Ingarden and the ontology of cultural objects
While Roman Ingarden is well known for his work in aesthetics and studies in ontology, one of his most important and lasting contributions has been largely overlooked: his approach to a general ontology of social and cultural objects. Ingarden himself discusses cultural objects other than works of art directly in the first section of “The Architectural Work”1, where he develops a particularly penetrating view of the ontology of buildings, flags, and churches. This text provides the core insight into how his more lengthy studies of the ontology of works of art in The Literary Work of Art and the rest of The Ontology of the Work of Art, combined with the ontological distinctions of Der Streit um die Existenz der Welt, may be used to understand social and cultural objects. The view that results, I will argue, is based in foreseeing problems with the reductivist and projectivist views that remain popular, and is capable of resolving central problems still thought to plague those who would offer a theory of cultural objects.
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