBO Foundry ontologies are built.

Ontology info

Ontology id: bfo
Version: 23-03-2016
Number of terms: 35
Last loaded: Wed Mar 23 13:35:08 GMT 2016

editor note

BFO 2 Reference: BFO does not claim to be a complete coverage of all entities. It seeks only to provide coverage of those entities studied by empirical science together with those entities which affect or are involved in human activities such as data processing and planning – coverage that is sufficiently broad to provide assistance to those engaged in building domain ontologies for purposes of data annotation [17

BFO 2 Reference: For both terms and relational expressions in BFO, we distinguish between primitive and defined. ‘Entity’ is an example of one such primitive term. Primitive terms in a highest-level ontology such as BFO are terms that are so basic to our understanding of reality that there is no way of defining them in a non-circular fashion. For these, therefore, we can provide only elucidations, supplemented by examples and by axioms.

BFO 2 Reference: BFO’s treatment of continuants and occurrents – as also its treatment of regions, rests on a dichotomy between space and time, and on the view that there are two perspectives on reality – earlier called the ‘SNAP’ and ‘SPAN’ perspectives, both of which are essential to the non-reductionist representation of reality as we understand it from the best available science [30






Leonard Jacuzzo

Bill Duncan

Barry Smith

Albert Goldfain

Stefan Schulz

Werner Ceusters

Thomas Bittner

Yongqun "Oliver" He

Randall Dipert

Melanie Courtot

James A. Overton

Ron Rudnicki

Janna Hastings

Fabian Neuhaus

Chris Mungall

Mathias Brochhausen

Jonathan Bona

David Osumi-Sutherland

Bjoern Peters

Pierre Grenon

Robert Rovetto

Jie Zheng

Larry Hunter

Alan Ruttenberg

Ludger Jansen

Mauricio Almeida

Mark Ressler


The http://purl.obolibary.org/obo/bfo/classes-only.owl variant of BFO ("bfo_classes_only.owl") includes only the class hierarchy and annotations from the full OWL version of BFO 2: http://purl.obolibary.org/obo/bfo.owl ("bfo.owl"). There are no object properties or logical axioms that use the object properties in bfo_classes_only.owl. As the logical axioms in the bfo_classes_only.owl variant are limited to subclass and disjoint assertions they are much weaker than the logical axioms in bfo.owl. If you plan to use the relations that define BFO 2, you should import bfo.owl instead of bfo_classes_only.owl. To the extent that the relations are used without importing bfo.owl, be mindful that they should be used in a manner consistent with their use in bfo.owl. Otherwise if your ontology is imported by a another ontology that imports bfo.owl there may be inconsistencies. See the BFO 2 release notes for further information about BFO 2. Please note that the current release of bfo.owl uses temporal relations when the subject or object is a continuant, a major change from BFO 1.

This is an early version of BFO version 2 and has not yet been extensively reviewed by the project team members. Please see the project site http://code.google.com/p/bfo/ , the bfo2 owl discussion group http://groups.google.com/group/bfo-owl-devel , the bfo2 discussion group http://groups.google.com/group/bfo-devel, the tracking google doc http://goo.gl/IlrEE, and the current version of the bfo2 reference http://purl.obolibrary.org/obo/bfo/dev/bfo2-reference.docx . This ontology is generated from a specification at http://bfo.googlecode.com/svn/trunk/src/ontology/owl-group/specification/ and with the code that generates the OWL version in http://bfo.googlecode.com/svn/trunk/src/tools/. A very early version of BFO version 2 in CLIF is at http://purl.obolibrary.org/obo/bfo/dev/bfo.clif