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Logic&Meta: Shamik Dasgupta
November 9, 2015 @ 4:15 pm - 6:15 pm
The Logic and Metaphysics Workshop for the Fall Semester will start at the end of August. The New York Logic and Philosophy Group will no longer exist as a separate entity, but will be absorbed into the Workshop.
The Logic & Metaphysics workshop is organized by Graham Priest.
Shamik Dasgupta, Princeton
Monday 9 November, 4.15-6.15
Room C196.06, Graduate Center, CUNY. [In the basement of the Library]
How to be a Relationalist
Philosophers and physicists have entertained “relationalist” views about a number of domains. Examples include the view that motion is fundamentally relative (not absolute), that quantities like mass are fundamentally relational (not intrinsic), and others besides. These relationalist views all entail a restricted possibility space: that there is no distinction between worlds agreeing on relative motions, that there is no distinction between worlds agreeing on all mass relations, and so on. This restricted possibility space is often considered a virtue, but some have argued that it is a vice. In particular, it has been argued that an adequate physical theory of observed phenomena requires drawing distinctions between possibilities that the relationalist cannot recognize (Newton’s bucket argument is just one example of this kind of argument). In response, I suggest that the relationalist distinguish between different senses of possibility. Relationalist views do indeed imply a restricted possibility space, but not in the same sense of “possibility” in which the relationalist should couch her physical theorizing. If that is right, then relationalist views can offer adequate physical theories after all. The challenge is to clearly articulate these different senses of “possibility”, and I will make a start at doing so.