Topics in ontology (5cr)
- 2016-10-03 - 2016-12-05
- Mon. 12-15
- Facultat de Filosofia - UB - Room 411
Much of the recent debate in metaphysics is animated by the notion of fundamentality and the distinction between a fundamental level of reality and possibly many derivative ones metaphysically depending on it. The main aim of this course is to examine and discuss some of the leading approaches to the notion of fundamentality. Among others, we will address the following questions: (i) What does it mean to say that something is ‘fundamental’, or belongs to the ‘fundamental level’ of reality? (ii) What does it mean for something to metaphysically depend on something else? (iii) Why do we need to distinguish between what is fundamental and what is derivative? (iv) What is the relationship between ontology and fundamental ontology? (v) Is there a fundamental level of reality?
Structure and Contents:
I. REALITY AND GROUND
2) Fine, K. 2009. The question of realism, Philosophers’ Imprint 1(1):1-30.
3) Rosen, G. 2010. Metaphysical Dependence: Grounding and Reduction. In Bob Hale & Aviv Hoffmann (eds.), Modality: Metaphysics, Logic, and Epistemology . Oxford University Press: 109-36.
II. NATURALNESS AND STRUCTURE
4) Lewis, D. 1983. New Work For a Theory of Universals, Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 61: 343–377.
5) Sider, T. 2011. Writing the book of the world, Oxford University Press. [chapter 1 and chapter 7 (from 7.1 to 7.5 only)]
6) Armstrong, D. M. 2004. Truth and Truthmakers. Cambridge University Press. [chapter 2]
7) Cameron, R. P. 2008. Truthmakers and ontological commitment: or how to deal with complex objects and mathematical ontology without getting into trouble, Philosophical Studies 140 (1):1-18.
IV. ONTOLOGICAL DEPENDENCE AND ENTITY-GROUNDING
8) Koslicki, K. 2013. Ontological Dependence: An Opinionated Survey. In Benjamin Schnieder, Miguel Hoeltje & Alex Steinberg (eds.), Varieties of Dependence: Ontological Dependence, Grounding, Supervenience, Response-Dependence (Basic Philosophical Concepts). Philosophia Verlag: 31-64.
9) Schaffer, J. 2009. On what grounds what. In David Manley, David J. Chalmers & Ryan Wasserman (eds.), Metametaphysics: New Essays on the Foundations of Ontology. Oxford University Press: 347-383.
V. IS THERE FUNDAMENTAL LEVEL?
10) Bliss, R. 2013. Viciousness and the structure of reality. Philosophical Studies 166 (2):399-418.
There will be ten regular three-hour sessions. Each session will be divided into two parts. The first part will be dedicated to the presentation of the material scheduled for that session, while the second part will be dedicated to its philosophical discussion.
All students taking the course for credit will have to present part of the material at least once (whether it is compulsory to present more times will depend on the number of students).
Everybody is expected to have read the papers in detail in advance, and to come to each of the ten sessions with thoughts, questions, and objections. We will make our best efforts to comply with the guidelines for respectful, constructive, and inclusive philosophical discussion: consc.net/norms.html
Evaluation will be based on the contribution to discussions (20%), the quality of the presentation (30%), and on a short (<3000 words) essay on a topic related to the seminar to be agreed with the instructor in due time (50%). (Guidelines on evaluation and marking, including a note on originality and plagiarism, are available at www.ub.edu/aphil/?q=en/content/guidelines-evaluation-and-marking.)
(See structure; complementary reading will be indicated throughout the course)
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.
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.