Christian Relaunch

Preface to the Ontology

When we say that an ontology includes a theory of possible worlds, in my view the question of what is "possible" has no sense in complete abstraction. Even so basic a criterion of possibility as non-contradiction is a created natural standard and in that sense is a posteriori. Thus my ontology has elements that other thinkers would consider cosmological.

Since my cosmology contains a model of actual realms, my ontology must (and does) contain a "metamodel" of possible realms. Historically, the cosmology took shape first, and the ontology arose, "bottom-up", as an abstraction from it. But the two now develop in tandem, in that any prospective change to one must be tested on the other; if it fails that test, either it must be withdrawn, or the other must change to accomodate it.

My ontology incorporates material from Dooyeweerd (the father of modality theory), but I have presumed to apply Occam's Razor in abandoning his fixed structures of individuality, and my theory of occasions, which in a sense replaces it, draws on that of Whitehead (the father of "open theism"); you might say that I stand on one shoulder of each of these giants. Indeed my ontology as a distinctive whole has arisen as an attempt to combine the elements of truth I perceive in those two theories, so loose ends are to be expected; I mention some of these in situ, and if I have overlooked any I would welcome having them pointed out. (I should also point out that although my "cogniframe" derives from Dooyeweerd's "Grundmotiv" ("Basic Motive" or "Groundmotive"), I think I give it a rather more humble role.)

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