Departmental Seminar: Dr Jani Hakkarainen
|Starts:||15:10 1 May 2019|
|Ends:||16:55 1 May 2019|
|What is it:||Seminar|
|Organiser:||School of Social Sciences|
- Categorial Fundamentality and Non-Fundamentality
- At the moment, there is a lively debate on fundamentality in metaphysics and metametaphysics, as is documented by the topic of Fundamentality in PhilPapers and Tahko 2018 in SEP. In this discussion, one can spot a considerable gap: ontological categories do not play practically any role in it. This is so even though metaphysics arguably studies categories such as objects, properties, sets and events, which suggests that at least one type of metaphysical fundamentality is categorial fundamentality. I fill in this gap by proposing an account of categorial fundamentality and non-fundamentality.
I assume the framework of formal ontology initiated in analytic metaphysics by Barry Smith (1978, 1981) and Kevin Mulligan (Smith & Mulligan 1983). The late E.J. Lowe followed the lead and proposed that basic formal ontological relations such as instantiation determine the membership of basic categories (2006, sec. 7.8). Lowe also claims (ibid. 37) that basic formal ontological relations are not constituted by any different formal ontological relation (“FOR”, for short). However, he left the constitution of FORs without any explanation.
My proposal elaborates on Lowe by F. Correia and A. Skiles’ concept of generic identity. By the concept of generic identity, I can have something that Lowe was lacking: the notion of simple FOR. Fundamental categories are those categories whose membership is fully determined by a simple formal ontological relation or relations jointly in an order. Simple FORs are fundamental because their holding is not constituted by, in the sense of being generically identical with, any different FORs. The members of fundamental categories stand in the same simple FOR or FORs in the same order and their membership in a fundamental category is nothing more. To illustrate with Lowe’s realism, substance, modes, kinds and attributes are fundamental categories in his four-category ontology. The membership of any of them is fully determined jointly by the simple FORs of instantiation and characterization in an order. Any mode, for instance, characterizes a substance and instantiates an attribute.
By contrast, the membership of non-fundamental categories is not fully determined by a simple FOR or FORs jointly in an order. Categorial non-fundamentality is having membership at least partly determined by a non-simple FOR in an order. In Lowe’s four-category ontology, for example, events are non-fundamental because their membership is not fully determined by the simple FORs of instantiation and characterization. Events are changes in the modes of substances.
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