Topics in ontology (5cr)
- 2014-10-01 - 2014-12-17
- Wed. 10-13
- Room 412, Facultat de Filosofia, UB
In recent years, some philosophers have been contending that, besides traditional debates in ontology concerning the existence and reality of candidate entities of various kinds, crucial issues in metaphysics concern claims about grounding. To illustrate: questions about numbers, say, even if perhaps originally framed as questions about whether numbers exist or are real, may turn out to be more about whether numbers essentially depend, for instance, on certain concepts by subjects like us, or whether they are constituted completely independently of them.
After some general preliminary sessions about grounding itself, the seminar will visit some basic traditional issues in metaphysics, with such a conjecture in the background, in a way that will provide also a relative introduction to some of the core topics in the field—including the nature of properties, physicalism, truthmaking, values, social reality, and the metaphysics of gender, race, and sexuality.
There will be ten regular three-hour sessions. The format will be that of a research seminar, structured around presentations by students and general discussion, led by the instructor. Further info will be provided in the first session of Oct 1.
Evaluation will be based on the quality of the presentation (20%), of the contribution to discussions (20%), and of a short 2/2.5K-word research paper (60%), on a topic related to the seminar, to be agreed with the instructor in due time. Further info will be provided in the first session of Oct 1.
Intended Learning Outcomes:
CB6 – Students should be able to critically understand central texts in metaphysics in a way that puts them in a position to develop and apply original ideas.
CB9 - Students should be able to communicate their knowledge and their arguments to specialized audiences in a clear and articulate way.
CG1 – Students should be able to formulate and critically assess arguments in metaphysics.
CG2. Students should be able to design, create, develop and undertake new and innovative projects in their area of expertise.
CG3. Students should be able to engage both in general and specific discussions in metaphysics. They should be able to conduct a philosophical discussion (orally and in written form), by putting forward, for example, general arguments or specific examples, in support of one’s position.
CG4. Students should be able to work both independently and in a team, in an international environment.
CG5. Students should be able to identify methodological errors, rhetorical, conventional and uncritical assumptions, vagueness and superficiality.
CE1. Students should be able to critically engage with the concepts and methods of analtyic metaphysics.
CE2. Students shoulld be able to identify the core arguments and theories of metaphysics concerning theoretical issues.
CE3. Students shoulld be able to identify the core arguments and theories of metaphysics concerning practical issues.
CE4. Students should be able to assess the writings of leading contemporary philosophers in metaphysics.
CE5. Students should be able to identify and critically engage with the current state of debates in metaphysics.
CE7. Students should be able to critically use specialized terminology in metaphysics.
Schaffer (2009): ‘On What Grounds What’, in David Manley, David J. Chalmers & Ryan Wasserman (eds.), Metametaphysics: New Essays on the Foundations of Ontology, OUP, http://www.jonathanschaffer.org/grounds.pdf
The list of readings and further suggestions will be made available here prior to the first session of October 1st.