6. A Dynamic Ontology
The previous two chapters investigated what kind of ontology is needed to describe
general dynamical processes, where we include both physical and psychological activities.
Chapter 4 established a ‘dynamic ontology’ that sees substances
not as self-sufficient beings but as essentially dynamical and process-oriented.
Chapter 5 showed how a ‘multi-level dynamic ontology’ must
be allowed whenever the action of a disposition is to produce another disposition
(as distinct from producing final events which themselves have no power apart from
the fact of their existence).
This chapter reflects on these proposals in a more general way and comes back
to some of the basic philosophical principles that are needed. We compare the new
theory to historical proposed ontologies. We also see how it is related to a number
of contemporary issues concerning natural laws, identity of objects, reductionism
This Part II is independent of the theism to be presented
later but is designed to provide the necessary ontological foundation for understanding
theism as well as the natural world. Part II could stand
as a thesis in its own right, but it needs to be presented here because such concepts
are not sufficiently widely known.