How should we relate to others? How should we relate to nature and stop the ecological crisis? Ontology might provide the answers, writes Margaret Stout

In her book “Radically Democratic Response to Global Governance”, Margaret Stout makes a point in underpinning her excursion into the current challenges faced by global governance frameworks with philosophical arguments. She points out that the reform of governance systems is not possible without understanding their ontological foundations. It is quite revealing and shocking to find out that the understanding of human interaction in current political discourse might be traced back as far as to ancient Greece, to the icons of ancient Greek philosophy such as Parmenides, advocating for the one and only constant truth, and Heraclitus, arguing that the reality is subject to perpetual changes and that there is no one single truth, but many of them. The advocates of many “truths” in the current pluralist society might be for this reason described also as the disciples of Heraclitus, without even being aware of that connection. On the other hand, the ideas of Parmenides might be found in conservative voices, arguing for the one and only “truth” and dismissing other views, or, eventually, the thoughts of Parmenides might be reflected also in the ideas of those willing to concentrate on similarities, rather than differences between the people. Hence, the “oneness” might be seen also as a foundation of solidarity among people. As the author argues, being aware of these ontological foundations is necessary for the understanding of the functioning of the current governance mechanisms and participatory practices, as they work with certain image and perception of individuals' behavior in public discourse.