PhD Seminars held in Bratislava

04/03/2013 21:50

It's been a while we started running PhD seminars on any philosophical topic. Topic for this week is "Pre-theoretical Opinions in Metaphysics". We meet on Wednesday (6/3/2013). For more info, get in touch. Abstract below. 


When doing philosophical analysis, our starting opinions must be our starting-point (where else?), and so when we are trying to evaluate changes to our theories, we shall need to evaluate the plausibility of those changes from where we began. Our data – the input to analysis – consists of, broadly speaking, those general and jointly accepted pre-theoretical opinions that include our scientific as well as ordinary knowledge, naïve beliefs in dogs, tables and chairs, the beliefs that the grass is green, that I am writing this paper, the beliefs that chairs might have been otherwise arranged, that physics could have been otherwise, although logic could not. Simply, the Opinions are those claims that we believe to be true and any theory (of modality) should accommodate. On the other side, among our pre-philosophical opinions do not belong their philosophical counterparts, for example such opinions as grass instantiates the property of ‘being green’, that there is a possible world at which physics is different from the physics of the actual world or that there is no possible world such that there is a round square in it. Thus, for example, the Opinion that there are physical objects is different from an opinion that individuals are mind-independent entities. Similarly, the Opinion that there could have been talking donkeys is different from an opinion that there is a full-blooded talking donkey as a part of a possible world. The reason is that while the former opinions constitute our pre-philosophical knowledge, the latter are specific philosophical interpretations of them. It will be argued that without such a distinction, it’s very hard to formulate any metaphysical theory.