Philosophy Seminar Series: "The Nominalist Limits of Standard Naturalist Metaphysics" by Francesco Ferrari

Abstract: Naturalism and dualism cannot stand together. The standard metaphysical stance suitable for naturalist attitudes is often articulated as the thesis that all that there is are concrete particulars, i.e., bits of matter, with their physical properties or, alternatively, that everything else supervenes on them. According to this view, physicalist Metaphysicists usually gather together three main assumptions: first, the peculiar monistic thesis that the natural realm coincides with the material; second, that all entities are substances, namely fundamental, independent, and non-relational; and third, a posit of property non-dualism, labeled as the supervenience claim, that all properties that are apparently over and above the (first-order) naturalistic properties of particulars are pseudo-addition to the original metaphysics. However, Dr. Ferrari argues, the interplay between the first and the second assumptions leads to a tension with the third one about the supposed metaphysical import of this physicalist metaphysics. The tension is, then, exacerbated by the fact that, arguably, the supervenience claim fails to discharge the metaphysical burden of "emergent" or higher-order properties. The physicalist Metaphysicist must, then, restore the situation. One way is that of assuming a nominalist attitude towards the existential commitment with higher entities. If successful, problems with higher properties would disappear all at once and, thus, the aforementioned tension resolved. Dr. Ferrari examines whether the Nominalist's strategy in formal ontology succeeds where supervenience fails. Unfortunately, as he argues, the Nominalist's strategy meets specific and unavoidable inconsistencies which, therefore, are inherited by any monistic Particularism.

About: Dr. Francesco Ferrari is currently a Visiting Postdoctoral Researcher at Lehigh University, under the supervision of Prof. Mark Bickhard. He is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for Logic, Epistemology and History of Science (CLE) at the State University of Campinas (Brazil), working under the supervision of Prof. Marco Ruffino on a project investigating the foundations of ontology, especially within the process-relational framework, and issues on formalization. His research focuses on the notion of emergence and its compatibility with naturalism, and on the philosophy of category theory. He received his Ph.D in Philosophy of Language and Logic by the University of Padua. 

End Date: 
Tuesday, September 13, 2022 - 18:30