Voici les éléments 1 - 10 sur 42
  • Publication
    Accès libre
    A plea for descriptive social ontology
    Abstract Social phenomena—quite like mental states in the philosophy of mind—are often regarded as potential troublemakers from the start, particularly if they are approached with certain explanatory commitments, such as naturalism or social individualism, already in place. In this paper, we argue that such explanatory constraints should be at least initially bracketed if we are to arrive at an adequate non-biased description of social phenomena. Legitimate explanatory projects, or so we maintain, such as those of making the social world fit within the natural world with the help of, e.g., collective intentionality, social individualism, and the like, should neither exclude nor influence the prior description of social phenomena. Just as we need a description of the mental that is not biased, for example, by (anti)physicalist constraints, we need a description of the social that is not biased, for example, by (anti)individualist or (anti)naturalist commitments. Descriptive social ontology, as we shall conceive of it, is not incompatible with the adoption of explanatory frameworks in social ontology; rather, the descriptive task, according to our conception, ought to be recognized as prior to the explanatory project in the order of inquiry. If social phenomena are, for example, to be reduced to nonsocial (e.g., psychological or physical) phenomena, we need first to understand clearly what the social candidates for the reduction in question are. While such descriptive or naïve approaches have been influential in general metaphysics (see Fine 2017), they have so far not been prominent in analytic social ontology (though things are different outside of analytic philosophy, see esp. Reinach (1913). In what follows, we shall outline the contours of a descriptive approach by arguing, first, that description and explanation need to be distinguished as two distinct ways of engaging with social phenomena. Secondly, we defend the claim that the descriptive project ought to be regarded as prior to the explanatory project in the order of inquiry. We begin, in Section 2, by considering two different ways of engaging with mental phenomena: a descriptive approach taken by descriptive psychology and an explanatory approach utilized in analytic philosophy of mind. We take these two ways of approaching the study of the mind to be analogous to the distinction we want to draw in social ontology between a descriptive and an explanatory approach to the study of social phenomena. We consider next, in Section 3, how our approach compares to neighboring perspectives that are familiar to us from general metaphysics and philosophy more broadly, such as Aristotle’s emphasis on “saving the appearances”, Strawson’s distinction between descriptive and revisionary metaphysics, as well as Fine’s contrast between naïve and foundational metaphysics. In Section 4, we apply the proposed descriptive/explanatory distinction to the domain of social ontology and argue that descriptive social ontology ought to take precedence in the order of inquiry over explanatory social ontology. Finally, in Section 5, we consider and respond to several objections to which our account might seem to be susceptible.
  • Publication
    Accès libre
    A Socratic essentialist defense of non‐verbal definitional disputes
    In this paper, we argue that, in order to account for the apparently substantive nature of definitional disputes, a commitment to what we call ‘Socratic essentialism’ is needed. We defend Socratic essentialism against a prominent neo-Carnapian challenge according to which apparently substantive definitional disputes always in some way trace back to disagreements over how expressions belonging to a particular language or concepts belonging to a certain conceptual scheme are properly used. Socratic essentialism, we argue, is not threatened by the possibility that some apparently substantive definitional disputes may turn out to be verbal or conceptual, since this pluralist strategy, in our view, requires a commitment to more, rather than fewer, essences. What is more, a deflationary, metaphysically ‘light-weight’ construal of the essence-ascriptions in question leads to a peculiar conception of the pursuit of metaphysicians as behaving like deceptive (or self-deceived) grammarians pretending to be scientists. Moreover, this deflationary attitude, we argue, spreads beyond metaphysics and philosophy more broadly to apparently substantive definitional disputes in the sciences as well as other in other disciplines, such as art criticism.
  • Publication
    Accès libre
    Artifacts and the Limits of Agentive Authority
    (Palgrave/Macmillan, 2023) ;
    Miguel Garcia-Godinez
    Amie Thomasson and other proponents of author-intention-based accounts of artifacts hold that an artifact is what its original author(s) intended it to be. By contrast, according to the user-based framework developed by Beth Preston, an artifact’s function is determined by the practices of users and reproducers. In this chapter, I argue that both author-intention-based and user-based frameworks suffer from an overly agent-centric orientation: despite their many interesting differences, both approaches run into difficulties with scenarios in which the attitudes or dispositions of the relevant agents, whether they are authors, users or reproducers, do not serve as a reliable guide on which to base an artifact’s classification as a member of a certain artifact kind. Such alternative categorizations, which conflict with both author-intentions and user-practices, demonstrate the need for a more object-centered alternative perspective concerning prototype production and the nature of artifacts more generally.
  • Publication
    Accès libre
    Essentialism vs. Potentialism: Allies or Competitors?
    Do essence-based accounts of necessity and Vetter’s potentiality-based account of possibility in fact lead to the same result, viz., a single derived notion of necessity that is interdefinable with possibility or vice versa? And does each approach independently have the ability to reach its desired goal without having to rely on the primitive notion utilized by the other? In this essay, I investigate these questions and Vetter’s responses to them. Contrary to the “separatist” position defended by Vetter, I argue that there are reasons to favor “Combination”, according to which an essence-based account of necessity should be combined with a potentiality-based account of possibility, or vice versa. According to this alternative approach, essentialism and potentialism should be regarded as allies, rather than as competitors, in a theory of derived modality, since both notions are needed in order to give a full account of necessity and possibility.
  • Publication
    Accès libre
  • Publication
    Accès libre
    Form, Matter, Substance
    This inaugural lecture, delivered on 17 November 2021 at the University of Neuchâtel, addresses the question: Are material objects analyzable into more basic constituents and, if so, what are they? It might appear that this question is more appropriately settled by empirical means as utilized in the natural sciences. For example, we learn from physics and chemistry that water is composed of H2O-molecules and that hydrogen and oxygen atoms themselves are composed of smaller parts, such as protons, which are in turn composed of yet smaller parts, such as quarks, and so on. While the question at the center of this lecture might thus appear to fall more appropriately into the empirical domain of natural science, I argue that metaphysics in fact has an important role to play in determining how best to answer the question before us. More concretely, I propose that the Aristotelian doctrine of hylomorphism, when appropriately interpreted, provides the best metaphysical answer to the question of whether and how material objects are analyzable into more basic constituents. Hylomorphism holds that those entities to which this doctrine applies are, in some sense, compounds of matter (“hylē”) and form (“morphē” or “eidos”). Thus, the title of this lecture, “Form, Matter, Substance”, refers to the claim that lies at the center of the doctrine of hylomorphism, as applied to the domain of material objects, namely that sensible substances are the result of combining matter and form in the right sort of way; or, for short, “form + matter = substance”. I begin in Section II by providing some historical background which brings out Aristotle’s motivations for proposing the doctrine of hylomorphism in the context of his analysis of change. Section III turns to some of the main features of the contemporary hylomorphic theory I have defended especially in Koslicki (2008) and Koslicki (2018). Section IV discusses some challenging questions concerning artifacts which arise for both hylomorphic and other approaches to the metaphysics of concrete particular objects. Section V concludes by summarizing why, as contemporary metaphysicians, we should prefer a hylomorphic theory over its competitors as an analysis of concrete particular objects that is compatible with our current scientific understanding of the world.
  • Publication
    Accès libre
    Reply to Uwe Meixner
    In this reply, I respond to points raised by Uwe Meixner in “Koslicki on Matter and Form” in connection with a book symposium on _Form, Matter, Substance_ held at the University of Innsbruck in May 2019.
  • Publication
    Accès libre
    Essence and Identity
    (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2020)
  • Publication
    Accès libre
    Bemerkungen über Winfried Löfflers Kommentar
    In this reply, I respond to points raised in Winfried Löffler's „Koslickis Metaontologie“ in connection with a book-symposium on _Form, Matter, Substance_ held at the University of Innsbruck in May 2019.
  • Publication
    Accès libre
    Skeptical Doubts
    (London: Routldege, 2020)