SOPhiA 2013

Salzburgiense Concilium Omnibus Philosophis Analyticis

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Programm - Vortrag

Might there Be an Empty World?
(Metaphysik & Ontologie, Englisch)

In contemporary analytic philosophical debate, metaphysical nihilism is the thesis according to which there could have been nothing, i.e. a possible world with no concrete objects in it. My talk offers an argument to defend metaphysical nihilism, without appealing to the subtraction argument by Baldwin (T. Baldwin, "there might be nothing", 'Analysis', 56, 231-238,1996) or one of its versions.

II) My argument (say: meontological argument) has the following premises:

P1) 'Nothing' can be used as a substantive, without making a logical mistake (see G. Priest, "Beyond the limits of thought", Oxford Clarendon Press, 2002).

P2) There is a totality (say t) which includes each existing entity

P3) The sentence O: 'For all x, x is identical to itself (self-identical) if and only if it is different from what it is not (omnis determinatio est negatio)' is necessarily true, i.e. it is true in each possible world

P4) For all x, x exists IFF x is self-identical.

III) Meontological argument works as follow: if P2 is true, we may have an identity criterion to define t. By O, when you define something, you must distinguish it from what it is not. At first glance it seems you can distinguish it by saying that t is not any part of it (for example t is not 'this table'). But this solution doesn't allow us to recognize t among false totalities. In fact even the totality of all the tables of this world is not 'this table'; but the totality of all the tables is not the true totality t.

The only criterion of identity for t is the difference between t and something that does not belong to t, i.e. something that does not exist, i.e. 'nothing'. One can state that 'nothing' must exist for making O true when one considers the determinatio t.

By P3:

N1) ''t is not nothing'' is true in each possible world.

Therefore:

N2) ''Nothing exists'' is true in each possible world, i.e. a world without any entity exists in each possible world.

(I will try to explain how a world can include another world)

Therefore metaphysical nihilism is true.

Chair: Alberto Tassoni
Zeit: 16:00-16:30, 12. September 2013 (Donnerstag)
Ort: HS 101

Marco Simionato
(University ca Foscari of Venice, Italien)

Marco Simionato is an Italian PhD student in philosophy at University ca Foscari of Venice, where he is developing a research project in metaphysics about metaphysical nihilism. He has been also visiting PhD student at University of Latvia in Riga. He is author of two books and some articles or chapters of books, also in international context. His research areas are: metaphysics of possible worlds, the puzzle of nothing, the difference beteween abstract and concrete objects, the question of absolute generality (absolutely unrestricted quantification and the existence of an all-inclusive domain).

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