Stanisław Kamiński Memorial Lectures 2004/2005

Prof. Peter Simons
Prof. Peter Simons
University of Leeds/England

Classification, Categories, and the Basis of Being: Outline of a Metaphysical Systematics

April 4-16, 2005

Metaphysics, the science of being, has since its beginning studied the most general kinds of thing. Modern metaphysics can no longer borrow its methods from logical semantics, but must embrace systematic methods specially adapted to its fundamental status. Crucial among these is an adequate account of classification, which allows the categories of formal ontology to be rigorously developed and revised as needed. In these lectures I outline a new non-traditional approach to classification, based on the idea of formal factors of being, which generates fundamental categories designed to be adequate for all domains. I then show the system in application.


P.F.Strawson, Individuals, 1959, Chapter 1
A.N.Whitehead, Process and Reality, Rev ed 1978, Chapters 1-2
P.M.Simons, "New Categories for Formal Ontology".Grazer Philosophische Studien 49 (1995), 77-99.
__"Metaphysical Systematics: A Lesson from Whitehead". Erkenntnis 48 (1998) 377-393.
__"Pourquoi presque tout - mais non pas exactement toute chose - est une entité". In J.-M. Monnoyer, ed., La Structure du monde: Objets, Propriétés, Etats de choses. Renouveau de la métaphysique dans l'école australienne. Paris: Vrin, 2004, 265-276.

Open doctoral seminar:

"Russell's 'On denoting': 1905-2005"
April 11, 2005 (Monday)
15.00, room 107

Russell devised his theory of definite descriptions in 1905, completing his dismissal of the theory of denoting in The Principles of Mathematics of 1903. Russell's rejection of both Frege's theory of sense and Meinong's theory of nonexistents allows him to propose a simple semantic framework for developing the foundations of mathematics. Today we can look back on a century of retreat from Russell's position: reinstating sense, admitting descriptions as referring expressions, widening their reference beyond the singular, and admitting the near-ubiquity of contextual determination. Nevertheless, there remain a few hardy survivors of the original tribe of Russellian descriptions; and the lessons Russell had to teach us about language and logic are a lasting legacy.

Autor: Marcin Koszowy
Ostatnia aktualizacja: 28.02.2006, godz. 14:06 - mkoszowy