2. Fudan-trifft-Hamburg Workshop
2. Fudan-trifft Hamburg Workshop
- Zeit: 27. und 28. Oktober 2017
- Ort: Sitzungssaal des Akademischen Senats (AS-Saal), Hauptgebäude der UHH (Edmund-Siemers-Allee 1).
- Lageplan AS-Saal
- Organisatoren: Dr. Sonja Schierbaum, Prof. Dr. Stephan Schmid, Prof. Dr. Benjamin Schnieder
- Sprecher: Dr. Ana Laura Edelhoff (University of Hamburg), Prof. Malcom Forster (Shanghai), Prof. Eberhard Guhe (Fudan University), Prof. Stephan Schmid (University of Hamburg), Dr. Sonja Schierbaum (University of Hamburg), Prof. Benjamin Schnieder (University of Hamburg), Dr. Ju Wang (Fudan University)
|10:15||Eberhard Guhe (Shanghai)||An Indian Quasi-Fregean Theory of Number|
The theory of number in classical Indian philosophy is basically a theory concerning the reference of number words associated with mental acts of counting. Thus, it takes its cue from the analysis of natural language (i.e., Sanskrit), but it has also important logical, ontological and epistemological implications. Two schools were mainly involved in fabricating an Indian theory of number, namely Vaiśes.ika and Ny ̄aya (early Ny ̄aya and Navya-Ny ̄aya).
In Sanskrit as in English number words can be used adjectivally. In “There are nine planets” and “The planets are nine”, e.g., “nine” is used attributively or predicatively, respectively, and it has the same function as an adjective. However, in Sanskrit words for cardinal numbers are used adjectivally as well as substantivally. The ontological account of numbers in Vaiśes.ika, early Ny ̄aya and Navya-Ny ̄aya is closer to the substantival use of number words, which is especially relevant to mathematics. Mathematicians talk about num- bers as individuals and they commonly identify them with certain sets. In classical Indian philosophy numbers have not been reduced to sets. They were rather regarded as properties. Their reified character is reflected in ab- stract nouns like ekatva (“oneness”), dvitva (“twoness”), tritva (“threeness”) etc., which were used to denote the ontological correlates of number words.
A very interesting account of the reference of number words in Navya- Ny ̄aya was given by Maheśa Chandra (1836 – 1906), principal of the Sanskrit College in Kolkata between 1876 and 1895. In 1891 he published his Brief Notes on the Modern Ny ̄aya System of Philosophy and its Technical Terms (hereafter abbreviated as BN), a manual on Navya-Nya ̄ya terminology. De- spite its English title BN is a Sanskrit work. In the section on “number” (sam. khy ̄a) Maheśa Chandra presents a theory of number which can account for both, the adjectival and the substantival use of number words in Sanskrit. Daniel H. H. Ingalls once noted that Maheśa Chandra’s ideas about the reference of number words are close to Frege’s theory of natural number, although there is no theory of sets in Navya-Ny ̄aya. However, the Navya- Naiy ̄ayikas do have a realist theory of properties (dharma) and their theory of number is a theory of properties as constituents of empirical reality, anchored to their system of ontological categories. As shown by George Bealer, properties can serve the same purpose as sets in Frege’s theory of natural number. In the present paper we will explore the momentousness of Maheśa Chandra’s approach, especially with regard to the possibility to derive a ma- thematically precise definition of natural number, which is close to Bealer’s neo-Fregean analysis.
|11:45||Ju Wang (Shanghai)
||Scepticism, intellectual consciences, and the Nature of Rational Inquiry|
|Scepticism is intellectually worrying. In its Agrippa’s form, the possibility of justified belief is questioned. In its contemporary Cartesian form, the possibility of external knowledge is challenged. In both forms, the sceptic poses the challenge by implicitly invoking the notion ‘epistemic responsibility’. It is assumed that we cannot truly be epistemically responsible unless we continue to do what we ordinarily do, albeit in a philosophically purified way. In this sense, sceptics are said to live with our intellectual consciences. Although prima facie admirable, sceptics misunderstand, I shall argue, the nature of rational inquiry. There is a difference in kind between ordinary epistemic evaluations and sceptical evaluations. A Wittgensteinian approach vividly illustrates what the nature of rational inquiry is. We are therefore shown the necessary conditions for rational evaluations. By doing so, a diagnosis as to why scepticism appears admirable and tempting but turns out to be wrong can be provided.|
|14.30||Stephan Schmid (Hamburg)||Varieties of Early Modern Scepticism|
|Richard Popkin famously argued that early modern scepticism was due to a “Pyrrhonian crisis”, which lead to a “nouveau pyrrhonisme”. Against this, I contend that the most famous examples of early modern scepticism – Descartes’s doubts about the external world and Hume’s doubts about causality – are crucially different from the project described in Sextus’s Outlines of Pyrrhonism and thus decisively non-Pyrrhonian varieties of scepticism. What is more, Hume’s and Descartes’s varieties of scepticism also differ among themselves insofar as Hume’s scepticism, unlike Descartes’s, calls into doubt the possibility to have meaningful thoughts in the first place.|
|16.15||Malcom Forster (Shanghai)||Towards a Unified Metaphysics of Causation|
|The structural theory of causation (a.k.a. Bayes causal nets) has been sweeping the sciences during the past few years, and it’s beginning the dominate discussions of causation amongst philosophers as well. It posits causal relations between variables (in a causal diagram called a Directed Acyclic Graph or DAG), where a variable is (roughly) a set of possible events described by a logical partition of propositions (a mutually exclusive and exhaustive set of propositions). Causal relata are not actual events on the structural view, but variables, which have a modal character (exactly one event in a partition is actual, and the rest are counterfactual). Surprisingly, questions about the metaphysics of variables and causal relations (so construed) have not yet been widely discussed. The aim of the talk is to show how causal relations between variables supervene on causal relations between events. This will allow me to explain the central axiom of the structural theory, the Causal Markov Condition, and explain what it implies, and does not imply, about the relationship between event causation and counterfactual dependence. This is a small step towards a unified metaphysics of causation.|
|10.15||Ana Laura Edelhoff (Hamburg)||Aristotle on Ontological Priority|
Aristotle thinks that reality has an ordered structure with entities belonging to different categories and standing in different dependence relations. In his metaphysical works, most importantly the Categories and the Metaphysics, he aims to account for this structure by providing criteria for ontological priority (in his terminology: “priority in substance” [proteron kata ousian] or “priority in nature” [proteron tēi phusei ]). The notion of ontological priority is, accordingly, central forunderstanding Aristotle’s metaphysics, and is closely linked many other important notions, such as “substance” (ousia ) and “separation” (chōrismos ).
According to the traditional interpretation of Aristotle’s account of ontological priority, he uses a so-called modal-existential account of priority, according to which A is ontologically prior to B, iff necessarily, B’s existence implies A’s existence, but not necessarily, A’s existence implies B’s existence. In light of various criticisms levelled against the modal-existential account of ontological priority, a new so-called essentialist reading of ontological priority has been proposed, according to which A is ontologically prior to B, iff “B makes A what it is”, but not conversely.
In this paper I argue that both readings share a problematic presupposition, namely that Aristotle uses “einai” (being) univocally in statements about priority. I show that there are cases where Aristotle uses different meanings of “einai” even within the same statement about priority. I argue that, in most passages, priority is best understood as asymmetric existential dependence. However, there are some passages that are more plausibly read as expressing what I will call “asymmetric predicative dependence”.
|11.45||Benjamin Schnieder (Hamburg)||tbd|
|14.30||Sonja Schierbaum (Hamburg)||What Kinds of Reasons? – An Early Modern Conception|
|My modest, interpretative aim in this talk is to make sense of Christian August Crusius’s (1715-1775) distinction of kinds of reasons, especially the – curious – distinction between what he calls reasons of “physical existence” and of “moral existence” in the light of his overall, voluntaristic project: Crusius holds that the possibility of acting morally good (or bad) presupposes the freedom of will, that is, the possible choice of alternative actions in one and the same situation. This implies, however, that morally binding or obligational reasons – reasons why one should do something – are not determinant. Thus one Crusius’s central concerns is to answer the question of what the „strength“ of a morally binding reason cosnsits in. His point is that morally binding reasons get their „strength“ only in relation to ends of actions, that is, in relation to what an agent wills. I want to show that ultimately – although somewhat unfortunate in his terminology – Crusius attempts to account for the obligational force of moral reasons in a way compatible with his voluntaristic stance. The question is whether he succeeds or not.|