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Forum Philosophicum

Volume 16, Issue 1, Spring 2011

Truth, Reality and Religion New Perspectives In Metaphysics

Heinrich Watzka, S.J.
Pages 7-28

A new realistic spirit
the analytical and the existential approaches to ontology

I shall distinguish between two periods of analytic ontology, one semi-idealistic, the other post-idealistic. The former fostered the very idea of a conceptual scheme within which questions of ontology could be formulated and answered in the first place; the latter rejected this idea in favour of the view that ontological inquiry neither presupposes a framework, nor provides the framework for science or everyday speech. Since then, ontology is what it always have been, the systematic study of the most fundamental categories of being, not of thought. Unfortunately, such a category theory becomes aporetic in its search for a solution of the problem of the ‘temporary intrinsics’ (D. Lewis). Experience cannot tell us, whether entities persist by ‘perduring’ or by ‘enduring.’ One can take an alternative route and seek to broaden the conceptual basis of ontology by focussing on ‘Being’ (Sein) in contrast to entities, or being (Seiendes). The controversy on perdurantism and endurantism emerges as a dispute over two conflicting ways of being in time, not of Being itself.

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