This short paper introduces the second order ontology ontophronesis which builds on the modalities of the basic assumption of the causal inequality. The causal inequality states that ontologically domains do not cause ontologically domains. The causal inequality allows a multitude of first order ontologies including monism. Notably, however, is that the causal inequality also permits ontologically heterogeneous domains. Ontologically heterogeneous domains are allowed to cause and to be caused by ontologically homogeneous domains. The causal inequality, therefore, also may permit first order ontologies as forms of classical dualism and neo-platonic views that allows relations between a mathematical domain and a physical domain.
‘Ontophronesis’ is coined to label a second order ontology sprung from the basic assumption of monism. The idea is very simple.
2. Ontologically homogeneous domains
Monism is the event that everything is of only one kind. Often one refers to the notion that there is only one ‘substance’. If everything is of only one substance we can call this domain where everything is ‘an ontologically homogeneous domain’. Tautologically, also, if there is only one such domain there are no other such domains. From this follows that an ontologically homogeneous domain is not caused by another ontologically homogeneous domain. Rephrasing that we get: ontologically homogeneous domains do not cause other ontologically homogeneous domains. We can call this the causal inequality.
The causal inequality (preliminary version): ontologically homogeneous domains do not cause other ontologically homogeneous domains.
3. Basic assumptions
Since monism by definition excludes everything that is not of a particular kind, this particular kind cannot be grounded in anything else. Monism, therefore, must be accounted for as a basic assumption. Given monism as a basic assumption, however, we (see section 2) on logical grounds arrive in the causal inequality. As the causal inequality is more general than monism the causal inequality is a better candidate for a basic assumption, if one has to choose one of them.
More important, however, is that the causal inequality can ground a second order ontology, ontophronesis, which allows many first order ontologies, one of them being monism.
4. Ontologically heterogeneous domains
Given the basic assumption of the causal inequality we conclude that ontologically homogeneous domains do not cause other homogeneous domains. If we add the basic assumption that an ontologically homogeneous domain does not cause itself we can simplify the causal inequality to:
The causal inequality: ontologically homogeneous domains do not cause ontologically homogeneous domains.
Moving modally we can now secure one series of ontologies: there may be any number of ontologically homogeneous domains. Let us for the sake of categorization label this as Theorem 1.
Theorem 1: There may be any number of ontologically homogeneous domains.
The causal inequality permits that there is only one ontologically homogenous domain. But it permits also two such domains, and three and four such domains, and so on and so forth. Each one of such permutations may constitute an ontology, a fist order ontology. This shows a difference between monism as basic assumption and monism as an ontology. An ontology is based on basic assumptions whereas a basic assumption is not.
What we also know, of course, is that the ontologically homogeneous domains are not caused by ontologically domains. What we do not know, but what was certain on the basis of the basic assumption of monism, is if ontologically homogeneous domains may be caused. We have, naturally, the obvious alternative to suggest that ontologically homogeneous domains may be caused by ontologically heterogeneous domains. And based on the causal inequality, of course, there is no blocking of that alternative. Therefore, we can form the following theorem:
Theorem 2: Ontologically heterogeneous domains may cause ontologically homogeneous domains.
Theorem 2, of course, opens up for new series of first order ontologies.
Ontophronesis is the study of the modalities that the causal inequality entails. The notion perhaps can be associated to ‘what we do not know’ in the sense that ‘ontology’ refers to what we do know (based on some set of basic assumptions). Ontophronesis opens up for an intermediate sphere between basic assumptions and what we know, although we know of the modalities as we produce them. So, ontophronesis is about how it can be as opposed to ontology and how it is. Accordingly, ontophronesis becomes a second order ontology. We can compare ontophronesis as a second order ontology with some meta-ontology. In this regard meta-ontology should concern findings building on ontologies.
One modal aspect of the causal inequality is that ontologically heterogeneous domains may causally link ontologically homogeneous domains. This opens up for a series of causally interdependent ontologically homogeneous domains. We see here, also, the impetus for first order ontologies building on ontophronesis. Within the second order ontology of ontophronesis causally interdependent ontologically homogeneous domains are allowed. A first order ontology may postulate that, for instance, all ontologically homogeneous domains are causally interdependent.