Philosophy Research Seminar: Dr Roberta Ballarin
|Dates:||21 February 2018|
|Times:||16:15 - 18:00|
|What is it:||Seminar|
|Organiser:||School of Social Sciences|
Title: On The Genealogy of Modality: The Necessity of Origin and the Origin of Necessity
Abstract: In this paper I lift from Kripke’s Naming and Necessity two alternative interpretations of necessity: essentialism and an historical, genealogical conception. I argue that Kripkean essentialism, and even more so Kit Fine’s definitional interpretation of essentialism, shares deep connections with its arch-nemesis, Carnapian conceptualism. Yet we find in Kripke’s work also the seeds of an historical interpretation of necessity according to which historical, that is, causally produced objects are what they are because of their processes of production. In a reversal of the essentialist paradigm, origin, rather than essence, is the source of modality. I then connect Kripke’s focus on origin to Nietzsche’s reflections on the origin of justice, and to Quine’s naturalism. Against the common definitional practices of metaphysicians, Quine famously rejected meanings and essences and the analytic and necessary truths dependent on them. He then proceeded to naturalize semantics and epistemology by focusing on sensory stimulations and the ordinary psychological processes of knowledge acquisition. No corresponding naturalization of essence was proposed. In this paper, I am happy to follow Quine and let essence as well as essential predication go. Left only with real entities and phenomena and their natural place in history, I conjecture that origin is what remains in place to naturalize necessity.
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