Keynotes



Rosanna Keefe (Sheffield), 'Validity, normativity and degrees of belief'

Can we illuminate the nature of validity or the choice between alternative logics by appealing to the distinctive normative role of valid arguments? How should we characterize that normative role once we acknowledge that many of our beliefs are merely partial? I will show that Hartry Field's principles fail. I will argue that the problems identified will carry over to alternative principles and that normativity cannot provide the key to understanding validity.

F.A. Muller (Utrecht/Rotterdam), 'What is an elementary particle? Between physics and metaphysics'

The theoretical framework of the Standard Model of Elementary Particles and their Interactions, which comprises three of the four known physical interactions (bracketing dark matter and dark energy), is that of relativistic quantum field theory. The prima facie ontology of such a theory is that of quantum fields. What are quantum fields? How are they related to elementary particles? Are there elementary particles? What are they, if there are any? These questions occupy some philosophers of physics and do not occupy metaphysicians. We shall delve into the questions what elementary particles are and whether there are any. We shall answer in the negative. This makes the question what quantum fields are more urgent. We shall come up empty. The way is then paved for a novel and shining ontology of structures.

Benjamin Schnieder (Hamburg), 'Grounding and Dependence'

According to Quine, the goal of ontology is simply to determine what entities there are. But philosophers in a broadly Aristotelian tradition would think that there is more to ontology. In particular, a further crucial goal is to understand how certain entities depend for their existence and/or identity on other entities. Apart from the notion of existence, a notion of ontological dependence then plays a crucial role for an understanding of what ontology is about. Similarly, while the goal of science in general might simply be taken to determine what truths there are, philosophers in a broadly Aristotelian tradition would think that there is more to science. In particular, a further crucial goal is to understand how certain true propositions depend for their truth on other true propositions. Apart from the notion of truth, a notion of dependence between truths (in recent terminology: grounding) then plays a crucial role for an understanding of what science in general is about. To many philosophers, the ideas of ontological dependence and grounding seem to be related. But how exactly they might be related is a matter of dispute - and the main topic of my talk.