Levi Bryant has a recent post in which he acknowledges two senses of “ontology.” Thus “On the one hand, an ontology is a group or persons set of beliefs as to what is.” Yes. In this sense ontology is a category of thinking. However, as Bryant notes, that is not what philosophers mean by ontology: “On the other hand, an ontology is a theory about what is. It is making a claim that something exists. This is where the rubber hits the road.”
Ontology in the first sense, ontological thinking, has been under investigation in the cognitive sciences for the last three or four decades. I have a good many posts on that subject under the heading “ontological cognition.” But what about ontological thoughts AS thoughts? What kind of reality are we going to admit for those thoughts as thoughts? Do those thoughts not have some kind of real existences?
THAT’s the kind of thing I was grappling with in talking about realms of being in my own pluralist speculations. At this point, though, keeping track of what’s going on is very difficult. Something’s got to collapse.
It’s clear to me, however, that Bryant hasn’t caught up to cognitive science in his conceptualization of mental processes. It’s one thing to point out that we have ontological thoughts; it’s quite something else to objectify those thoughts and study how they work.