The Question of Ontology: the Contemporary Debate
February 14-16, 2018
What is the question of ontology and how should we answer it? The Neo-Quinean approach takes the question of ontology to simply be ‘What is there?’, and attempts to settle this question by determining what entities our best theories must quantify over in order to be true. Over the past half-century the Neo-Quinean paradigm has been the predominant approach to ontology. However, in recent years it has come under siege from a number of competitors. Neo-Aristotelian approaches take the question of ontology to be about what is fundamental, and attempt to answer settle it through a theory of categories and grounding relations. Neo-Sellarsian approaches take the question of ontology to be about the relationship between the manifest and the scientific images, and attempt to settle it by accounting for one image in terms of the other. Finally, Neo-Carnapian approaches deny that there is any non-trivial question of ontology at all. The aim of this conference is to critically examine these paradigms and the main issues surrounding them. How and to what extent are these different paradigms truly at odds with one another? Is the question of ontology best answered in terms of quantifiers, categories, reductive analyses, trivial inferences, Reality operators, truthmakers, grounding, structure, fundamentality, or some combination thereof? Are ontological questions answerable? How do we determine what our ontologically commitments are? Is there a special technical language of the ‘ontology room’? How does ontology relate to science and common sense? How can we know when ontological claims are true?
David Chalmers (New York University)
Javier Cumpa (Complutense University of Madrid)
Kit Fine (New York University)
John Hawthorne (University of Southern California)
Thomas Hofweber (University of North Carolina)
Peter Van Inwagen (University of Norte Dame)
Jonathan Schafer (Rutgers University)
Amie Thomasson (Dartmouth College)
Stephen Yablo (M.I.T)
Location: Complutense University of Madrid, Faculty of Philosophy. Manuel Garcia Morente Room. Ciudad Universitaria 28040, Madrid, Spain
Sponsor: Comunidad de Madrid. Research Project: The Eliminativist Approach to Categories: Issues in Ontology, Philosophy of Language, and Philosophy of Science (2016-T1/HUM-1263).
The conference is free, open to all, and registration is not required. But if you plan to attend the conference, please let us know (firstname.lastname@example.org)