45 found
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  1. The structure of objects.Kathrin Koslicki - 2008 - New York: Oxford University Press.
    The objects we encounter in ordinary life and scientific practice - cars, trees, people, houses, molecules, galaxies, and the like - have long been a fruitful source of perplexity for metaphysicians. The Structure of Objects gives an original analysis of those material objects to which we take ourselves to be committed in our ordinary, scientifically informed discourse. Koslicki focuses on material objects in particular, or, as metaphysicians like to call them "concrete particulars", i.e., objects which occupy a single region of (...)
  2. Form, Matter, Substance.Kathrin Koslicki - 2021 - Chroniques Universitaires 2020:99-119.
    This inaugural lecture, delivered on 17 November 2021 at the University of Neuchâtel, addresses the question: Are material objects analyzable into more basic constituents and, if so, what are they? It might appear that this question is more appropriately settled by empirical means as utilized in the natural sciences. For example, we learn from physics and chemistry that water is composed of H2O-molecules and that hydrogen and oxygen atoms themselves are composed of smaller parts, such as protons, which are in (...)
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  3. Form, Matter, Substance.Kathrin Koslicki - 2018 - Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
    In _Form, Matter, Substance_, Kathrin Koslicki defends a hylomorphic analysis of concrete particular objects (e.g., living organisms). The Aristotelian doctrine of hylomorphism holds that those entities that fall under it are compounds of matter (hulē) and form (morphē or eidos). Koslicki argues that a hylomorphic analysis of concrete particular objects is well-equipped to compete with alternative approaches when measured against a wide range of criteria of success. A successful application of the doctrine of hylomorphism to the special case of concrete (...)
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  4. The Coarse-Grainedness of Grounding.Kathrin Koslicki - 2015 - Oxford Studies in Metaphysics 9:306-344.
    After many years of enduring the drought and famine of Quinean ontology and Carnapian meta-ontology, the notion of ground, with its distinctively philosophical flavor, finally promises to give metaphysicians something they can believe in again and around which they can rally: their very own metaphysical explanatory connection which apparently cannot be reduced to, or analyzed in terms of, other familiar idioms such as identity, modality, parthood, supervenience, realization, causation or counterfactual dependence. Often, phenomena such as the following are cited as (...)
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  5. Varieties of ontological dependence.Kathrin Koslicki - 2012 - In Fabrice Correia & Benjamin Schnieder (eds.), Metaphysical Grounding: Understanding the Structure of Reality. Cambridge University Press. pp. 186.
    A significant reorientation is currently under way in analytic metaphysics, away from an almost exclusive focus on questions of existence and towards a greater concentration on questions concerning the dependence of one type of phenomenon on another. Surprisingly, despite the central role dependence has played in philosophy since its inception, interest in a systematic study of this concept has only recently surged among contemporary metaphysicians. In this paper, I focus on a promising account of ontological dependence in terms of a (...)
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  6. Ontological Dependence: An Opinionated Survey.Kathrin Koslicki - 2013 - In Benjamin Schnieder, Miguel Hoeltje & Alex Steinberg (eds.), Varieties of Dependence: Ontological Dependence, Grounding, Supervenience, Response-Dependence (Basic Philosophical Concepts). Philosophia Verlag. pp. 31-64.
    This essay provides an opinionated survey of some recent developments in the literature on ontological dependence. Some of the most popular definitions of ontological dependence are formulated in modal terms; others in non-modal terms (e.g., in terms of the explanatory connective, ‘because’, or in terms of a non-modal conception of essence); some (viz., the existential construals of ontological dependence) emphasise requirements that must be met in order for an entity to exist; others (viz., the essentialist construals) focus on conditions that (...)
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  7. Where grounding and causation part ways: comments on Schaffer.Kathrin Koslicki - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (1):101-112.
    Does the notion of ground, as it has recently been employed by metaphysicians, point to a single unified phenomenon? Jonathan Schaffer holds that the phenomenon of grounding exhibits the unity characteristic of a single genus. In defense of this hypothesis, Schaffer proposes to take seriously the analogy between causation and grounding. More specifically, Schaffer argues that both grounding and causation are best approached through a single formalism, viz., that utilized by structural equation models of causation. In this paper, I present (...)
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  8. Essence, Necessity, and Explanation.Kathrin Koslicki - 2012 - In Tuomas E. Tahko (ed.), Contemporary Aristotelian Metaphysics. Cambridge University Press. pp. 187--206.
    It is common to think of essence along modal lines: the essential truths, on this approach, are a subset of the necessary truths. But Aristotle conceives of the necessary truths as being distinct and derivative from the essential truths. Such a non-modal conception of essence also constitutes a central component of the neo-Aristotelian approach to metaphysics defended over the last several decades by Kit Fine. Both Aristotle and Fine rely on a distinction between what belongs to the essence proper of (...)
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  9. A Socratic Essentialist Defense of Non-Verbal Definitional Disputes.Kathrin Koslicki & Olivier Massin - 2023 - Ratio (4):1-15.
    In this paper, we argue that, in order to account for the apparently substantive nature of definitional disputes, a commitment to what we call ‘Socratic essentialism’ is needed. We defend Socratic essentialism against a prominent neo-Carnapian challenge according to which apparently substantive definitional disputes always in some way trace back to disagreements over how expressions belonging to a particular language or concepts belonging to a certain conceptual scheme are properly used. Socratic essentialism, we argue, is not threatened by the possibility (...)
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  10. A Plea for Descriptive Social Ontology.Kathrin Koslicki & Olivier Massin - 2023 - Synthese 202 (Special Issue: The Metametaphysi):1-35.
    Social phenomena—quite like mental states in the philosophy of mind—are often regarded as potential troublemakers from the start, particularly if they are approached with certain explanatory commitments, such as naturalism or social individualism, already in place. In this paper, we argue that such explanatory constraints should be at least initially bracketed if we are to arrive at an adequate non-biased description of social phenomena. Legitimate explanatory projects, or so we maintain, such as those of making the social world fit within (...)
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  11. The crooked path from vagueness to four-dimensionalism.Kathrin Koslicki - 2003 - Philosophical Studies 114 (1-2):107-134.
    In his excellent book, Four-Dimensionalism: An Ontology of Persistence and Time (Sider, 2001), Theodore Sider defends a version of four-dimensionalism which he calls the ‘stage-theory’. This paper focuses on Sider's argument from vagueness and argues that, due to the problematic nature of the argument from vagueness, Sider’s case in favor of four-dimensionalism is in the end not successful.
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  12. Skeptical Doubts.Kathrin Koslicki - 2020 - In Michael J. Raven (ed.), Routledge Handbook of Metaphysical Grounding. London, UK: pp. 164-179.
    This chapter reviews several varieties of grounding skepticism as well as responses that have been proposed by grounding enthusiasts to considerations raised by grounding skeptics. Grounding skeptics, as I conceive of them here, are theorists who belong to one of the following two schools of thought. “Old-school” grounding skeptics doubt the theoretical utility of the grounding idiom by denying one of its presuppositions, viz., that this notion is at least intelligible or coherent. “Second-generation” grounding skeptics call into question the theoretical (...)
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  13. Towards a Hylomorphic Solution to the Grounding Problem.Kathrin Koslicki - 2018 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplements to Philosophy 82:333-364.
    Concrete particular objects (e.g., living organisms) figure saliently in our everyday experience as well as our in our scientific theorizing about the world. A hylomorphic analysis of concrete particular objects holds that these entities are, in some sense, compounds of matter (hūlē) and form (morphē or eidos). The Grounding Problem asks why an object and its matter (e.g., a statue and the clay that constitutes it) can apparently differ with respect to certain of their properties (e.g., the clay’s ability to (...)
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  14. Essence and Identity.Kathrin Koslicki - 2020 - In Mircea Dumitru (ed.), Metaphysics, Meaning and Modality: Themes from Kit Fine. Oxford, UK: pp. 113-140.
    This paper evaluates six contenders which might be invoked by essentialists in order to meet Quine’s challenge, viz., to provide necessary and sufficient conditions for the crossworld identity of individuals: (i) an object’s qualitative character; (ii) matter; (iii) origins; (iv) haecceities or primitive non-qualitative thisness properties; (v) “world-indexed properties”; and (iv) individual forms. The first three candidates, I argue, fail to provide conditions that are both necessary and sufficient for the crossworld identity of individuals; the fourth and fifth criteria are (...)
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  15. Towards a Neo‐Aristotelian Mereology.Kathrin Koslicki - 2007 - Dialectica 61 (1):127-159.
    This paper provides a detailed examination of Kit Fine’s sizeable contribution to the development of a neo‐Aristotelian alternative to standard mereology; I focus especially on the theory of ‘rigid’ and ‘variable embodiments’, as defended in Fine 1999. Section 2 briefly describes the system I call ‘standard mereology’. Section 3 lays out some of the main principles and consequences of Aristotle’s own mereology, in order to be able to compare Fine’s system with its historical precursor. Section 4 gives an exposition of (...)
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  16. The semantics of mass-predicates.Kathrin Koslicki - 1999 - Noûs 33 (1):46-91.
    Along with many other languages, English has a relatively straightforward grammatical distinction between mass-occurrences of nouns and their countoccurrences. As the mass-count distinction, in my view, is best drawn between occurrences of expressions, rather than expressions themselves, it becomes important that there be some rule-governed way of classifying a given noun-occurrence into mass or count. The project of classifying noun-occurrences is the topic of Section II of this paper. Section III, the remainder of the paper, concerns the semantic differences between (...)
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  17.  6
    The coarse-grainedness of grounding.Kathrin Koslicki - 2015 - In Karen Bennett & Dean W. Zimmerman (eds.), Oxford Studies in Metaphysics. Oxford University Press.
    This chapter discusses why the grounding idiom does not perform as well as we have been led to believe in providing a plausible approach to relative fundamentality. Grounding suffers from some of same deficiencies as supervenience: most prominently, grounding also fails to be sufficiently fine-grained to do its intended explanatory work. In addition, there is doubt as to whether the phenomena collected together under the rubric of grounding are really unified by the presence of a single relation. Grounding turns out (...)
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  18. Aristotle’s Mereology And The Status Of Form.Kathrin Koslicki - 2006 - Journal of Philosophy 103 (12):715-736.
    In a difficult but fascinating passage in Metaphysics Z.17, Aristotle puts forward a proposal, by means of a regress argument, according to which a whole or matter/form-compound is one or unified, in contrast to a heap, due to the presence of form or essence. This proposal gives rise to two central questions: (i) the question of whether form itself is to be viewed, literally and strictly speaking, as part of the matter/form-compound; and (ii) the question of whether form is to (...)
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  19. Natural kinds and natural kind terms.Kathrin Koslicki - 2008 - Philosophy Compass 3 (4):789-802.
    The aim of this article is to illustrate how a belief in the existence of kinds may be justified for the particular case of natural kinds: particularly noteworthy in this respect is the weight borne by scientific natural kinds (e.g., physical, chemical, and biological kinds) in (i) inductive arguments; (ii) the laws of nature; and (iii) causal explanations. It is argued that biological taxa are properly viewed as kinds as well, despite the fact that they have been by some alleged (...)
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  20. Constitution and similarity.Kathrin Koslicki - 2004 - Philosophical Studies 117 (3):327-363.
    Whenever an object constitutes, makes up or composes another object, the objects in question share a striking number of properties. This paper is addressed to the question of what might account for the intimate relation and striking similarity between constitutionally related objects. According to my account, the similarities between constitutionally related objects are captured at least in part by means of a principle akin to that of strong supervenience. My paper addresses two main issues. First, I propose independently plausible principles (...)
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  21. Substance, Independence and Unity.Kathrin Koslicki - 2013 - In Edward Feser (ed.), Aristotle on Method and Metaphysics. New York: Palgrave-Macmillan. pp. 169-195.
    In this paper, I consider particular attempts by E. J. Lowe and Michael Gorman at providing an independence criterion of substancehood and argue that the stipulative exclusion of non-particulars and proper parts (or constituents) from such accounts raises difficult issues for their proponents. The results of the present discussion seem to indicate that, at least for the case of composite entities, a unity criterion of substancehood might have at least as much, and perhaps more, to offer than an independence criterion (...)
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  22. Modality and Essence in Contemporary Metaphysics.Kathrin Koslicki - forthcoming - In Yitzhak Melamed & Samuel Newlands (eds.), Modality: A Conceptual History. Oxford, UK:
    Essentialists hold that at least a certain range of entities can be meaningfully said to have natures, essences, or essential features independently of how these entities are described, conceptualized or otherwise placed with respect to our specifically human interests, purposes or activities. Modalists about essence, on the one hand, take the position that the essential truths are a subset of the necessary truths and the essential properties of entities are included among their necessary properties. Non-modalists about essence, on the other (...)
     
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  23. Questions of Ontology.Kathrin Koslicki - 2015 - In Stephan Blatti & Sandra Lapointe (eds.), Ontology After Carnap. Oxford University Press.
    Following W.V. Quine’s lead, many metaphysicians consider ontology to be concerned primarily with existential questions of the form, “What is there?”. Moreover, if the position advanced by Rudolf Carnap, in his seminal essay, “Empiricism, Semantics, and Ontology ”, is correct, then many of these existential ontological questions ought to be classified as either trivially answerable or as “pseudo-questions”. One may justifiably wonder, however, whether the Quinean and Carnapian perspective on ontology really does justice to many of the most central concerns (...)
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  24. Towards a Hylomorphic Solution to the Grounding Problem.Kathrin Koslicki - 2018 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplements to Philosophy 82:333-364.
    Concrete particular objects (e.g., living organisms) figure saliently in our everyday experience as well as our in our scientific theorizing about the world. A hylomorphic analysis of concrete particular objects holds that these entities are, in some sense, compounds of matter (hūlē) and form (morphē or eidos). The Grounding Problem asks why an object and its matter (e.g., a statue and the clay that constitutes it) can apparently differ with respect to certain of their properties (e.g., the clay’s ability to (...)
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  25. The Causal Priority of Form in Aristotle.Kathrin Koslicki - 2014 - Studia Philosophica Estonica 7 (2):113.
    In various texts, Aristotle assigns priority to form, in its role as a principle and cause, over matter and the matter-form compound. Given the central role played by this claim in Aristotle's search for primary substance in the Metaphysics, it is important to understand what motivates him in locating the primary causal responsibility for a thing's being what it is with the form, rather than the matter. According to Met. Theta.8, actuality [ energeia / entelecheia ] in general is prior (...)
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  26. Genericity and logical form.Kathrin Koslicki - 1999 - Mind and Language 14 (4):441–467.
    In this paper I propose a novel treatment of generic sentences, which proceeds by means of different levels of analysis. According to this account, all generic sentences (I-generics and D-generics alike) are initially treated in a uniform manner, as involving higher-order predication (following the work of George Boolos, James Higginbotham and Barry Schein on plurals). Their non-uniform character, however, re-emerges at subsequent levels of analysis, when the higher-order predications of the first level are cashed out in terms of quantification over (...)
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  27. The threat of thinking things into existence.Kathrin Koslicki - 2020 - In Luis R. G. Oliveira & Kevin Corcoran (eds.), Common Sense Metaphysics: Essays in Honor of Lynne Rudder Baker. New York, NY: Routledge. pp. 113-136.
    According to the account of artifacts developed by Lynne Rudder Baker, artifacts have a certain “proper function” essentially. The proper function of an artifact is the purpose or use intended for the artifact by its “author(s)”, viz., the artifact’s designer(s) and/or producer(s). Baker’s account therefore traces the essences of artifacts back indirectly to the intentions of an artifact’s original author (e.g., its inventor, maker, producer or designer). Like other “author-intention-based” accounts (e.g., those defended by Amie Thomasson, Simon Evnine, and others), (...)
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  28. Almost Indiscernible Objects and the Suspect Strategy.Kathrin Koslicki - 2005 - Journal of Philosophy 102 (2):55-77.
    This paper examines a variety of contexts in metaphysics which employ a strategy I consider to be suspect. In each of these contexts, ‘The Suspect Strategy’ (TSS) aims at excluding a series of troublesome contexts from a general principle whose truth the philosopher in question wishes to preserve. We see (TSS) implemented with respect to Leibniz’s Law (LL) in the context of Gibbard’s defense of contingent identity, Myro and Gallois’ defense of temporary identity, as well as Terence Parsons’ defense of (...)
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  29. Isolation and non-arbitrary division: Frege's two criteria for counting.Kathrin Koslicki - 1997 - Synthese 112 (3):403-430.
    In §54 of the Grundlagen, Frege advances an interesting proposal on how to distinguish among different sorts of concepts, only some of which he thinks can be associated with number. This paper is devoted to an analysis of the two criteria he offers, isolation and non-arbitrary division. Both criteria say something about the way in which a concept divides its extension; but they emphasize different aspects. Isolation ensures that a concept divides its extension into discrete units. I offer two construals (...)
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  30. Mereological Sums and Singular Terms.Kathrin Koslicki - 2014 - In Shieva Kleinschmidt (ed.), Mereology and Location. Oxford University Press. pp. 209-235.
    The relative merits of standard mereology have received quite a bit of attention in recent years from metaphysicians concerned with the part/whole properties of material objects. A question that has not been pursued to the same degree, however, is what sort of semantic repercussions a commitment to mereological sums in the standard sense might have in particular on the predicted behavior of singular terms and our practices of using such terms to refer to objects. The apparent mismatch between our actual (...)
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  31. In Defense of Substance.Kathrin Koslicki - 2015 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 91 (1):59-80.
    In his “Farewell to Substance: A Differentiated Leave-Taking”, Peter Simons reaches the provocative conclusion that the concept of substance, as it is employed by metaphysicians, has become obsolete, since in the end there may be nothing at all which answers to it. No harm is done, Simons allows, if we continue to retain an everyday notion of substance, as long as we are aware of the limitations of this practice: there is no reason in general to expect that what is (...)
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  32.  73
    Four-Eighths Hephaistos: Artifacts and Living Things in Aristotle.Kathrin Koslicki - 1997 - History of Philosophy Quarterly 14 (1):77 - 98.
    There is considerable dispute in the literature as to how much, in Aristotle's universe, living things and artifacts really have in common. To what extent is the relation between form and matter in living things comparable to the relation between form and matter in artifacts? Aristotle no doubt employs artifact-analogies rather frequently in describing the workings of living things. But where does the usefulness of these analogies reach its limits? In this paper, I argue that Aristotle's artifact-analogies are frequently over-extended (...)
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  33. Barry Schein.Marcelo Ferreira Copley, Elena Guerzoni, Martin Hackl, Elena Herburger, Jim Higginbotham, Norbert Homstein, Kathrin Koslicki, Utpal Lahiri, Richard Larson & Peter Ludlow - 2006 - In Barry C. Smith (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Language. Oxford University Press.
     
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  34.  44
    Artifacts and the Limits of Agentive Authority.Kathrin Koslicki - 2023 - In Miguel Garcia-Godinez (ed.), Thomasson on Ontology. Springer Verlag. pp. 209-241.
    Amie Thomasson and other proponents of author-intention-based accounts of artifacts hold that an artifact is what its original author(s) intended it to be. By contrast, according to the user-based framework developed by Beth Preston, an artifact’s function is determined by the practices of users and reproducers. In this chapter, I argue that both author-intention-based and user-based frameworks suffer from an overly agent-centric orientation: despite their many interesting differences, both approaches run into difficulties with scenarios in which the attitudes or dispositions (...)
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  35. Essentialism vs. Potentialism: Allies or Competitors?Kathrin Koslicki - 2022 - Philosophisches Jahrbuch 129 (2):325-338.
    Do essence-based accounts of necessity and Vetter’s potentiality-based account of possibility in fact lead to the same result, viz., a single derived notion of necessity that is interdefinable with possibility or vice versa? And does each approach independently have the ability to reach its desired goal without having to rely on the primitive notion utilized by the other? In this essay, I investigate these questions and Vetter’s responses to them. Contrary to the “separatist” position defended by Vetter, I argue that (...)
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  36. On the substantive nature of disagreements in ontology.Kathrin Koslicki - 2005 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 71 (1):85–151.
    This paper concerns a fundamental dispute in ontology between the “Foundational Ontologist”, who believes that there is only one correct way of characterizing what there is, and the ontological “Skeptic”, who believes that there are viable alternative characterizations of what there is. I examine in detail an intriguing recent proposal in Dorr (2005), which promises to yield (i) a way of interpreting the Skeptic by means of a counterfactual semantics; and (ii) a way of converting the Skeptic to a position (...)
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  37. Bemerkungen über Winfried Löfflers Kommentar.Kathrin Koslicki - 2020 - Zeitschrift Für Katholische Theologie 142:253–255.
    In this reply, I respond to points raised in Winfried Löffler's „Koslickis Metaontologie“ in connection with a book-symposium on _Form, Matter, Substance_ held at the University of Innsbruck in May 2019.
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  38. Bemerkungen über Christian Kanzians Kommentar.Kathrin Koslicki - 2020 - Zeitschrift Für Katholische Theologie 142:238–241.
    In this reply, I respond to points raised in Christian Kanzian's „Kommentar zu Kathrin Koslickis Form, Matter, Substance” in connection with a book-symposium on _Form, Matter, Substance_ held at the University of Innsbruck in May 2019.
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  39. Reply to Uwe Meixner.Kathrin Koslicki - 2020 - Zeitschrift Für Katholische Theologie 142:265–268.
    In this reply, I respond to points raised by Uwe Meixner in “Koslicki on Matter and Form” in connection with a book symposium on _Form, Matter, Substance_ held at the University of Innsbruck in May 2019.
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  40. Talk About Stuffs & Things: The Logic of Mass and Count Nouns.Kathrin Koslicki - 1995 - Dissertation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    My thesis examines the mass/count distinction; that is, to illustrate, the distinction between the role of "hair" in "There is hair in my soup" and "There is a hair in my soup". In "hair" has a mass-occurrence; in a count-occurrence. These two kinds of noun-occurrences, I argue, can be marked off from each other largely on syntactic grounds. Along the semantic dimension, I suggest that, in order to account for the intuitive distinction between nouns in their mass-occurrences and their singular (...)
     
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  41. Modality and essence in contemporary metaphysics.Kathrin Koslicki - 2024 - In Yitzhak Melamed & Samuel Newlands (eds.), Modality: A History. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
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  42.  56
    The Routledge Handbook of Essence in Philosophy.Kathrin Koslicki & Michael J. Raven (eds.) - 2024 - Routledge.
    Essences have been assigned important but controversial explanatory roles in philosophical, scientific, and social theorizing. Is it possible for the same organism to be first a caterpillar and then a butterfly? Is it impossible for a human being to transform into an insect like Gregor Samsa does in Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis? Is it impossible for Lot’s wife to survive being turned into a pillar of salt? Traditionally, essences (or natures) have been thought to help answer such central questions about (...)
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  43.  76
    Plato on Parts and Wholes. [REVIEW]Kathrin Koslicki - 2004 - Journal of Philosophy 101 (9):492-496.
  44. Review of Henry Laycock, Words Without Objects: Semantics, Ontology, and Logic for Non-Singularity. [REVIEW]Kathrin Koslicki - 2007 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 85 (1):160-163.
  45. Review of Theodore Sider, Four-Dimensionalism: An Ontology of Persistence and Time. [REVIEW]Kathrin Koslicki - 2003 - Philosophical Review 112 (1):110-113.
    How do the familiar concrete objects of common sense persist through time? The four-dimensionalist argues that they perdure, that is, they persist through time by having temporal parts at each of the times at which they exist. The three-dimensionalist, on the other hand, holds that ordinary concrete objects endure; they lack an additional temporal dimension and persist, instead, by being “wholly present” at each of the times at which they exist.
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