Ontology deals with questions concerning what things exist, and how such things may be associated according to similarities and differences and related within a hierarchy. Ontology provides a rigorous way to develop a general definition of a mineral species. Properties may be divided into two principal groups: an intrinsic property is characteristic of the object and is independent of anything else; an extrinsic property depends on the relation between the object and other things. A universal is an entity that is common to all objects in a set. Here the objects are mineral samples, each entity is a specific property of these minerals, and the set of objects is all mineral samples of that mineral species. The key intrinsic properties of a mineral species are its name, its end-member formula and Z (the number of formula units in the unit cell), its space group and the bond topology of the end-member structure. These are also universals as they are common to all mineral samples belonging to that mineral species. An archetype is a pure form which embodies the fundamental characteristics of an object. Thus the archetype of a mineral species embodies the above set of universals. Real mineral samples of this mineral species are imperfect copies of that archetype, with a range of chemical composition defined by the boundaries between end-member formulae of this and other end members of the same bond topology. The result is a formal definition of a mineral species: A specific mineral species is the set of imperfect copies of the corresponding archetype and is defined by the following set of universals: name, end-member formula and Z, space group, and bond topology of the end-member structure, with the range of chemical composition limited by the compositional boundaries between end members with the same bond topology.