SOPhiA 2019

Salzburgiense Concilium Omnibus Philosophis Analyticis

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Programme - Talk

Form as Meaning: Towards a Neo-Heideggerian Mereology
(Metaphysics and Ontology, English)

Neo-Aristotelian Mereology (Hylemorphism), as advanced by Kit Fine (1999), takes objects to be trans-categorical compounds of matter (hyle) and form (morphe). Classical Extensional Mereology (CEM), the theory associated with David Lewis (1986), sees objects as unstructured wholes composed of uni-categorical parts. While CEM is the more elegant theory, Hylemorphism is closer to our ordinary understanding of what objects are and how they behave. Both come with their respective set of problems, both of technical concern as well as with regards to common sense. The mereology proposed in paper seeks to build on the virtues of those theories, and also to avoid their vices. In detail, it generates a promiscuous ontology via CEM's principle Universalism and determines ontological sub-sets via the hylomorphic notion of 'form'. The notion of 'form', however, is deprived of its Aristotelian content and endowed with a Heideggerian character. In Neo-Heideggerian mereology we understand the notion of 'form' in terms of 'meaning' or 'significance', or in Heidegger's terminology, as 'Zuhandenheit' (Eng. readiness-to-hand). Form understood as meaning is no longer a structure-inducing entity which compounds with matter to yield complex objects, it rather picks out those objects from the plenitude of objects generated by CEM which already have a meaningful structure, i.e. ordinary material and non-material objects. As such, it defines the notion of 'ordinary object' as opposed to being defined by it, as it is the case in Hylomorphism. It is a universal and sortal-free account of the metaphysics of (material as well as abstract) objects which has the potential to settle the long-standing debate on how liberal or conservative our ontology should be and makes for an intelligible (re-)solution to the puzzle-cases of material-object metaphysics. As the aim of this paper is purely expository, I shall limit the discussion to the problem of coincidence.

Time: 12:00-12:30, 20 September 2019 (Friday)
Location: SR 1.003

Adrian Kreutz 
(University of Birmingham/CUNY, Vereinigtes Königreich)

I am a Doctoral Researcher at the University of Birmingham (Supervisor: Alastair Wilson, Kit Fine (NYU)) and a Research Scholar at the CUNY Graduate Center (Host: Graham Priest). I have an MLitt from St Andrews and a B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Tübingen.

Testability and Meaning deco