Theory and History of Ontology

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Annotated bibliography on the history of ontological dependence


  1. Berti, Enrico. 2001. "Multiplicity and Unity of Being in Aristotle." Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society no. 101:185–207.

    Abstract: "I. In analytic philosophy, so-called 'univocalism' is the prevailing interpretation of the meaning of terms such as 'being' or 'existence', i.e. the thesis that these terms have only one meaning (see Russell, White, Quine, van Inwagen). But some analytical philosophers, inspired by Aristotle, maintain that 'being' has many senses (Austin, Ryle). II. Aristotle develops an argument in favour of this last thesis, observing that 'being' and 'one' cannot be a single genus, because they are predicated of their differences (Metaph. B 3). III. But 'being' for Aristotle has also a unity, i.e. 'focal meaning', which coincides with substance (Metaph. Γ 2), and substance has not only an ontological priority, but also a logical priority, in respect to the other beings, as was shown by G. E. L. Owen. IV. This 'focal meaning' cannot be identified with primary substance, i.e. with the unmovable mover, as some interpreters pretend, because this latter has only an ontological, not a logical, priority in respect to the world. V. The impossibility of this interpretation results from Aristotle's rejection of an essence and a substance of being (Metaph. B 4), i.e. the rejection of what the Christian philosophers called esse ipsum subsistens."

  2. Blank, Andreas. 2009. "Existential Dependence and the Question of Emanative Causation in Protestant Metaphysics, 1570–1620." Intellectual History Review no. 19:1-13.

    "That the world is dependent on God for its existence is a view that many Scholastic and early modern thinkers took to be a philosophical implication of the biblical creation story. However, they strongly disagreed about how to analyse the relation of existential dependence. Christia Mercer has argued that there is an interesting and little noticed group of humanist Platonists in German philosophy in the one or two generations before Leibniz. In particular, she holds that Platonism was adopted to understand the relation between God and the created world. In support of her view, she has brought to light numerous passages from little-known works by early modern German philosophers prominent in their day,

    such as Johannes Micraelius (1597–1658), Johann Adam Scherzer (1628–1683), Erhard Weigel (1625–1699), and Jacob Thomasius (1622–1684). No doubt, the presence of Platonic strands in German philosophy in the generation before Leibniz is a remarkable but little-appreciated fact.

    However, I will argue that, if one recalls the revival of metaphysics at Protestant universities in the period between 1570 and 1620, a more complex picture emerges. While Mercer’s account focuses on instances where early modern German thinkers seem to accept wholeheartedly Platonic views about the relation between God and the world, there are also critical responses to thinking about this relation in terms of emanative causation. In this article, I will consider some writings by two philosophers who took a critical stance on this issue: Nicolaus Taurellus and Rudolph Goclenius. Taurellus (1547–1606) studied philosophy at the Lutheran University of Tübingen under Jakob Schegk and medicine at Basel.

    He held a chair in ethics in Basel, and then from 1580 a chair in medicine and natural philosophy at the University of Altdorf. Goclenius (1547–1628) held a chair in moral philosophy at the University of Marburg, where his long-standing Reformed leanings allowed him to remain in post after the purge of Lutherans from the University in 1605." (p. 1, notes omitted)

  3. ———. 2015. Ontological Dependence and the Metaphysics of Individual Substances, 1540–1716. Munich: Philosophia Verlag.

    Contents: Acknowledgements 11; Note on Citations and Translations 13; Abbreviations 15; Introduction 17; Chapter 1: Ontological Dependence and the Ordained Power of God in Julius Caesar Scaliger’s Theory of Plant Generation 29; Chapter 2: Nicolaus Taurellus on Forms, Elements, and Ontological Dependence 57; Chapter 3: Nicolaus Taurellus and Rudolph Goclenius on Ontological Dependence and the Question of Emanative Causation 87; Chapter 4: Ontological Dependence and Incomplete Entities in Gallego de la Sema’s Theory of Animal Generation 114; Chapter 5: Fortunio Liceti on Ontological Dependence and Immaterial Extension 139; Chapter 6: Henry More on Ontological Dependence and Immaterial Extension 163; Chapter 7: Leibniz and the Sixteenth-Century Controversy over Ontological Dependence and Substance Pluralism 183; Chapter 8: Leibniz on Ontological Dependence and Incomplete Entities 209; References 237; Index 257-267.

    "The question of what depends on what, and how, is one of the perennial questions of metaphysics, and the early modern period is no exception to this. Much of the central themes in early modern metaphysics are more or less directly connected with issues about ontological dependence. This holds for Descartes’s discussion of the mind/body interaction as well as for Spinoza’s discussion of the relations between substance, attributes and modes, for Malebranche’s theory of occasional causes as well as for Leibniz’s theory of pre-established harmony.(1) Obviously, a comprehensive treatment of ontological dependence in early modem metaphysics would have to be extensive, and presumably it would end up being highly redundant since it would have to cover much ground that is already extremely well researched. The present volume does not seek to even come close to such a comprehensive exposition. Rather, it unites a group of essays that deal with some less familiar aspects of the role of the notion of ontological dependence in early modern metaphysics." (p. 17)

    (1) For an overview of the role of ontological dependence in early modern theories of susbstance, see Burkhardt, "Substance, Attributes and Modes."


    "The approaches traced in the present volume thus can be characterized as problem-oriented in two senses: First, they can all be lead as different attempts at integrating dependence relations—the dependence of created beings on God, the dependencies between created beings, the dependencies between the constituents of created beings—with diverging accounts of the nature of individual substances. And second, they all use such a general framework to offer solutions to more specialized ontological problems. I will take these more specialized problems as starting points of the single chapters and will trace the notions of ontological dependence and individual substance within the framework of the solutions to these problems." (p. 19)


    Burkhardt, Hans. “Substance, Attributes and Modes—Substantial Structures in Descartes, Spinoza and Leibniz.” In Substance and Attribute. Western and Islamic Traditions in Dialogue. Edited by C. Kanzian and Μ. Legenhausen. Frankfurt: Ontos, 2007, pp. 8-22.

  4. Bliss, Ricki, and Priest, Graham. 2018. "Metaphysical Dependence, East and West." In Buddhist Philosophy: A Comparative Approach, edited by Emmanuel, Steven M., 63-85. Malden: Wiley Blackwell.

    "In Section 4.3, we will look at some of the ways in which metaphysical dependence occurs in Eastern traditions, and in Section 4.4 we will look at its occurrence in Western traditions. In Section 4.5 we will spell out some of the ways each tradition can benefit by being informed of the other.

    Before we do this, however, there is a necessary preliminary. The views on metaphysical dependence are many, and there is a great variety of answers to central questions such as “What sorts of things is it which are dependent or independent?”, “What is the nature of metaphysical dependence?”, and “What is the reality like that metaphysical dependence structures?” To get some order into the chaos we need a framework in which to fit views. We do this by providing a taxonomy, the subject of Section 4.2." (p. 63)


    "Conclusion: In this chapter we have looked at the relation (or relations) of metaphysical dependence as they feature in philosophy – both historical and contemporary.

    In an essay of this nature we have been able to do little more than sketch briefly some of the terrain; neither have we attempted to resolve any substantial philosophical issues. Our main aim has been to show that the notion of metaphysical dependence is an important feature of both Western and Eastern traditions, and to alert philosophers who are aware of only one side of this divide to the existence of the other. If it serves to bring the two traditions into dialogue, and so advance this central area of metaphysics, we will feel it has achieved its goal." (p. 81)

  5. Cohoe, Caleb. 2013. "There Must Be A First: Why Thomas Aquinas Rejects Infinite, Essentially Ordered, Causal Series." British Journal for the History of Philosophy no. 21 (838-856).

    Abstract: "Several of Thomas Aquinas’s proofs for the existence of God rely on the claim that causal series cannot proceed in infinitum. I argue that Aquinas has good reason to hold this claim given his conception of causation.

    Because he holds that effects are ontologically dependent on their causes, he holds that the relevant causal series are wholly derivative: the later members of such series serve as causes only insofar as they have been caused by and are effects of the earlier members. Because the intermediate causes in such series possess causal powers only by deriving them from all the preceding causes, they need a first and nonderivative cause to serve as the source of their causal powers."

  6. Constantin, Ion. 2012. "Husserl on the World as an Ontologically Dependent Correlate of the Transcendental Subject." Linguistic and Philosophical Investigations no. 11:103-108.

    Abstract: "The purpose of this article is to gain a deeper understanding of Husserl’s distinction between conceptual and empirical inquiry, his method of reduction, his commitment to idealism, his aim of criticizing epistemological naturalism, and his definition of the transcendent world. The paper generates insights about Husserl’s prioritization of immanence, his account of the primal impression, his prioritization of consciousness, and his transcendental idealism. The results of the current study converge with prior research on Husserl’s philosophical idealism, his realism, his development of transcendental phenomenology, and his project of philosophical reform."

  7. Corkum, Phil. 2008. "Aristotle on Ontological Dependence." Phronesis no. 53:65-92.

    Abstract: "Aristotle holds that individual substances are ontologically independent from non-substances and universal substances but that non-substances and universal substances are ontologically dependent on substances. There is then an asymmetry between individual substances and other kinds of beings with respect to ontological dependence. Under what could plausibly be called the standard interpretation, the ontological independence ascribed to individual substances and denied of non-substances and universal substances is a capacity for independent existence. There is, however, a tension between this interpretation and the asymmetry between individual substances and the other kinds of entities with respect to ontological independence. I will propose an alternative interpretation: to weaken the relevant notion of ontological independence from a capacity for independent existence to the independent possession of a certain ontological status."

  8. ———. 2013. "Substance and Independence in Aristotle." In Varieties of Dependence: Ontological Dependence, Supervenience, and Response-Dependence, edited by Hoeltje, Miguel, Schnieder, Benjamin and Steinberg, Alex, 65-95. Munich: Philosophia Verlag.

    "Individual substances are the ground of Aristotle's ontology. Taking a liberal approach to existence, Aristotle accepts among existents entities in such categories other than substance as quality, quantity and relation; and, within each category, individuals and universals. As I will argue, individual substances are ontologically independent from ll these other entities, while all other entities are ontologically dependent on individual substances. The association of substance with independence has a long history and several contemporary metaphysicians have pursued the connection.(1) In this chapter, I will discuss the intersection of these notions of substance and ontological dependence in Aristotle."

    (1) See, for example, Hoffman and Rosenkrantz 1991, Lowe 2005, Gorman 2006 and Schnieder 2006. For discussion, see Koslicki forthcoming.


    Gorman, M. 2006: 'Independence and Substance'. International Philosophical Quarterly 46, pp. 147-59.

    Hoffman, J. and G. Rosenkrantz 1991: 'The Independence Criterion of Substance'. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 51, pp. 835-53.

    Koslicki, K. forthcoming: 'Substance, Independence and Unity'. In Feser forthcoming. [2013. "Substance, Independence and Unity." In Aristotle on Method and Metaphysics, edited by Feser, Edward, 169-195. London: Palgrave Macmillan.]

    Lowe, E. J. 2005: 'Ontological Dependence'. In Zalta, E. N. (ed.): The Stanford Enryclopedia of Philosophy, Summer 2005 ed. URL:

    Schnieder, B. 2006: 'A Certain Kind of Trinity: Dependence, Substance, Explanation'. Philosophical Studies 129, pp. 393-419.

  9. ———. 2016. "Ontological Dependence and Grounding in Aristotle." Oxford Handbooks Online in Philosophy:1-14.

    Abstract: "The relation of ontological dependence or grounding, expressed by the terminology of separation and priority in substance, plays a central role in Aristotle’s Categories, Metaphysics, De Anima and elsewhere.

    The article discusses three current interpretations of this terminology. These are drawn along the lines of, respectively, modal-existential ontological dependence, essential ontological dependence, and grounding or metaphysical explanation. I provide an opinionated introduction to the topic, raising the main interpretative questions, laying out a few of the exegetical and philosophical options that influence one’s reading, and locating questions of Aristotle scholarship within the discussion of ontological dependence and grounding in contemporary metaphysics."

  10. De Rizzo, Julio. 2021. "Ingarden on the Varieties of Dependence." European Journal of Philosophy.

    First online 3 October 2021.

    Abstract: "In the third chapter of his major work, the Controversy over the Existence of the World, Roman Ingarden discusses four varieties of dependence entities might exhibit. The aim of this essay is to explore these varieties and to put the claims Ingarden makes concerning them on a rigorous footing."

  11. Di Bella, Stefano. 2005. "Leibniz’s Theory of Conditions: A Framework for Ontological Dependence." The Leibniz Review no. 15:67-93.

    Abstract: "The aim of this paper is to trace in Leibniz' s drafts the sketched outline of a conceptual framework he organized around the key concept of 'requisite'. We are faced with the project of a semi-formal theory of conditions, whose logical skeleton can have a lot of different interpretations. In particular, it is well suited to capture some crucial relations of ontological dependence. Firstly the area of 'mediate requisites' is explored - where causal and temporal relations are dealt with on the basis of a general theory of 'consequence'. Then the study of 'immediate requisites' is taken into account - a true sample of mereological inquiry, where Leibniz strives for a unitary treatment of part-whole relation, conceptual inclusion and inherence. Far from simply conflating these relations one with another and with causality, therefore, Leibniz tried to spell them out, while at the same time understanding them within a single conceptual framework."

  12. Edelhoff, Ana Laura. 2020. Aristotle on Ontological Priority in the Categories. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Abstract: "The main objective of this Element is to reconstruct Aristotle's view on the nature of ontological priority in the Categories. Over the last three decades, investigations into ontological dependence and priority have become a major concern in contemporary metaphysics. Many see Aristotle as the originator of these discussions and, as a consequence, there is considerable interest in his own account of ontological dependence. In light of the renewed interest in Aristotelian metaphysics, it will be worthwhile - both historically and systematically - to return to Aristotle himself and to see how he conceived of ontological priority (what he calls "priority in substance" (proteron kata ousian) or "priority in nature" (proteron tei phusei)), which is to be understood as a form of asymmetric ontological dependence."

  13. Gorman, Michael M. 1994. "Ontological priority and John Duns Scotus." Philosophical Quarterly no. 44:460-471.

    "The term 'ontological priority' is used fairly often in philosophical discourse.

    The ways in which it is used are so varied, however, that it is tempting to suppose that they may have nothing in common. The purpose of this essay is to develop an inclusive definition of ontological priority, one that includes the various uses as special cases, by utilizing John Duns Scotus's concept of 'essential order'.

    The interest of such a definition lies not only in the fact that it makes sense of the various meanings usually given to the term 'ontological priority', but also in the fact that it marks out a special class of relations. First, I will discuss the senses usually given to 'ontological priority' in the literature; second, I will consider the problems with defining it; third, I will examine Scotus's notion of essential order; finally, I will use that Scotistic notion to develop an inclusive definition of 'ontological priority'." (p. 460)

  14. Imaguire, Guido. 2021. "On the Coherence of Aristotelian Universals." Synthese no. 199:7255-7263.

    Abstract: "The current interest in the notions of ontological dependence and metaphysical grounding is usually associated with a renewal of interest in Aristotelian metaphysics. Curiously, some authors have recently argued that the Aristotelian view of universals, according to which universals depend for their existence on their exemplifiers, is incoherent from a grounding perspective. In this paper I argue that such criticism is misleading. I shall examine their arguments and clarify the supposed incoherence."

  15. Kriegel, Uriah. 2016. "Brentano's Latter-day Monism." Brentano Studien no. 14:69-77.

    "According to “existence monism”, there is only one concrete particular, the cosmos as a whole (Horgan and Potrč 2000, 2008). According to “priority monism,” there are many concrete particulars, but all are ontologically dependent upon the cosmos as a whole, which accordingly is the only fundamental concrete particular (Schaffer 2010a, 2010b). In essence, the difference between them is that existence monism does not recognize any parts of the cosmos, whereas priority monism does – it just insists that the parts are ontologically dependent upon the whole in this case.

    Brentano never maintained either of these views. But in the last two years of his life, he seems to have held the following approximation: there is only one physical substance, namely, the material universe as a whole. This is twice removed from existence or priority monism: first, it allows for a plurality of mental substances (souls); secondly, it allows for a plurality of physical accidents, which in Brentano’s reistic ontology are also concrete particulars (see Kriegel 2015). Still, the view that the only physical substance is the universe as a whole is quite radical and finds little precedent in the history of philosophy." (p. 69)


    Horgan, T. and M. Potrč 2000. ‘Blobjectivism and Indirect Correspondence.’ Facta Philosophica 2: 249–270.

    Horgan, T. and M. Potrč 2008. Austere Realism: Contextual Semantics Meets Minimal Ontology. Cambridge MA: MIT Press.

    Kriegel, U. 2015. ‘Thought and Thing: Brentano’s Reism as Truthmaker Nominalism.’ Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 91: 153–180.

    Schaffer, J. 2010a. ‘Monism: The Priority of the Whole.’ Philosophical Review 119: 31–76.

    Schaffer, J. 2010b. ‘The Internal Relatedness of All Things.’ Mind 119: 341–376.

  16. Massin, Olivier. 2018. "Brentanian Continua." Brentano Studien no. 16:229-276.

    "Brentano’s theory of continuity is based on his account of boundaries.

    The core idea of the theory is that boundaries and coincidences thereof belong to the essence of continua. Brentano is confident that he developed a full-fledged, boundary-based, theory of continuity; and scholars often concur: whether or not they accept Brentano’s take on continua they consider it a clear contender. My impression, on the contrary, is that, although it is infused with invaluable insights, several aspects of Brentano’s account of continuity remain inchoate. To be clear, the theory of boundaries on which it relies, as well as the account of ontological dependence that Brentano develops alongside his theory of boundaries, constitute splendid achievements. However, the passage from the theory of boundaries to the account of continuity is rather sketchy. This paper pinpoints some chief problems raised by this transition, and proposes some solutions to them which, if not always faithful to the letter of Brentano’s account of continua, are I believe faithful to its spirit.

    §1 presents Brentano’s critique of the mathematical account of the continuous. §2 introduces Brentano’s positive account of continua. §3 raises three worries about Brentano’s account of continuity. §4 proposes a Neo-Brentanian approach to continua that handles these worries." (pp. 229-230, a note omitted)

  17. Neels, Richard. 2018. "Phusis, Opposites and Ontological Dependence in Heraclitus." History of Philosophy Quarterly no. 35:199-217.

    "In the first section of this paper, I argue for a specific way of understanding Heraclitus’s use of phusis. For Heraclitus, the character, or phusis, of an object is defined by a structure of opposing yet essential properties inherent in that object. In the second section, I use this specific definition of phusis to explain the set of Heraclitean fragments that I believe exhibit this understanding of phusis. In the third section, I discuss the river fragment and argue that it and some similar fragments also exhibit Heraclitus’s notion of phusis. In the final section, I argue that the relationship between objects and opposites is one of dependence.

    I end by attributing to Heraclitus the dependence on opposites thesis, which states that objects are ontologically dependent for their existence and their identity (that is, their “nature” or phusis) on opposing yet essential properties that are necessarily inherent in them." (pp. 199-200)

  18. Orilia, Francesco. 2009. "Bradley's Regress and Ungrounded dependence Chains: A Reply to Cameron." Dialectica no. 63:333-341.

    Abstract: "A version of Bradley’s regress can be endorsed in an effort to address the problem of the unity of states of affairs or facts, thereby arriving at a doctrine that I have called fact infinitism. A consequence of it is the denial of the thesis, WF, that all chains of ontological dependence are well-founded or grounded. Cameron has recently rejected fact infinitism by arguing that WF, albeit not necessarily true, is however contingently true. Here fact infinitism is supported by showing that Cameron’s argument for the contingent truth of WF is unsuccessful."


    Cameron, R. 2008, ‘Turtles all the Way Down: Regress, Priority and Fundamentality’, Philosophical Quarterly 58, pp. 1–14.

  19. Pfeiffer, Christian. 2018. "Aristotle and the Thesis of Mereological Potentialism." Philosophical Inquiry no. 42:28-66.

    Abstract: "According to Aristotle, the way in which the parts of a whole are is different from the way in which the whole exists. Parts of an object are only potentially, whereas the whole exists actually. Although commentators agree that Aristotle held this doctrine, little effort has been made to spell out precisely what it could mean to say that the parts are only potentially.

    In this paper, I shall attempt to elucidate that claim and explain the philosophical motivation behind it. I will argue that the motivation of mereological potentialism is to account for the unity of material substance. For a part to be potentially is, I will argue, a form of ontological dependence of the part on the whole. Potential parts have their being as a possible division of the whole. I will further explain this by specifying how the parts are grounded in the capacities of the whole and how the parts are individuated by the whole."

  20. Ruloff, Colin P. 2014. "Divine Thoughts and Fregean Propositional Realism." International Journal for Philosophy of Religion no. 76:41-51.

    Abstract: "Abstract Anderson and Welty have recently advanced an argument for the claim that the laws of logic are ontologically dependent upon a necessarily existent mind, i.e. God. In this paper I argue that a key premise of Anderson and Welty’s argument—viz., a premise which asserts that x is intrinsically intentional only if x is mind-dependent— is false, for on a broadly Fregean account of propositions, propositions are intrinsically intentional but not mind-dependent."


    Anderson, J., & Welty, G. (2011). The lord of noncontradiction. Philosophia Christi, 13(2), 321–338.

  21. Sentesy, Mark. 2018. "The Now and the Relation between Motion and Time in Aristotle: A Systematic Reconstruction." Apeiron no. 51:279-323.

    Abstract: "This paper reconstructs Aristotle’s account of the now to clarify the relationship between motion and the number of time. If time is the number of motion, then the priority of motion can be grasped by examining his theory of number. The paper gives a systematic overview of the now in relation to motion, to the constitution of units, and to number in general. This shows that, for Aristotle, the now is not itself an extended unit, and defends his view against claims that time is implicitly prior to motion. The temporal number is co-constituted by the soul and motion, and the now is key to understanding how this occurs. This paper shows that, just as numbers are generated by the soul, time emerges through the soul’s articulation of motion using a now. The now is a limit that marks out and sets up the abstraction of a temporal unit from its underlying motion. This reconstruction provides a strong basis for the claim that time is ontologically dependent on motion, and secondarily on the soul."

  22. Snyder, James G. 2011. "Marsilio Ficino and Frane Petrić on the “Ontological Priority” of Matter and Space." Synthesis Philosophica no. 26:229-239.

    Abstract: "This paper is a comparison of some of the central ontological claims on the nature of prime matter of the Renaissance Platonist Marsilio Ficino, and the nature of space of Frane Petrić, the sixteenth century Platonist from the town of Cres. In it I argue that there are two respects in which the natural philosophies of both Platonists resemble one another, especially when it comes to the ontological status of the most basic substrate of the material world. First, both Ficino and Petrić argue for the basic existence of matter and space. Second, both philosophers attribute an “ontological priority” to matter and space over what are seen as the fleeting qualities of the material world."

  23. Turnbull, Robert G. 1959. "Aseity and Dependence in Leibniz’s Metaphysics." Theoria no. 25:95-114.

    "It is part of my intention in this paper to show that the fundamental features of Leibniz’s metaphysics can be properly thought of as emerging from an attempt to make appropriate emendations in the Platonic pattern.

    There is a patent similarity between Platonic souls and Leibnizien “metaphysical points”; both are such that their esse is agere. This comment, at the moment, is not really very illuminating.

    It wants exploitation. To exploit it will require our taking a rather circuitous route. We start naturally, I believe, with some critical feflections upon the Platonic doctrine of dependence per praesentiam." (p. 97)

  24. Unlu, Hikmet. 2020. "Aristotle on Ontological Priority." Acta Philosophica no. 1:137-158.

    Abstract: "There are several passages in the Metaphysics where Aristotle explains ontological priority in terms of ontological dependence, but there are others where he seems to adopt a teleological conception of ontological priority. It is sometimes maintained that the latter priority too must be construed in terms of the former, or that the priorities in question are not both endorsed (or simultaneously endorsed) by Aristotle. The goal of this paper is to show otherwise; I argue that what is at issue are two distinct priorities that Aristotle simultaneously endorses."

  25. Vilhauer, Benjamin. 2008. "Incompatibilism and Ontological Priority in Kant's Theory of Free Will." In Incompatibilism and Ontological Priority in Kant's Theory of Free Will, edited by Muchnik, Pablo.

    "Kant is an incompatibilist about free will and determinism. Like all incompatibilists, Kant thinks that there is a fundamental conflict between determinism and free will. But like no other incompatibilist, Kant holds both that determinism is true, and that we have free will. Kant thinks that the truth of determinism is demonstrated by the conclusion of the Second Analogy, that is, by the conclusion that the necessitation of all alterations according to causal laws is a condition for the possibility of the experience of objective succession. But he also thinks we have an immediate awareness that we are morally responsible, in a sense that implies that we have free will. This awareness is based on what he describes in the second Critique as a "fact of pure reason."" (p. 22)

    "The purpose of this paper is to argue that Kant's incompatibilism can only be accommodated if one accepts the "ontological" interpretation of this distinction, i.e. the view that agents qua noumena are ontologically prior to agents qua phenomena.


    This paper has two main parts. In the first part, the ontological interpretation will be described, and an explanation will be given of how it makes room for Kant's incompatibilism. Recent (independent) work by the present author, Eric Watkins, and Robert Hanna will be drawn on to demonstrate that the ontological interpretation can mount a better defense against some traditional objections than has often been thought. In the second part, the two-aspect interpretation of Kant's theory of free will shall be described, and it will be argued that it cannot make room for Kant's incompatibilism." (pp. 23-24)


    Hanna, R. and Moore, A. "Reason, Freedom and Kant: An Exchange," Kantian Review 12, no. 1 (2007): pp. 113-133.

    Vilhauer, B. "The Scope of Responsibility in Kant's Theory of Free Will," forthcoming in the British Journal for the History of Philosophy. [2010, 18:1, 45-71]

    --. "Can We Interpret Kant as a Compatibilist about Detenninism and Moral Responsibility?" British Journal for the History of Philosophy 12, no. 4 (2004): pp. 719-730.

    Watkins, E. Kant and the Metaphysics of Causality (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005).