Skip banner

Roman Ingarden Lectures

event-date: 13.12.2017
Place: Institute of Philosophy, Room 13

Roman Ingarden Lectures: Prof. Amie Thomasson

The Department of Ontology and The Research Centre of Roman Ingarden will host a lecture by Professor Amie Thomasson (Dartmouth College, USA) on "Easy Ontology and the Work of Metaphysics". The lecture shall begin at 2 p.m.

Professor Amie L. Thomasson, an American philosopher, is currently Professor of Philosophy at Dartmouth College. Thomasson specializes in metaphysics, philosophy of mind, phenomenology and the philosophy of art. She is the author of Fiction and Metaphysics (1999), Ordinary Objects (2007), and Ontology Made Easy (2015).

Abstract: In the era after Quine, mainstream metaphysics has been dominated by questions about whether things of various sorts (numbers, persons, properties, artifacts…) exist. Such questions have generally been pursued with a neo-Quinean quasi-scientific methodology that seeks the best ‘total theory’. But such a conception of what we are doing in pursuing existence questions has led to serious problems, including an apparent rivalry with the natural sciences, a lack of convergence that leads to a despairing skepticism, and epistemological mysteries about how we could come to know the answers to ontological questions. In Ontology Made Easy I argued that we should reject the neo-Quinean approach to existence questions, allowing instead that many ontological questions can be answered by trivial arguments from uncontested premises. Some critics, however, have thought that makes ontology too easy—with little of interest remaining for metaphysics to do. Here I address that worry, arguing that, even if we accept the easy approach to ontology, we can reconceive of the work of metaphysics as  determining what concepts we should use, and how we should use them. This view, I argue, preserves our sense that metaphysics is important, and difficult, and worth doing—and that it has worldly relevance. At the same time, however, it preserves deflationism’s advantages in avoiding the problems notoriously faced by mainstream metaphysics.


Published Date: 11.12.2017
Published by: Anna Tomaszewska