Keynote Speakers: Kit Fine; Jonathon Lowe
Workshop date: 16th July 2013
Senate Suite, Durham Castle
University of Durham, Durham, UK.
Deadline for submissions: 17th June 2013.
Abstracts for submission for the workshop should be no more than 750 words (exc. Bibliography), prepared for blind review. Please include a separate cover page including name, address, contact information, and current institution. Abstracts should be suited for a presentation of 40 minutes (with 20 minutes of questions). Abstracts should be submitted in Microsoft Word, PDF or similar. Please e-mail submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Although metaphysics has long been taken by some as a central domain of enquiry within philosophy, dating back at least as far as Aristotle's work on the subject matter, its status as a coherent body of work has been attacked throughout the history of western philosophy. Seen by many to have had a final damaging blow in the work of Kant, metaphysics returned to a central position in philosophy in the twentieth century following Quine's seminal paper `On What There Is'. Metaphysics thus proceeded with vigour throughout much of the twentieth century (see the work of Lowe, Lewis, and Armstrong for some examples), but without too much concern for its own foundations.
Quine though not only reinvigorated metaphysics, but also laid the foundation for the many modern objections to its viability that have been developed, drawing upon Quine's own (possible) rejection of a metaphysical line of enquiry. As such, there has been a recent surge of interest in the viability of metaphysics as a research question, and the growth in the field of `metametaphysics' (see Chalmers, Manley, and Wasserman, eds., 2009, Sider 2011 for some examples). Metaphysicians, both realist and anti-realist, therefore are more aware of the need to both explain and justify their metametaphysical positions. These issues are not only limited within the scope of metaphysical enquiry, but also touch upon issues in epistemology (which many recent rejections of metaphysics rely upon), the philosophy of language (of particular interest here as detailed below), logic, and the philosophy of science including the correct role for science within metaphysical theories.
This workshop aims to build upon this interest, and subsequently has invited some of the leading names in the field to discuss the various issues that arise in this domain.
Particular interest will be applied to the role of language in metaphysics. Recent anti-realist arguments have often centred on the claim that metaphysical debates are `purely verbal' (see Hirsch 2011, building upon a tradition of work from Carnap and Putnam). The role and nature of language has therefore been used to argue against a realist position, building on this idea of metaphysics as a process of mere `conceptual analysis'. Clarifying the correct role of language in metaphysics, and the relationship between philosophy of language and metaphysics, is therefore central to the future practice and legitimacy of the domain.