Relativity theory is often said to support something called ‘the four-dimensional view of reality’. But there are at least three different views that sometimes go by this name. One is ‘spacetime unitism’, according to which there is a spacetime manifold, and if there are such things as points of space or instants of time, these are just spacetime regions of different sorts: thus space and time are not separate manifolds. A second is the B-theory of time, according to which the (...) past, present, and future are all equally real and there is nothing metaphysically special about the present. A third is perdurantism, according to which persisting material objects are made up of different temporal parts located at different times. We sketch routes from relativity to unitism and to the B-theory. We then discuss some routes to perdurantism, via the B-theory and via unitism. (shrink)
I give two new uniqueness results for the standard relation of simultaneity in the context of metrical time oriented Minkowski spacetime. These results improve on the classic ones due to Malament and Hogarth, for they adopt only minimal uncontroversial assumptions. I conclude addressing whether these results should be taken to definitely refute the general epistemological thesis of conventionalism.
Composition is Identity is the thesis that a whole is, strict and literally, its parts considered collectively. Mereological Nihilism is the thesis that there are no composite objects whatsoever instead. This paper argues that they are equivalent, at least insofar as Composition is Identity is phrased in a particular way. It then addresses some consequences of such equivalence.
Composition as Identity is the thesis that a whole is, strictly and literally, identical to its parts, considered collectively. McDaniel  argues against CAI in that it prohibits emergent properties. Recently Sider  exploited the resources of plural logic and extensional mereology to undermine McDaniel’s argument. He shows that CAI identifies extensionally equivalent pluralities – he calls it the Collapse Principle – and then shows how this identification rescues CAI from the emergentist argument. In this paper I first give a (...) new generalized version of both the arguments. It is more general in that it does not presuppose an atomistic mereology. I then go on to argue that the consequences of CP are rather radical. It entails mereological nihilism, the view that there are only mereological atoms. I finally show that, given a mild assumption about property instantiation, namely that there are no un-instantiated properties, this argument entails that CAI and emergent properties are incompatible after all. (shrink)
The paper provides a new and detailed critique of Barker and Dowe’s argument against multi-location. This critique is not only novel but also less committal than previous ones in the literature in that it does not require hefty metaphysical assumptions. The paper also provides an analysis of some metaphysical relations between mereological and locational principles.
Are submergence and submergent properties metaphysically possible? This is a substantive question that has been either utterly neglected or quickly answered in the negative. This neglect is not only significant in itself; the possibility of submergence plays a crucial role in hotly debated topics in metaphysics, for example, the debate over Monism and Pluralism. This paper is intended to prompt a discussion about metaphysical submergence. In particular I will provide examples of submergent properties, argue that these are metaphysically possible and (...) finally propose a pluralist argument from submergence. (shrink)
The paper presents a thorough exploration of the problem of persistence in a relativistic context. Using formal methods such as mereology, formal theories of location and the so called intrinsic formulation of special relativity we provide a new, more rigorous and more comprehensive taxonomy of persisting entities. This new taxonomy differs significantly from the ones that are present in the recent literature.
The paper address the question of whether quantum mechanics (QM) favors Priority Monism, the view according to which the Universe is the only fundamental object. It develops formal frameworks to frame rigorously the question of fundamental mereology and its answers, namely (Priority) Pluralism and Monism. It then reconstructs the quantum mechanical argument in favor of the latter and provides a detailed and thorough criticism of it that sheds furthermore new light on the relation between parthood, composition and fundamentality in QM.
This is a brief sequel to Max Black 's classic dialogue on the Identity of Indiscernibles. Interlocutor A defends the bundle theory by endorsing the view according to which Black 's world does not contain two indiscernible spheres but rather a single, bi-located sphere. His opponent, B, objects that A cannot distinguish such a world from a world with a single, uniquely located sphere, hence that the view in question adds nothing to A's original response to Black 's challenge. A (...) is simply denying that there can be worlds with two or more indiscernible entities. (shrink)
The paper addresses various questions about the logical and metaphysical relations between notions of parthood, location and persistence. In particular it argues that the conjunction of mereological extensionalism and multilocation, is highly problematic, if not utterly inconsistent. It thus provides an alternate route to reject multilocation, one that does not rely on Barker and Dowe's well known argument, at least for those who endorse extensionality of parthood. It then argues that other major metaphysical theses such as three-dimensionalism turn out to (...) be at odds with extensionalism. (shrink)
In this paper, we focus on two related reductive theses in metaphysics—Humean Supervenience and Composition as Identity—and on their status in light of the indications coming from science, in particular quantum mechanics. While defenders of these reductive theses claim that they can be updated so as to resist the quantum evidence, we provide arguments against this contention. We claim that physics gives us reason for thinking that both Humean Supervenience and Composition as Identity are at least contingently false, as the (...) very process of composition determines, at least in some cases, the nature of composed systems. The argument has essentially to do with the fact that denying the reductive theses in question allows one to provide better explanations for the quantum evidence. (shrink)
I give a new and more general argument against presentism within relativistic spacetimes. This argument is untouched by different recent proposals designed to save presentism in a relativistic setting.
There are famously two main metaphysics of persistence, namely three and four-dimensionalism. Both yield a particular solution to the so called puzzle of change. I argue that typical three-dimensionalist solutions to the puzzle face insurmountable difficulties even in the simplest relativistic setting, that of Minkowski spacetime.
The present paper has three closely related aims. We first argue that Agazzi’s scientific realism about Quantum Mechanics is in line with Selleri’s and Tarozzi’s proposal of Quantum Waves. We then go on to formulate rigorously different metaphysical principles such as property compositional determinateness and mereological extensionalism. We argue that, contrary to widespread agreement, realism about Quantum Mechanics actually refutes only the former. Indeed we even formulate a new quantum mechanical argument in favor of extensionalism. We conclude by noting that, (...) given the results of the work, Agazzi’s particular attitude towards Quantum Mechanics is still one of the most promising theoretical perspectives. (shrink)
In questo lavoro si presenta un nuovo esperimento mentale che solleva un particolare problema per quello che possiamo chiamare “fisicalismo minimale” in filosofia della mente. In particolare si argomenta che il fisicalismo minimale o i) non è in grado di fornirne un resoconto adeguato dell’esperimento mentale presentato, o ii) viene costretto a fornire un resoconto che è fortemente in contrasto con la nostra immagine scientifica del mondo. Il problema sollevato è un particolare esempio di quelli che Chalmers (1996) definisce hard (...) problems in filosofia della mente. Questa è la struttura del lavoro. Nella sezione 2. si presenta l’esperimento mentale, che chiameremo di Shem-Shaun1. Nella sezione 3. illustriamo il nostro argomento principale contro il fisicalismo minimale a partire dall’esperimento mentale della sezione precedente. Nella sezione conclusiva si discutono diversi modi di controbattere all’argomento principale e le sue conseguenze per il fisicalismo. (shrink)
On a wide variety of presently live realist interpretations, quantum mechanics violates the classical supposition of 'value definiteness', according to which the properties---a.k.a. 'observables'---of a given particle or system have precise values at all times. The indeterminacy in such cases is moreover typically taken to be metaphysical, not merely epistemological or semantic. Here we consider whether two recent approaches to metaphysical indeterminacy---a metaphysical supervaluationist account, on the one hand, and a determinable-based account, on the other---can provide an intelligible basis for (...) quantum value indeterminacy (QMI). We argue that previous arguments (Darby 2010, Skow 2010) according to which supervaluationism cannot accommodate QMI are unsuccessful; then provide more comprehensive arguments for the same conclusion. We go on to argue, in ways touching base with Bokulich 2014 and Wolff 2015, that a determinable-based approach can accommodate the full range of sources of quantum MI. (shrink)
David Lewis famously endorsed Unrestricted Composition. His defense of such a controversial principle builds on the alleged innocence of mereology. This innocence defense has come under different attacks in the last decades. In this paper I pursue another line of defense, that stems from some early remarks by van Inwagen. I argue that Unrestricted Composition leads to a better metaphysics. In particular I provide new arguments for the following claims: Unrestricted Composition entails extensionality of composition, functionality of location and four-dimensionalism (...) in the metaphysics of persistence. Its endorsement yields an impressively coherent and powerful metaphysical picture. This picture shows a universe that might not be innocent but it is certainly elegant. (shrink)
This is a supplement to our book "Le tribolazioni del filosofare. Comedia metaphysica ne la quale si tratta de li errori & de le pene de l’Infero". It features an entirely new canto of the poem (originally thought to be lost) along with an extensive commentary. The canto covers the first ring of the circle of the Sullen, which hosts the Adverse to the Possible, and deals with several philosophical questions concerning the metaphysics of modality.
In this paper, we address an infamous argument against divisibility that dates back to Zeno. There has been an incredible amount of discussion on how to understand the critical notions of divisibility, extension, and infinite divisibility that are crucial for the very formulation of the argument. The paper provides new and rigorous definitions of those notions using the formal theories of parthood and location. Also, it provides a new solution to the paradox of divisibility which does not face some threats (...) that can possibly undermine the standard Lebesgue measure solution to such a paradox. (shrink)
The arrow paradox is an argument purported to show that objects do not really move. The two main metaphysics of motion, the At–At theory of motion and velocity primitivism, solve the paradox differently. It is argued that neither solution is completely satisfactory. In particular it is contended that there are no decisive arguments in favor of the claim that velocity as it is constructed in the At–At theory is a truly instantaneous property, which is a crucial assumption to solve the (...) paradox. If so the At–At theory faces the threat that most of our physical theories turn out to be non-Markovian. Finally it is considered whether all those threats and paradoxes are dispelled if only a new metaphysics of persistence is taken into account, namely four-dimensionalism. (shrink)
Different realistic attitudes towards wavefunctions and quantum states are as old as quantum theory itself. Recently Pusey, Barret and Rudolph on the one hand, and Auletta and Tarozzi on the other, have proposed new interesting arguments in favor of a broad realistic interpretation of quantum mechanics that can be considered the modern heir to some views held by the fathers of quantum theory. In this paper we give a new and detailed presentation of such arguments, propose a new taxonomy of (...) different realistic positions in the foundations of quantum mechanics and assess the scope, within this new taxonomy, of these realistic arguments. (shrink)
I interpret the first part of Croce’s Estetica as an example of ageneral foundational argument about knowledge. I argue thatCroce uses correctly this very general argumentative structure.I argue that this foundational attempt could not be read neitheras a trascendental nor a reductionist attempt. I suggest that thevery best way to look at it is to be found in Croce’s later works.I then conclude with some problems that arises within the foundational context.Keywords: knowledge, foundationalism, intuition, concept.
Achille Varzi è uno dei maggiori metafisici viventi. Nel corso degli anni ha scritto testi fondamentali di logica, metafisica, mereologia, filosofia del linguaggio. Ha sconfinato nella topologia, nella geografia, nella matematica, ha ragionato di mostri e confini, percezione e buchi, viaggi nel tempo, nicchie, eventi e ciambelle; e non ha disdegnato di dialogare con gli abitanti di Flatlandia, con Neo e con Terminator. Tra le sue opere principali: Holes and Other Superficialities e Parts and Places. The Structures of Spatial Representation, (...) entrambi scritti insieme a R. Casati per MIT Press; Il mondo messo a fuoco, Laterza; e il suo libro più recente: Le tribolazioni del filosofare, con C. Calosi, per Laterza. -/- Da una giornata all’Università di Urbino nasce questa conversazione a molte voci sulla e con la filosofia di Achille C. Varzi. In un dialogo critico al quale l’Autore si presta con generosità e onestà intellettuale, Andrea Borghini, Francesco Calemi, Claudio Calosi, Elena Casetta, Valeria Giardino, Pierluigi Graziani, Patrizia Pedrini, Daniele Santoro e Giuliano Torrengo lo interrogano e mettono alla prova sui temi affrontati, nel corso degli anni, in campi diversi. Il risultato è un percorso che si snoda attraverso molti mondi, dalla logica alla metafisica, dalla filosofia del linguaggio alla filosofia della matematica, dalla mereologia alla filosofia del tempo, spingendosi in qualche caso oltre i confini del saggio filosofico. (shrink)
Nella sua straordinaria opera scientifica, Franco Selleri si è sempre opposto alla rinuncia alla comprensione della struttura della realtà e della natura degli oggetti fisici, che egli considera come l’elemento caratterizzante delle principali teorie della fisica del Novecento e che è stata stigmatizzata da Karl Popper come tesi della “fine della strada in fisica”. Sin dalla fine degli anni ’60, egli ha sviluppato quella riflessione critica nei confronti delle teorie fondamentali della fisica moderna, in particolar modo della teoria delle particelle (...) elementari e della meccanica quantistica, e in un secondo tempo delle teorie relativistiche, che contraddistingue il suo programma di ricerca. Nel corso della sua intensa e infaticabile attività scientifica, Selleri è entrato in proficuo contatto con molti grandi fisici e filosofi della scienza, instaurando un intenso dialogo critico con Louis de Broglie, John Bell e Karl Popper. Le sue originali e non convenzionali ricerche lo hanno portato a risultati significativi non solo nell’ambito dei fondamenti della fisica, ma anche della storia e della filosofia della fisica. Per questo abbiamo voluto dedicare un numero speciale di Isonomia al nostro impareggiabile amico e collega, sia per la sua passione instancabile e la sua profonda conoscenza dei fondamenti formali, concettuali e filosofici delle teorie della fisica contemporanea, sia e forse ancor più come maestro di una prospettiva perennemente critica che egli ha sempre seguito e proposto con particolare rigore ed estrema determinazione. (shrink)
A scholarly annotated epic poem on the pitfalls and tribulations of “good philosophizing”. Divided into twenty-eight cantos (in medieval Italian hendecasyllabic terza rima), the poem tells of an allegorical journey through the downward spiral of the philosophers’ hell, where all sorts of thinkers are punished for their faults and mistakes, in the endeavor to reach a way out of the condition of intellectual impasse in which the narrator has found himself. The affinities with Dante’s Inferno are apparent. Whereas Dante’s poem (...) is about human sins and moral felonies, this one is about philosophical errors and fallacies; whereas Virgil takes Dante through the gluttons, the wrathful, the violent, the traitors to parties and countries, etc., here Socrates takes us through the realists, the skeptics, the dualists, the nichilists, the worshipers of language and easy mythos, etc. And yet this is not just a philosophical counterpart of Dante’s masterpiece, even less a parody. We can’t say exactly when, how, and why it was written, but this is an authentic piece of philosophy, a poem of love, a passionate testimony of militant metaphysics. It is the inspired and inspiring journey of someone, anyone, who is truly moved by the Love for Wisdom and by the grueling purification of the intellect that it demands. (shrink)