SOPhiA 2019

Salzburgiense Concilium Omnibus Philosophis Analyticis

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Programme - Talk

Prospects for Generalism: Dangler Argument Reconstructed and the Quiddistic Objection
(Metaphysics and Ontology, English)

Dasgupta 2009) proposes generalism as an alternative metaphysics to replace individualism. Individualism is the standard metaphysical position and it commits to the existence of primitive individuals. The fundamental structure of the world consists in primitive individuals which are propertied and related to one another. According to generalism, the fundamental structure of the world is general in the sense that fundamental facts are composed purely out of primitive properties. Dasgupta makes use of a dangler argument to show that primitive individuals are physically redundant and empirically undetectable. This paper offers two different understandings of the dangler argument (conditional understanding and physical understanding) and concludes that neither of them is successful: The conditional understanding is not strong enough and the physical understanding is not substantially physical.

Dasgupta further argues that generalism requires a holistic picture of metaphysics in the sense that there is just One Great Fact which exists. This One Great Fact cannot be decomposed into atomistic facts because general facts cannot be fully captured by the conjunction of the atomistic parts. On the contrary, individualism often goes hand in hand with atomistic picture of metaphysics. Individualistic facts can be fully captured by the conjunction of the atomistic parts. I argue that the misleading asymmetry is due to the residual of individualistic framework and a proper generalist does not commit to holism. Consequently, generalism and individualism are the same in this respect.

At the end, I raise a quiddistic objection to the generalism and argues that primitive properties are also danglers in the generalist picture, which defies the initial motivation of embracing generalism: given that both individualism and generalism involve dangler, there is no reason to prefer generalism over the more intuitive and well-established individualism position.

Time: 10:00-10:30, 20 September 2019 (Friday)
Location: SR 1.003

Jiamin Yu 
(LMU Munich, Germany)

Jiamin Yu is a master student at the LMU Munich. Her main research interests are the following: deflationary theories of truth and many-valued logics; inferentialism; ontological commitments of different logical systems; generalism as an alternative metaphysics and predicate functor logic.

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