Spontaneous Generations 3 (1):9-27 (2009)

In this essay, I explore Justus Buchler’s ordinal naturalism with the goal of establishing how his phenomenological approach extends the range of human inquiry to include the many and varied traits of natural phenomena that are not “simply” the result of sensate experience or material functions. To achieve this goal I critically assess Buchler’s notion of “ontological parity”–the idea that abstract phenomena such as values, relations, ideals, and other mental contents are just as relevant as sense-data when one attempts to provide an adequate description of the world in naturalistic terms. I argue that certain phenomena, subsisting within what Buchler calls the “proceptive domain,” are legitimate objects of knowledge as they are par t of a larger domain of phenomenological analysis: nature more broadly and justly understood. It is my view that in the attempt to describe the natural world Buchler’s ordinal naturalism succeeds where other forms of naturalism fail because his form of naturalism offers a more capacious view of nature that attempts to describe whatever is in any way, not just focus on what is readily apparent to speci?c forms of observation that may privilege one domain of analysis over another. I draw the conclusion that because Buchler’s ordinal naturalism contains within it a working principle of ontological parity, his approach to nature ful?lls the criteria of the phenomenological method, and so I title his ordinal naturalism an ordinal phenomenology (Corrington 1992, 1-6, 9-14). Ultimately it is my aim to bring Buchler’s thought into closer connection with continental phenomenology, as well as to illustrate a more just and open understanding of nature through an analysis of his unique variety of philosophical naturalism
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DOI 10.4245/sponge.v3i1.6577
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The Naturalists Return.Philip Kitcher - 1992 - Philosophical Review 101 (1):53-114.
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