SOPhiA 2013

Salzburgiense Concilium Omnibus Philosophis Analyticis

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Programm - Vortrag

How to Populate an Ontology: Geach vs Quine
(Metaphysik & Ontologie, Englisch)

According to Quine (1948), ontology is about what there is. The ontological question can be asked in three words -What is there?- and can be answered in just one word: Everything. Everybody will accept this answer as true, yet to make up an ontology is not a trivial task because there is room for disagreement over cases: a nominalist will disagree with a platonist about the existence of mathematical entities such as sets and numbers, a nihilist will disagree with a universalist wheter there are any composite objects. They will not disagree that there is what there is, namely everything; they will disagree about how much ''everything'' amounts. Though Quine in his famous paper ''On what there is'' didn't give us a list of entities that exist; he set up the ontological question, helping himself with the meaning of the existential quantifier, and he provided a methodology for the ontological inquiry. It's quite clear that ''On what there is'' doesn't really talk about what there is; it is an essay about how to say that there is something. He was doing metaontology. Quine's approach to ontological inquiry influenced many philosophers and the disputants of an ontological dispute that don't accept this approach will be suspected of muddled and obscure thinking; but in the recent years some post-Quinean philosophers, such as Kit Fine and Jonathan Schaffer, have radically criticized Quine and his metaontology. In this presentation I will evaluate Peter Thomas Geach's criticism toward Quine's approach to ontological inquiry (1951) and I will argue that the way by which ontology should be practiced depends on the sense we attribute to the expressions ''existence'', ''exists'', ''there is/are''. If according to Geach ontology can't be reduced to listing entities, then how to make up a good ontology? Is Geach giving an alternative? Is it so wrong to mix sense-datas, physical objects, possibilities, abstract objects in the same list, the list of ''what there is''? My plan is to briefly cast some light on some concepts used by Quine and Geach using a modern terminology; then I will find out differences and similarities between the two philosophers about metaontology; at last I will try to scrutinize over the connection between ontology and metaontology: does my ontology affect the second-order issue of how to practice ontology, or does my second-order issue of how to practice ontology affect an ontology?

Chair: Alberto Tassoni
Zeit: 16:45-17:15, 12. September 2013 (Donnerstag)
Ort: HS 101
Anmerkung: ÄNDERUNG. Der Vortrag entfällt!

Joshua Babic
(Institute of Philosophy, Faculty of Theology, Lugano, Schweiz)

Joshua Babic. Isfi, Faculty of Theology, Lugano. Undergraduate student. 2012 High School Diploma in Classical Studies.

Testability and Meaning deco