Philosophical Mysteries

By Stephen David Ross

Subjects: Metaphysics
Series: SUNY series in Systematic Philosophy
Paperback : 9780873955256, 151 pages, June 1981
Hardcover : 9780873955249, 151 pages, June 1981

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Table of contents




General Remarks

Philosophical Argument

Philosophy as Art

I. Being

The mystery of Being is the mystery of Non-being

The mystery of Being is the mystery of the totality of things

The mystery of Being is that there is anything at all

The mystery of Being is that there is no reason for the existence of the world

The mystery of Being is the mystery of what the world is

The mystery of Being is that Being is inexhaustible

The mystery of Being is the nature of the universe

II. Some philosophic mysteries

Time and Becoming

Freedom and Responsibility



III. God

The Divine Attributes

Godless Religion

Religious Pluralism

Religious Judgment

IV. Ordinal Pluralism


Integrity and Scope

Gross Integrity and Identity

Prevalence and Deviance

Ordinality and Non-being

Ontological Parity

The Inexhaustibility of Orders

Possibilities and Actualities

Ordinality and Being


V. Mystery and Philosophy

The Origins of Mystery

Mystery and Judgment

Ultimate Mysteries

Reason and Mystery

VI. Implications and Conclusions




"This is my major thesis. Mystery is inherent in both the nature of things and the nature of rationality. I will sustain this thesis by a review of some of the central issues of philosophy to elucidate their mysterious qualities. More important, however, I will develop in detail an explanation of mystery and trace some of its important ramifications."

"I will argue that an ordinal metaphysics, with its associated theory of query, provides an account of mystery that no other theory can provide.

"While the theory presented here is a theory of philosophical mystery, it has fundamental implications for all branches of knowledge, including the physical and social sciences.

"In short, I speak against a simplistic view of the world and of experience based on a simplistic and narrow conception of understanding and rationality. Mystery calls not for veneration and awe, but for a full and complex activity of mind, broaching all established conditions in its pursuit of answers....Reason is fulfilled as completely in mysteries which persevere throughout our efforts to resolve them as in mysteries which are resolved and dissipated, passing into new questions to which we must find new answers, in an unterminating process of rational interrogation." — From the Preface by Stephen David Ross