Ontological Fundamentals

  • Martin Mahner
  • Mario Bunge


Metaphysics (or ontology or philosophical cosmology) is a traditional branch of philosophy and as such it need not be justified in the eyes of the philosopher, unless he or she is a positivist. Some scientists, however, may still be somewhat suspicious about the relevance of metaphysics to their discipline. After all, it is still popular to equate metaphysics with either religion, wild speculation, or some unintelligible discourse about Being, Nothingness, Dasein,deconstruction, and the like. Thus, understandably, there are still antimetaphysicians among scientists, and even the odd philosopher expresses doubts as to whether ontology can be helpful for biology at all (e.g., van der Steen 1996, p. 121). Yet the fact that some ontologies are wrong or useless does not render all metaphysics objectionable: after all, every human belief and action involves some metaphysical presuppositions. For example, most of our actions presuppose that there is, in fact, a world external to the knowing or acting subject. Thus, as has been remarked many times, and rightly so, an antimetaphysician is just one who holds primitive and unexamined metaphysical beliefs.


State Space Ontological Concept Downward Causation Concrete System Bonding Relation 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin Mahner
    • 1
  • Mario Bunge
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of ZoologyFree University of BerlinBerlinGermany
  2. 2.Foundations & Philosophy of Science UnitMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada

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