Organisation Florian Fischer (Bonn) and Sascha Hilgert (Bonn & Vienna) Everybody is welcome! If you want to participate please send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
The problem of change reconsidered Florian Fischer
Change consists in continuity and difference. According to Leibniz’ Law things which are identical have the same properties. This is in tension with the concept of change, where one and the same persisting object is supposed to have different, even incompatible properties. In this talk, I will discuss possible solutions to this conundrum. I will then take a step back and consider the set up of the modern debate. It seems like it is assumed that the (dis)solution of the contradiction is all there is to a theory of change. One could critically note that how the change is brought about is not considered. I will thus sketch some variants of (neo-)Aristotelian accounts of change as a contrast class.
Real change without primitive temporal operators Dan Deasy
Cian Dorr (Counterparts MS) suggests that propositional temporalists (according to whom there are propositions that are sometimes true and sometimes false) can accept popular semantic theories which posit explicit time variables in syntax by positing an unvoiced existential quantifier restricted to the one and only present instant. In that case, simple sentences like ‘Erdogan is a fool’ have a form along the lines of ‘∃t(Present(t) & Fool (Erdogan, t)’. Deasy (2015) builds on this idea in order to defend a version of the moving spotlight theory of time according to which (i) there is exactly one temporary fundamental property of presentness and (ii) there are no fundamental temporal operators. I describe three problems facing this view: one metaphysical, one semantic, and one logical. I also canvass some solutions to these problems.
Temporal dimensionality and tense within our experience Grasping succession with the help of Henri Bergson Sonja Deppe
Why is time so self-evidently given within our experience and yet so difficult to understand within theoretical thinking? I claim that succession, one core characteristic of time, provokes this tension between experience and theoretical analysis. I will show why and present a solution, both with the help of Henri Bergson. We will have a more detailed look at how the being-structured as successive of experienced events is to be understood. We will find that both, tense and dimensionality, are important aspects here. Those may seem to conflict within theoretical analysis but Bergson can help us out here.
Tensed facts and the tensed constitution of reality Moritz Rathjen
One way to state the debate between the tensed and the tenseless theory of time is in terms of the existence of facts. On this account, the tensed theory holds that there are tensed facts, the tenseless theory denies it. Furthermore, the tensed theory of time is taken to provide a different kind of change than the tenseless theory of time. A promising approach is to frame this kind of change as a feature of the constitution of reality. In this talk, I will present some variants of how this kind of change might be understood and argue that these variants fail to provide a different kind of change than the tenseless theory.
Determinism and causality in physics at the turn of the 20th century Marij Van Strien
At the start of the twentieth century, the role of causality in physics was criticized, notably by Ernst Mach, who argued that causes play no role in advanced sciences such as physics, and that physics deals with functions rather than with causes. However, I will show that he did hold on to a principle of causality or determinism in physics. Now, causality is an extremely heterogeneous concept, and around this time, it was often used as a synonym for determinism, which could be formulated in terms of laws; however, Mach rejected such determinism, or at least thought it was seriously limited. What he argued for was not so much an ontological principle, but rather a methodological principle or aim in science: one always has to look for regularities while doing scientific research. Similar conceptions (either called 'causality' or 'determinism') can be found in the work of other physicists at the time, including Boltzmann and Poincaré. I argue that for them, causality or determinism was about scientific method rather than about the world.
The disappearance of change Towards a process ontological solution of the persistence dilemma Anne Sophie Meincke
In my talk I shall argue that current accounts of persistence in metaphysics fail to the extent that they cannot make sense of persistence as entailing the possibility and reality of change. The two main competing views, endurantism and perdurantism, both rest upon the assumption that identity and change are essentially incompatible, which ultimately, one way or the other, results in eliminating change as a genuine part of reality. I shall demonstrate how the disappearance of change corrupts the concept of persistence in each case, leading the debate into the dilemma of either mystifying or eliminating persistence. Having identified a shared commitment to some version of thing ontology as the deeper common source of endurantism’s and perdurantism’s common failure, I shall show how switching to a process ontological framework allows for overcoming the dilemma of persistence by establishing a constructive relationship between identity and change rather than keeping them apart as enemies.