“The ontological analyses of works of art affected Ingarden’s entire ontology. Its best elaboration is contained in Spór o istnienie swiata (The controversy over the existence of the world, 1947-48). A being, i.e., an object, can be considered in three different respects: (1) the material one, (2) the formal one, and (3) the existential one (modes of being). Ingarden understands ontology as based on eidetic insight and intuitive analyses of the contents of ideas, i.e., upon the eidetic method, which enables one to discover the necessary and purely possible relations between the pure ideal qualities. Ontology is for him the most general theory of objects. He distinguishes it from metaphysics, which fulfills the role of an applied theory of objects and which, being based on ontology, considers the nature and essence of factual beings. The eidetic character distinguishes metaphysics from the so-called real sciences.
Ontology aims at obtaining a general spectrum of eidetic possibilities and necessities with reference to any objects whatever. In the frame of an existential ontology, which has nothing to do with Martin Heidegger’s fundamental ontology, Ingarden distinguishes and clearly defines four mutually exclusive pairs of moments of being: something can be (1) existentially autonomous or heteronomous, (2) existentially original or derivative, (3) existentially separate or not separate, and (4) existentially self-dependent or contingent. Considerations connected with the analysis of the second pair has led Ingarden to an original interpretation of the relation of causality. His analysis of time has brought some additional pairs of existential moments, such as actuality and non-actuality; persistence and fragility; and fissuration and non-fissuration. These differentiations enables him to distinguish and describe four basic modes of being (consisting of noncontradictory combinations of existential moments). These are: ( I ) absolute being (autonomous, original, separate, self-dependent); (2) temporal (real) being; (3) ideal (extratemporal) being; and (4) purely intentional (quasitemporal) being. We cannot experience any existing object without its mode of being.
In epistemology Ingarden distinguishes: (1) the pure theory of knowledge, which is actually a part of ontology, because he describes it as an a priori analysis of the general idea “knowledge”; (2) criteriology, which researches such epistemic values as objectivity and adequacy; and (3) the critique of knowledge, which evaluates factually obtained results of scientific and philosophical cognition.”
From: Andrzej Przylebski – Roman Ingarden in: Lester Embree et alii (eds.) – Encyclopedia of phenomenology – Dordrecht, Kluwer, 1997, p. 349.