The philosophical study of what exists and what it means for something to exist is one of the core concerns of metaphysics. This introduction to ontology provides readers with a comprehensive account of the central ideas of the subject of being. This book is divided into two parts. The first part explores questions of pure philosophical ontology: what is meant by the concept of being, why there exists something rather than nothing, and why there is only one logically contingent actual world. Dale Jacquette shows how logic provides the only possible answers to these fundamental problems. The second part of the book examines issues of applied scientific ontology. Jacquette offers a critical survey of some of the most influential traditional ontologies, such as the distinction between appearance and reality, and the categories of substance and transcendence. The ontology of physical entities - space, time, matter and causation - is examined as well as the ontology of abstract entities such as sets, numbers, properties, relations and propositions. The special problems posed by the subjectivity of mind and of postulating a god are also explored in detail. The final chapter examines the ontology of culture, language and art.
Table of Contents
Preface Acknowledgements Introduction: being as such Part I: Pure philosophical ontology 1. What it is to be (on Heidegger) 2. Combinatorial ontology 3. Why there is something rather than nothing 4. Why there is only one logically contingent actual world 5. Concepts of existence in philosophical logic and the analysis of being qua being Part II: Applied antology and the metaphysics of science 6. Ontological commitment (on Quine) 7. Appearance, reality, substance, transcendence 8. Physical entities: space, time, matter and causation, physical states of affairs and events, natural laws 9. Abstract entities, particular and universal: numbers, sets, properties, qualities, relations, propositions, possibilities, logical, mathematical, and metaphysical laws 10. Subjectivity of mind in the world of objective physical facts 11. God: a divine supernatural mind? 12. Ontology of culture, language, art and artefacts Conclusion: scientific-philosophical ontology Notes Bibliography Index