Lugano Philosophy Colloquia. Spring 2022


Master in Philosophy

24 January 2022

The Lugano Philosophy Colloquia are a series of events organized by: Master in Philosophy - USI; Ratio - Philosophical Association; Istitute of Philosophical Studies - USI


These are online events held on Zoom. Sometimes, we also stream them on the USI Master in Philosophy Facebook page.



On Wednesday, February 9 at 6.00pm (CET)
Kris McDaniel (University of Notre Dame)
'Kantian Ontological Pluralism without Transcendental Idealism'
Chaired by Giovanni Merlo (University of Geneva)

Abstract: First, I will investigate whether a version of ontological pluralism that distinguishes between two modes of existence-empirical reality and transcendental reality-is aptly ascribed to Kant. I will argue that there are important similarities between Kant's views and the views of some of his scholastic predecessors that provide some reason to think that it is. Second, although Kant holds that what is (merely) empirically real is in some way mind-dependent, I will argue that one can distinguish modes of existence in this way without embracing the claim that empirical reality is modally or essentially dependent on finite minds. Third, I investigate whether distinguishing between these two modes of existence suffices for satisfying the intuitions driving some of Kant's foundational principles or appropriate analogues of them, even if (mere) empirical reality is not mind-dependent.



On Tuesday, March 15 at 6.00pm (CET)
Jessica Wilson (University of Toronto)
'Two Routes to (and from) Metaphysical Skepticism'

Chaired by Claudio Calosi (University of Geneva and USI)

Abstract: I consider and offer replies to lines of thought in support of some form of metaphysical skepticism, according to which metaphysical claims -- e.g., the claim that universals serve as the basis for resemblance between objects, or that sets necessarily exist -- are meaningless, false, epistemically inaccessible, or at best pragmatically accepted.




On Thursday, April 28 at 6.00pm (CET)
Øystein Linnebo (University of Oslo)
'Abstraction and grounding'
Chaired by Alessandro Giordani (Catholic University Milan and USI)

Abstract: Are there "thin objects" whose existence does not make any substantial demand on the world? In my Thin Objects (OUP 2018) I defend an affirmative answer based on a Fregean form of abstraction. This talk attempts to connect two central aspects of the resulting view with the notion of metaphysical grounding. First, every truth about some thin objects is grounded in a truth that does not involve these objects. Second, the notorious "bad company problem" for abstractionism can be solved by insisting that every truth about the desired abstracta be grounded in a truth that is solely about a prior and independently available ontology.




On Wednesday, May 25 at 6.30pm (CET)
Peter Simons (TCD and USI)
'Metaphysicians from A to W And How to Improve on Them'
Chaired by Barry Smith (Buffalo and USI)

Abstract: Three of the greatest metaphysicians of the twentieth century, all born before 1900, wrote in English. One was Australian, one English, and one American. They are, in chronological order, Samuel Alexander, Alfred North Whitehead and Donald Cary Williams. Empirical realists all, each espoused a systematic account of the universe in which metaphysics stood at the centre. The lessons we can take from them are varied: from Alexander we have spacetime, mind-brain identity, and emergence; from Whitehead we have mereology and the primacy of dynamic process; from Williams we have tropes and the reasonableness of induction. They all agreed on the central importance of categories, though their treatments differ considerably. They influenced other fine metaphysical thinkers: Anderson, Armstrong and Lewis, to name just the most prominent. But each makes metaphysical choices that are questionable, so the question arises whether we can do better, taking the best from each and welding it together into a system that avoids the pitfalls. Building on both their strengths and their weaknesses, this talk outlines how that can be done. 


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