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.

1. Introduction

‘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.

5. Ontophronesis

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.


Causal-logical Ontology


In this paper we begin categorizing a plurality of possible worlds on the basis of permitting or not permitting ontologically different things to be causally connected. We build the work on the dual principle that all universes are causally closed either because no universe causes anything outside itself or because no universe has anything in it that is caused by another universe.

1. Introduction

Philosophical ontology can be investigated via logic with help of the concept of causality. In this paper we do that from a standpoint of two broad views of causal closure. The first one is the view that causal closure (of a universe) forbids anything in a causally closed universe to cause anything outside the very universe. The second one forbids anything in a causally closed universe to be caused by anything originating in another universe. With help of these two notions we can begin categorizing a universe of ontologies.

2. One or more causally linked universes

Let us start with a simple assumption.

Assumption 1 (A1): Things that are causally linked have one and the same ontological status.

If we set aside all ontologies that permit causally parallel universes (universes that are not causally linked) A1 constitutes the basis for an ontology, traditional monism. If we in this context say that something is, for example, physical, then everything is physical. By this standard we have a first element in our ‘universe of ontologies’.

Postulate 1 (P1): All universes are causally linked.

Assumption 2 (A2): Things that are causally linked may not have one and the same ontological status.

To make A2 intelligible we should relate it to the notion of the causal closure of a universe. In Gamper (2017) we see an example of the second view of causal closure. Gamper utilizes the idea that a universe is causally closed if nothing from another universe causes anything in it. The difference between the two views is that the second permits interfaces between causally closed universes. Two things according to this view can be causally linked even though they have different ontological statuses. They cannot be causally linked directly but rather indirectly. Things of different ontological statuses can be indirectly causally linked if the universes they belong to are joined by interfaces.

A2, therefore, may generate ontologies that are based on the second view of causal closure, or, more precisely, may generate ontologies that are based on the assumption that there are interfaces between universes. Accordingly, A2 constitutes the basis for ontologies that permit classical dualism and pluralism.

3. Vertical and horizontal interfaces

Following A2 and the assumption that there are interfaces between universes we can focus the alternative that there are more than one universe and that they are joined by interfaces. In our categorization of ontologies we now are in position to define a group of ontologies that corresponds to there being two, three, and so on and forth universes, all joined by interfaces. We call such interfaces vertical interfaces. Vertical interfaces, according to this terminology, are interfaces caused by one universe and causing another universe.

We may now be more explicit in relation to what an interface would be. Relying on the concept of a universe encompassing all things of a specific ontological status, an interface is defined as something encompassing things of more than one ontological status. A concrete example would be the singularity inside a black hole would it be both mathematical (as in having no physical extension) and physical (as in having physical mass).

As black holes often are seen as products of physical processes, they should not pass as interfaces in the sense discussed. That is because they are not vertical interfaces. Instead they could be seen as horizontal interfaces. We simply define horizontal interfaces as interfaces between universes w+1 and w where interfaces between universes w and a+1 are caused by vertical interfaces. In our example the corresponding vertical interface would be the initial singularity related to the Big Bang.

In our categorization, thus, a new group of ontologies would correspond to an assumption that permitted horizontal interfaces.

Assumption 3 (A3): some interfaces cause universes (vertical interfaces) and some interfaces do not cause universes (horizontal interfaces).

4. A first cause

Since A2 permits interfaces per se, we actually are allowed to suggest that there may be a first cause to any series of universes. Only A1 rules out that possibility. We on this ground can add to our catalog of ontologies any ontology based on A2 with the addition of it having a first cause. The reason is that both our basic assumptions forbids a universe to cause another universe. The second assumption, however, permits an interface to cause a first universe.

5. Extended interfaces

A final add-on in this exposé is the possibility of what will be called extended interfaces. Extended interfaces are interfaces composed of things that have ontological statuses of more than one interface. There are two possible ways to conceptualize extended interfaces. The first is to permit a horizontal interface to be accompanied with yet other ontological statuses. To not complicate things more than necessary, we will assume extended interfaces to be composed of ontological statuses of two or more interfaces, not, for example, of the ontological statuses of one interface with the addition of only one additional ontological status.

Postulate 2 (P2): Extended interfaces have all the ontological statuses of at least two interfaces.

Assumption 4 (A4): Some interfaces may be composed of things of combinations of the ontological statuses of two or more interfaces.

A concrete example of an extended interface would be the eventually that the contents of a singularity inside a black hole would be physical, mathematical, and have the ontological statuses of the first cause (which by definition would have more than one ontological status).

The other possibility is to permit vertical interfaces to be accompanied with other ontological statuses. In our standard example that would entail that the singularity inside the Big Bang would have the ontological statuses of at least one more interface.

Before we sum things up we will forbid any universe to cause more than one interface.

Postulate 3 (P3): A universe can cause no more than one interface.

With P3 we ascertain that the number of universes corresponds to the number of interfaces.

6. Results

Our ontologies will be composed of universes and interfaces. The universes will have different ontological statuses while the interfaces will have different ontological statuses as well as be of different kinds; vertical, horizontal, and extended interfaces.

6.1 Ontologies based on A1

A1 entails either one and only one universe or no universe at all. These alternatives are the common pair of monism and nihilism.

6.2 Ontologies based on A2

6.2.1 A first cause

Since A2 allows a first cause any A2 based ontology comes in two flavors, with and without a first cause (except for Nihilism).

6.2.2 Consecutive interfaces

Given a first universe we gather consecutive universes with adjoining interfaces as one main group of ontologies. If we for instance have four universes our ontology on this stage gives us four universes and three interfaces adjoining them. These universes also may or may not have an initial first cause, constituting a fourth interface. So, four universes entail seven or eight different ontological realms.

6.2.3 Horizontal interfaces

Given the group of ontologies building on consecutive interfaces we have the opportunity to consider the class of horizontal interfaces in each individual case of a specific interface. Each vertical interface possibly has a horizontal twin. In the four universes case we have seven or eight ontological realms not considering horizontal interfaces. If we take in such interfaces we have three additional ontological realms to consider, one for each interface between two universes. Four universes, thus, may generate up to eleven ontological realms.

6.2.4 Extended interfaces

The extended interfaces are combinations of interfaces. If we look at the four universes case we have three vertical interfaces and three possible horizontal interfaces and also a first interface in the first cause case. If we look at the first vertical interface it may have its horizontal twin. In both cases the first cause interface could be combined with either interface. Without the first cause interface the first interface between universes does not correspond to an extended interface, nor its horizontal twin. The second interface between universes could be combined with the first interface between universes as well as with its horizontal twin. This applies also to the twin interface of the second interface between universes.

We see here the exponential character of the number of potential ontological realms as the number of consecutive interfaces raises.

7. Conclusion

Developing ontologies on the ground of permitting or not permitting ontologically different things to have causal links is a viable path towards establishing a robust manifold of ‘possible worlds’.


Gamper, J. (2017). On a Loophole in Causal Closure. Philosophia 45, 631–636.


Formal Theology, manuscript

Formal Theology


Ontology and theology cannot be combined if ontology excludes non physical causes. This paper examines some possibilities for ontology to be combined with theology in so far as non physical causes are permitted. The paper builds on metaphysical findings that shows that separate ontological domains can interact causally indirectly via interfaces. As interfaces are not universes a first universe is allowed to be caused by an interface without violating the principle of causal closure of any universe. Formal theology can therefore be based on the assumption that the (first) universe is caused by God if God is defined as the first cause. Given this, formal theology and science can have the same ontological base.

1. Introduction

Contemporary science rests on an ontology that ascribes the physical universe causal closure. The basic assumption behind this relation in effect stops God from having any causal effect in the physical universe. It is so strong that it even prevents a non-physical cause to cause the physical.

The principle of the causal closure of the physical is defined so that no cause in the physical universe causes anything outside itself and also defined so that no cause from outside the physical universe causes anything in the physical universe. It is enough, though, for causal closure, to deny any universe to cause anything in another universe, if all universes are causally closed (Gamper 2017). By this move there are no direct interactions between universes. The redefinition, however, opens up for a new ontological realm, interfaces. Interfaces are defined as not being universes and are therefore allowed to be caused by universes and, actually, also allowed to cause universes.

This paper examines how God as the first cause can be integrated within an ontology based on the redefinition. The following areas are examined: God as creator, God as omniscient, and God as omnipresent.

2. An ontology without interfaces

The classical definition of causal closure does not allow interfaces between universes since it does not allow anything that is non-physical to causally affect the physical. Accordingly, everything is physical. God, as the cause of that which exists, therefore, have no place in this ontology. In an ontology without interfaces the physical universe has no relations.

3. Ontologies with interfaces

If interfaces are allowed a multitude of ontologies are permitted. The one universe can cause an interface which in turn can cause another one, and so on and so forth. The first universe, also, can be caused. Therefore any ontology with a given amount of universes, can have a first cause, or not have a cause. If there is only one universe with no first cause we have the equivalent to the ontology class (with one element) that does not permit interfaces.

For instance, we can have an ontology with three universes and a first cause. One option here is that the first cause caused a mathematical universe, the mathematical universe caused an interface, the interface caused the physical universe, the physical universe caused another interface, and the other interface caused a mental universe/a universe of the mind. Since these ontologies are based by on the permission of interfaces – an interface before the first universe and interfaces between universes – we can have a closer look into how God as the first cause may relate to universes.

According to the traditional definition of causal closure God cannot be part of an ontology that includes physics. Using the definition of causal closure that permits interfaces between universes, however, an ontology can contain both universes and interfaces wherefore God, as an interface, can be in question in an ontology that includes physics.

4. Formal theology

Here we start examining how a concept of God fits with the class of ontologies that allows interfaces.

4.1 God as the first cause

Any sequence of universes either has a first cause or not. Let us in this examination define God as the first cause. Accordingly, if the series of universes has no first cause, there is no God, and if the series has a first cause, there is a God.

The analysis shows that this line of argumentation generates a singular God. It could also be mentioned that the classical definition of causal closure builds upon “the physical” whereas the redefinition builds upon “there may be interfaces”. The former case, therefore, seems to be inconsistent with nihilism whereas the latter case seems to permit both nihilism and a cosmos only containing an interface.

4.2 God as omniscient

Let us differentiate between a “functional” knowing and a “knowing” knowing. If we let “omniscient” relate to “knowing” knowing, it should relate to being aware of the knowing and thus relate to self awareness. We cannot know God’s knowing but we are acquainted with our own. So, to start with we can look at what our own self awareness could be, in the light of the possibility of interfaces between universes, and how God, as omniscient, could know what we know we are knowing.

4.2.1 Having experiences vs. knowing that you are having experiences

So, before looking at how God may know what we are thinking, let us try to account for how we, ourselves, can know what we are thinking, or, more importantly, can know what we are experiencing.

Utilizing the multiverse machinery we are working with, we are free to try applying both universes and interfaces on our attempt. In this most intricate setting, actually, we will exploit our freedom one step further and expose a new dimension of the concept of interfaces. First, however, we take a look at our experiences, or, sensations.

Let us categorize, tentatively, our sensations, our conscious contents, or the “Qualia”, as an interface between body and mind. This is really a tentative thought but it is needed to explore our subject, the omniscience of God. Our body, in this picture, causes Qualia and, to just move on, the Qualia causes the subject having the Qualia. The Qualia, accordingly, is the interface between body and mind. Allowing non self aware creatures the possibility of Qualia, this interface is not enough for self awareness. We have to dig deeper and we start by taking a step backwards.

If we take it that there is a mathematical universe before the physical universe, the interface between them could be the singularity before the Big Bang. Since there may be later singularities, inside the black holes in the physical universe, we in that case need a new concept for them, since they obviously have not caused the physical universe. If we call interfaces that causes universes, vertical interfaces, interfaces, like black hole singularities, that do not cause universes could be called horizontal interfaces. A horizontal interface, thus, is caused by a new universe but is not causing one.

So, if consciousness, the contents of our sensations, is caused by the body and is causing the experiencing subject, self consciousness could be a horizontal interface between body and mind, not causing the body. In this unsophisticated way we have explained our ability to know what we are experiencing and thinking.

4.2.2 How God could know what we have in our minds

As God is the first cause in form of an interface, and an interface between two ontological fields can come in different varieties, perhaps God, too, can be in different kinds of interfaces? Since we only operate with universes and interfaces, that would be the only option in this context.

If we represent a horizontal interface with a horizontal line balancing on a vertical line representing a vertical interface, we could suggest a horizontal extended interface being a horizontal interface with the addition of the first interface, represented by a slightly bent horizontal line above the representation of the horizontal interface. In the extended interface in this particular case, then, God would be part of our self consciousness, and thereby knowing what we are knowing that we are knowing.

4.2.3 Other forms of omniscience

It would certainly be premature to go on discussing knowing things that are not known otherwise. Perhaps the question, though, also is linked to omnipresence, a property that is discussed next.

4.3 God as omnipresent

Concerning omniscience we saw above that God could be omniscient about our conscious thoughts and experiences if the first cause was part of a hybrid between the first cause and the horizontal interface that is our self consciousness, in each such case. In that particular area we were moving with interfaces; both the first cause and self consciousness were construed as interfaces. Should God be everywhere, “everywhere” apparently should be an interface. Then there would be no “physical” things or any other things of one ontological kind. That is of course an option but is too complicated to analyze in this paper.

4.4 God as creator

God as a creator is straightforward. In relation to the first universe God is defined as the cause of it, and by so being its creator. If there is more than one universe God, as in the case of God being omniscient about our minds, to create those universes, must be part of a hybrid consisting of the first cause and the vertical interface that is between the universes in question.

What that would mean in its details, however, is another story. Concerning the possibility of a mathematical-physical interface, for instance, God would be part of the original singularity. Concerning the body-mind interface, also, God would be part of our conscious experiences.

5. Conclusions

Ontology traditionally has been accounting for things that exist. An alternative would be to try to account for things that are caused. This option opens up for causes that are not “things”. It also opens up for causes to exist without being caused. Ontology, therefore, can go beyond science that deals with “things” and reach what here has been labelled “interfaces”.

One such interface that we have focused here, is the possible first interface causing the first universe. To account for different traditional properties of God we have seen how God as the first cause in form of an interface has been combined with other interfaces. The result is that it seems possible to account for an omniscient God to some degrees and, also, that it could be accounted for that God is the creator of all universes. The prices seem high, though, for such views, whereas God as the first cause have no price tag at all. The issue is more if there is a first cause. In that case we are free to define God as such.


Gamper J (2017) On a loophole in causal closure. Philosophia 45:631–636.


Introducing “Ontophronesis”

“Ontophronesis” is introduced as the natural next step following monism as a basic assumption. Ontophronesis is based on the principle of The causal inequality, the principle that ontologically homogeneous domains do not cause ontologically homogeneous domains. If we only allow ontologically homogeneous domains we have monism. If we also allow ontologically heterogeneous domains, we have ontophronesis. Ontophronesis is a second order ontology in the meaning that it allows more than one ontology, just as monism.

Since monism is more general than physicalism yet allowing it, and since ontophronesis is more general than monism, yet allowing it, ontophronesis should replace monism as the standard basic assumption in relation to science. If you agree, please let us at Subrosa KB know, and we will get back to you.

the hard problem of consciousness

A Treadmill Test for the Hard Problem of Consciousness

An experimental design


Humans, dogs and rats (and/or more suitable subjects for the design).


Subjects are placed on a treadmill.

The speed of the treadmill is increased step by step.

Measuring the heart rate the speed is increased when the heart rate is adjusted to the previous speed. At some speed (coupled with duration) Emax is reached.

Further increases of the speed will build up a backlog of need of recovery.

Lowering the pace step by step will eventually enable the subject to recover from the backlog.


Higher order biological objects will show delayed recovery.

Source: Gamper, J. Biological Energy and the Experiencing Subject. Axiomathes (2020).


Artificial Non-Simulated Intelligence

Artificial Non-Simulated Intelligence (ANSI). Macro psychology is a tool for exploring the possibility of ANSI.




Impaired Recovery Function

Gamper (2020) applied on biological systems. Note the difference as compared to the point of fracture in the stress-strain curve in material science.



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Wigner on consciousness and physics