On the Phases of Reism

In A. Chrudzimski & D. Łukasiewicz (eds.), Actions, Products, and Things: Brentano and Polish Philosophy. Ontos. pp. 137--183 (1990)
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Kotarbiński is one of the leading figures in the Lvov-Warsaw school of Polish philosophy. We summarize the development of Kotarbiński’s thought from his early nominalism and ‘pansomatistic reism’ to the later doctrine of ‘temporal phases’. We show that the surface clarity and simplicity of Kotarbiński’s writings mask a number of profound philosophical difficulties, connected above all with the problem of giving an adequate account of the truth of contingent (tensed) predications. The paper will examine in particular the attempts to resolve these difficulties on the part of Leśniewski. It will continue with an account of the relations of Kotarbińskian reism to the ontology of things or entia realia defended by the later Brentano. Kotarbiński’s identification of Brentano as a precursor of reism is, it will be suggested, at least questionable, and the paper will conclude with a more careful attempt to situate the Brentanian and Kotarbińskian ontologies within the spectrum of competing ontological views.
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