Subject Area: Philosophy: Ontology

A Critique of the Liberal Idea of a Person. The Contradiction Within Equalitarian Ethical Theory
 Campbell, P.G.
2010 0-7734-1394-4 140 pages
This study argues for the essential link between objectivity and personhood. How personhood is understood dramatically affects social formations and how individuals are treated.

Being Awake, Being Asleep, and the Meaning of Being in Heidegger’s thought. The Phenomenological Access to the Ontological Question
 Penoyer, Glenn Sterling
2005 0-7734-6074-8 516 pages
What is the relationship between the phenomena of being asleep and being awake and Heidegger’s formulation of the question of the meaning of Being as presented in Sein und Zeit? Careful and meticulous thought and research must precede even an initial answer to such a question. Two major difficulties stand in the way of anyone who wishes to become involved in such a query. First, the paucity and neglect of both information and research on the phenomena of being asleep and being awake, in general, leaves one bereft of an initial direction(s) to follow, let alone to compare another method of investigation with Heidegger’s own. Second, internal to Heidegger’s own work, there is little reference to the phenomena of being asleep and being awake. Indeed, as will be found, there is direct evidence that shows that a phenomenology of being asleep (and thus indirect evidence of a phenomenology of being awake) has never been done. Consequently, although these two major difficulties present themselves, there must also be a recognition of the rich potential analysis of the phenomena of being asleep and being awake as well as the undoubted acknowledgement of the originality of such research. If our present thesis is seen in this light, we must understand such a thesis is but a prolegomenon to future work. A detailed study must be instigated that will enable us to lay a firm basis from which other Heideggerian texts will be analysed. Such an approach will hopefully also open investigations into other disciplines of thought. More specifically, the present thesis, in attempting to lay such a foundation, not only will endeavour to define the relationship between asleep and being awake with Heidegger’s thought, but also will begin to bring to light major questions with which to confront Heidegger by way of asking whether Heidegger has defined those basic phenomena which go into the making of Dasein’s structural wholeness and overall unity. This will allow us, in future work, to discern if Heidegger had indeed been able to ask the question of the meaning of Being to the degree that he deemed possible.

Conceptual Understanding of Beauty
 Katsenelinboigen, Aron
2003 0-7734-6718-1 368 pages
This book brings a new approach to the category of beauty, defining it as a predisposition to development. Predispositions occur as an isomorphic structure in any disjointed system where ‘time is out of joint’ and where it is possible to create conditions that can influence the unknown future. A predisposition contains as independent variables material and relational components weighted in partly conditional values. This study contributes to the manifold of different approaches to beauty and brings to it some fresh ideas. It introduces a new version of an analytical approach to beauty that allows dissecting the whole in such a way as to make possible its synthesis and the clarification of its meaning.

Consciousness as Feeling: A Theory of the Nature and Function of Consciousness
 Minett, Steve
2019 1-4955-0742-4 624 pages
An ‘Ontological’ Approach: four Ontologies & their Interactions My strategy has been to forge a theory at the level of ontology, speculating as to the ultimate nature of reality and of what it is composed. The argument consists of analysing four historical/scientific ontologies and the transitions between them: the first is ‘Folk Psychology’ that I characterise as an amalgam of, Evolved Psychology and Cartesian Interactive Dualism. The first characterised by sentience, affect and empathy. The second embodies a ‘Command and Control’ model of consciousness. This is part of the second historical/scientific ontology, which I call ‘Cart-Tonism’ (an amalgam of classical, Newtonian physics and mechanistic Cartesianism). Cart-Tonism undermined Folk Psychology, and has became the predominant paradigm of contemporary scientific culture. Cart-Tonist ontology has been profoundly challenged empirically (and potentially philosophically) by the ‘new physics’ and especially quantum mechanics. However, this challenge has been nullified by a ‘failure of ontological nerve’ on the part of the ‘fathers’ of quantum theory, very much influenced by Logical Positivism. I label the most extreme version of this ontological failure, ’Ideological Empiricism’, which can be reduced to two basic principles; 1) Observations are the only reality. 2) Speculation as to what may exist beyond observations is meaningless and futile. I conclude that the current predominance of these two ontologies, Cart-Tonism and Ideological Empiricism, is what underlies the failure of contemporary scientific culture to make progress in formulating a theory of consciousness. The fourth ontology, I’m proposing is ‘Whit-Tum world’. This is a synthesis based on the later philosophical work of Alfred North Whitehead and the philosophical implications of quantum theory. A key feature here is the ‘externalising’ of mind and consciousness by postulating that ‘experience’ (‘sentience’ or ‘feeling’) is the ultimate constituent of reality. Consequently, Whit-Tum world breaks out of the alienating Cart-Tonist cul-de-sac, which has eliminated mind and consciousness from its vision of the world. By linking sensation and affect with ultimate reality, Cart-Tonism’s exclusion of mind and consciousness from nature is reversed at one stroke. This is to say that Whitehead’s ontology undid the alienation of consciousness from the natural world. Thus the continuity of the ‘creation myth’ in human history and culture is re-established. Cart-Tonism is certainly an ontology and even a creation myth. Where it differs from the human tradition of creation myths is that its account of ultimate reality is inherently ‘meaningless’ (in human terms). Traditional ontologies have tried to connect our affective experience of the world with a theory of its nature and composition. Cart-Tonism’s bleak rejection of this link does (I believe) justify describing it as pathological, seen from a humanist perspective. Ideological Empiricism’s breach with the human creation myth tradition is particularly radical, in so far as it explicitly rejects any attempt at ontology formulation. In its dismissal of ‘veiled or independent reality’ (see chapter eleven), it can be compared to Berkeleian Idealism or even to Buddhism. The massive difference being that for both the Buddha and Berkeley, consciousness is explicitly the ultimate reality, whereas Ideological Empiricism denies the existence of consciousness. Consciousness & its Functions in ‘Whit-Tum world’ In Whit-Tum world however, consciousness emerges out of the constituents of which everything is composed; from ‘drops of experience’, or sentience. This ‘experience’ accounts for the bizarre behaviour of the constituents of ‘matter’ as observed in quantum mechanics. This sentience, inherent in the fabric of all reality, provides a ‘raw material’ available to all living things, assisting them in their evolutionary struggle to survive and reproduce. This raw material is used in many different ways and at several distinct levels of sophistication: in single-celled organisms it can be used to generate the ‘cellular attitudes’, as suggested by Antonio Damasio (see chapter fifteen), the basic awareness of ‘what’s happening to me’, as described by Nicholas Humphrey (see chapters thirteen and fifteen), and the features of intelligent behaviour displayed by, for example, amoeba, as demonstrated by Brian Ford (see chapter thirteen). In the complex nervous systems of mammals, the universal raw material of sentience can be processed into an extensive awareness of the environment. And in us (the most complex of all organisms), it is the basis for the vast richness and diversity of full human consciousness. Language and culture evolved out of our primary, emotional consciousness, and has had a transformative effect on the depth and power of our conscious capacities. Of course, we know very little, in terms of the detailed mechanisms as to how the raw material of universal sentience is converted into biologically useful awareness and consciousness. The important thing, however, is to seize on Whitehead’s insights and move our conceptual world out of the ‘dead’, billiard-ball vision of Cart-Ton world, in which mind and consciousness are by definition excluded, and into the psycho-physical ontology of Whit-Tum world, in which both quantum mechanics and mind and consciousness become immediately plausible and potentially comprehensible. As to the function of consciousness, I propose that it’s the principle factor in adapting the the human infant’s mind to its environment. An adaptation that later guides adult behaviour. Before the vast influences of language and culture kick in, the conscious life of an infant consists of sensations and the infant’s affective reactions to these. As per Jaak Panksepp’s work (see chapter sixteen), the infant is genetically endowed to produce seven primordial affective responses to the sensations that it receives from its environment. While this sensitive process makes the infant vulnerable to psychological damage, it’s a marvellously effective system for adapting to the infant’s given environment: it enables the infant’s personality and life-attitudes to be finely adjusted to the conditions it finds itself in, even if these conditions are very sub-optimal (hence the potential for psychological damage). I call this process ‘deep learning’ and, according to my argument, it requires Whitehead’s ontological vision of sentience as basic to the fabric of reality in order to be effective: the infant must be conscious of its sensations of the world and it must be conscious of its affective reactions to these sensations if these potentially life-long adaptations are to be effectively established. Later in life the results of deep learning generally slip into the unconscious, but consciousness is necessary when they are being laid down.

Critique of Naturalistic Philosophies of Mind
 O'Brien, Dan Jayes
2007 0-7734-5266-4 320 pages
This book aims to provide arguments to substantiate that John McDowell’s rejection of an approach to the philosophy of the mind which he, in his Mind and World, termed ‘bald naturalism,’ which is an attempt to construe mental relations in terms of the law-like structure of nature. The first part of the book defines the bald naturalist position distinguishing between to forms of the philosophy with regards to their acceptance or criticism of folk psychology. In the second part of the book, a more sophisticated bald naturalism is considered in relation to a study of the practice of interpretation utilized to reveal features integral to the structure of mind. Having demonstrated that the rational constraints on interpretation are open-ended, it becomes apparent that bald naturalism, which is unable to deal with this fact, is unable to properly understand interpretation or the mind.

Dialectical Social Science in the Age of Complexity
 King, Ian T.
2001 0-7734-7625-3 316 pages
Places dialectical thinking, theory, and method on a solid scientific footing with respect to the contemporary sciences of holistic-relationism; and offers a competing, even superior, philosophy of social science to the mainstream version of positivistic-behaviorism. It also indicates ways in which a dialectical, holistic-relational social science will help to shape a more democratic, humane style of politics and public policy. It subjects mainstream social science to a wholesale reorientation it its basic world view, epistemology, and methodology, and in doing so offers a valid prescription for a post-positivistic, post-behaviorist social science that is thoroughly scientifically grounded.

Do Rights Derive from Justice or Does Justice Arise from Rights? A Philosophy of the Prime Inherent Law
 Humphris-Norman, D.O.
2010 0-7734-3661-8 324 pages
This work demonstrates that Power is prior to Rights and introduces a concept of a Power-Responsibility relationship which affects non-legal moral questions such as the treatment of animals.

Empirical Intelligence. The Human Empirical Mode Philosophy as Originating in Experience
 Connell, Richard J.
1988 0-88946-337-9 240 pages
Shows how human intelligence starts from observable properties of things and moves to unobservable realities, especially causes. Language and mythology then reflect the characteristics of this mode. Also argues against innate ideas and a priori concepts by showing the empirical character of philosophy and contrasting its foundations and explanatory method with the natural sciences.

Entities and Individuation. Studies in Ontology and Language
 Stewart, Donald
1989 0-88946-341-7 250 pages
Essays devoted to the work of the late Neil Wilson, Canadian philosopher and significant contributor to the field of semantic analysis that emerged from the fusion of logic, pragmatism, and ontology. Many take their initial inspiration from Wilson's seminal work Substances Without Substrata.

Hermeneutics in the Philosophy of Giambattista Vico a Revolutionary Humanistic Vision for the New Age
 Paparella, Emanuel L.
1993 0-7734-1939-X 220 pages
This book was conceived as a "Vichian hermeneutical conversation" with its readers, to explore the origins and horizon of our common humanity. A corollary purpose is to acquaint the educated non-specialist with Vico's relevancy for a post-modern cultural paradigm which best preserves humanistic modes of thought. It adopts a straightforward, demystifying, colloquial language able to demonstrate how Vico helps to answer crucial questions such as: What does it meant to be human, or How do we live humanely in a rationalistic technocratic society?

Inquiry Into Human Nature and Other Basic Assumptions
 Kunin, Edward F.
1991 0-7734-9933-4 132 pages
A challenge to our most basic assumptions about human nature, taking into consideration our individual and collective behavioral patterns. Reflects on ways in which a new world view can end present difficulties, both personal and world wide, to create a more utopian society.

Neoplatonic Metaphysics and Epistemology of Anselm of Canterbury
 Rogers, Katherin A.
1997 0-7734-8622-4 270 pages
Anselm is well-known for his "ontological" argument, for his discussion of the necessity of the Incarnation. This volume argues that Anselm is a Christian neoplatonist of the Augustinian variety, and thus that he is the inheritor of a powerful and systematic metaphysics and epistemology. The view that our world is an image of the divine mind and its ideas, a fragmented and temporal copy of the perfect, eternal unity which is God, leads Anselm to a strong exemplarism on the doctrine of the universals, and ultimately to a sane and sober theistic idealism. The discussion of Anselm's underlying metaphysics and epistemology concludes with a neoplatonic (and new) interpretation and defense of his most famous contribution, the Proslogion proof for the existence of God.

Pedagogical Implications of Hans-Georg Gadamer’s Hermeneutics
 Sotiriou, Peter Elias
2012 0-7734-2577-2 300 pages
This work extends the studies of Hans-Georg Gadamer’s Hermeneutics, focusing exhaustively on Truth and Method as the source for articulating a hermeneutic pedagogy. As a study aligning phenomenology to the teaching literature and composition, this book introduces a thorough-going philosophical dimension to these studies and provides a necessary ground for them as disciplines.

Philosophy of Self
 Harper, Albert W. J.
2000 0-7734-7887-6 132 pages
This book looks into early Greek philosophy for a treatment of what is meant by the concept of soul and soulness, carrying forward the use of this term as it was defended in the third century AD by Plotinus, the founder of Neoplatonism. In the present essay, soul, self and selfhood are also placed in relationship with belief and judgment, noting that belief, with or without evidence, is more convincing to the self than simply a statement of facts, and must come before a full understanding of the manifold can be arrived at.

Philosophy of the Good Life
 Hill, Thomas E.
2004 0-7734-6340-2 256 pages
This book explores the question “What is a Good Life?” from the perspectives of several major regulative ends characteristic of human lives. This important question tends to be neglected among contemporary philosophers or else treated merely as an aspect of Aristotle’s philosophy. The author examines relations between the ends of personal happiness, personal fulfillment, a just community, and a loving community. Drawing from a broad range of philosophical and literary sources, he argues that lives exclusively or primarily devoted to any of the first three ends would fall short of an ideally good life. A principal conclusion is that the values of a loving community include but transcend the values inherent in the other major regulative ends. This work is unusual in its systematic treatment of an important but too rarely discussed topic, in its commitment to drawing together the best from many philosophical resources, and in its critical insights regarding deficiencies in lives exclusively devoted to relatively narrow ends.

Rationality in Pragmatic Perspective
 Rescher, Nicholas
2003 0-7734-6792-0 168 pages
This book presents variations on a common theme: the centrality of functional and thereby pragmatic considerations for the theory of knowledge. It seeks to expound and substantiate the epistemic pragmatism that has long characterized the author’s work, with its central aim of showing that (and how) validation in the cognitive realm is ultimately dependent on the application of knowledge in matters of practice.

One Proof, Different Versions?
 Cummings, Andrew C.
2013 0-7734-4329-0 364 pages
The central purpose of this book is to look closely at a certain feature of the ontological proof – namely, its tendency to blur the distinction between the human and the divine. The works of Anselm and Hegel, who represent two different developments of the ontological proof, are compared and expertly analyzed.