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What J.T. Fraser Gave the World

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AbstractThis summary of the fundamental insights of J.T. Fraser dwells on four main themes. The first is the way that Fraser disposes of the ancient struggle between monism and dualism, with its related problem of ontology versus epistemology. His tree-like vision of the evolution of the many out of the one is both ordered and open-ended. The second is his critique of philosophy’s (and science’s) tendency to reify simple, defined, pure, and exclusive abstractions. Subjectivity, intentionality, consciousness, freedom, mind, cause, and the experience of time are shown by him to be composite, present in different degrees and kinds in different organisms and different times, constructed and complex. The third theme is Fraser’s decisive refutation of the metaphor of time as a line, as in clocks, calendars, and the t-axis in science. We must explore other geometries. The fourth theme is Fraser’s rehabilitations of the arts, including literature, as potentially legitimate ways of understanding the world and exploring the nature of time.

Affiliations: 1: University of Texas at


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