Ontological reflexivity is consistently posited as an important part of being a political scientist, yet the relevant literature has been criticised for being both complex and confused. In this context, the article has three aims: to clarify the purpose of ontology in the discipline; to highlight how ontological assumptions cannot be separated from other factors; and to show the relevance of ontological reflexivity. While the extant literature implies that such assumptions emerge from philosophical reflection, this article shows how epistemological decisions, mundane interests and political orientation can be just as important. Consequently, the original aims of the literature can be reinstated.