Nature's Perspectives

Prospects for Ordinal Metaphysics

Edited by Armen Marsoobian, Kathleen Wallace, and Robert S. Corrington

Paperback : 9780791404928, 391 pages, November 1990
Hardcover : 9780791404911, 391 pages, December 1990

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Table of contents



List of Abbreviations


Notes and Reflections on Justus Buchler
Sidney Gelber

Part One: Critical and Systematic Overview
Introduction to Part One

Toward a Radical Naturalism
Sidney Gelber

Buchler's Metaphysics
Richard J. Bernstein

Nature, Power and Prospect: Justus Buchler''s System of Philosophy
Sidney Gelber and Kathleen Wallace

Part Two: General Ontology
Introduction to Part Two

Substitutes for Substance
Beth J. Singer

The Concept of Identity in Justus Buchler and Mahayana Buddhism
Marjorie Cantor Miller

The Nature of Categorical Theory
Abraham Edel

Possibility: Three Recent Ontologies
Phil Weiss

Ordinal Possibility: A Metaphysical Concept
Kathleen Wallace

Weiss/Wallace Discussion: Possibility and Metaphysics
Weiss, Possibility: Temperament and Argument
Wallace: Skeptical Openness

Ordinality and Materialism
John Ryder

Part Three: Systematic Extensions and Applications
Introduction to Part Three

Natural Obligation, Natural Appropriation
Matthew Lipman

Relativism and Metaphysics: On Justus Buchler and Richard Rorty
Lawrence E. Cahoone

The Assertive, the Active, and the Exhibitive
I. A. Richards

Reading Poems with Buchler
Roland Garrett

Reference, Interpretation, and Articulation: Rethinking Meaning in the Arts
Armen Marsoobian

Exhibitive Judgment and Freud: Toward a New Interpretation of Dreams
Ann-Mari Wallen Wachter

Buchler's Conception of Community
James Campbell

Buchler's Ordinal Metaphysics and Process Theology
Peter H. Hare and John Ryder

Ordinality and the Divine Natures
Robert S. Corrington


Bibliography of Secondary Works on Justus Buchler

Name Index

Subject Index

Armen Marsoobian is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Southern Connecticut State University. Kathleen Wallace is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Hofstra University. Robert S. Corrington is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the College of William and Mary.


"Justus Buchler is an original American philosopher whose powerful, systematic categorial thinking does not fit easily into any of the usual classifications of philosophical schools. While maintaining a commitment to the philosophical tradition's aim at the utmost lucidity and generality, Buchler was a thoroughgoing critic of all versions of what he called 'ontological priority,' the view that some things or characteristics are more real or more metaphysically fundamental than others. His ordinal metaphysics is perhaps the most rigorous instance of an attempt to think philosophically without adopting some version of the doctrine of ontological priority. In abandoning that view Buchler can be compared with certain strains in American pragmatism or in continental critics of traditional metaphysics such as Heidegger and Derrida; and yet he did not abandon the metaphysical enterprise itself but sought to elaborate new categories of truly general scope. This book represents the most comprehensive and many-sided exploration of Buchler's ordinal metaphysics and its extensions. The authors maintain a high level of philosophical discourse in articulating and sometimes criticizing Buchler's conception of philosophy and metaphysics. Not only are there chapters addressing such central philosophical concepts as materialism, possibility, identity, and the categorial in the light of Buchler's thought, but there are intriguing re-evaluations of such widely diverse philosophies as those of Aristotle, Whitehead, Buddhism, and Richard Rorty from a Buchlerian standpoint. The implications of Buchler's thought for understanding art, community, theology, and even the interpretation of dreams are developed and critically assessed. The volume will be indispensable for students of Buchler and American philosophy and it should be of the greatest interest to anyone seeking a fresh perspective on the thinkers and the problems it treats. "— Gary Shapiro

"This volume approaches Buchler's significant work from many angles of vision. It critically analyzes his views on poetry and the arts and considers implications of his system for concepts and problems in Christian theology and Buddhism. It compares him with other important thinkers such as Aristotle, James, Whitehead, Dewey, Royce, Rorty, and Freud. It provides detailed evaluations of his epistemology, metaphysics, and social theory. Taken together, these chapters give persuasive evidence for placing Justus Buchler in the first rank of systematic philosophers in this century. " — Donald A. Crosby, Colorado State University