Meetings

[TRANSLATOR’S NOTE: We will soon add links to the remainder of handouts, texts, and audio recordings from the meetings.]

Summary of the Meetings

Original French audio recordings from many of the meetings, occasionally including discussion, are available on the original site, though we will link to these recordings below for those who can entendre le français.

Meeting 1 (Raphaël Millière)

The meeting was devoted to the introduction to the seminar, and to an introductory lecture on the history and the inter-definition of metaphysics and ontology. The short discussion which followed principally concerned the problem of unity in metaphysics, and the problem of an historical point of view as well as of a doctrinal point of view in the framework of the “fragmentation of problems”, which results from the analytic method.

Lecture handout

Meeting 2 (Michele Salimbeni)

The meeting had consisted in an introduction to David Lewis’ modal realism. The principle features of this controversial and influential theory were presented. The discussion had principally concerned the Humean occurrence (in particular on the relation between the points of space-time and the qualities which appear on these points), the existence of immaterial possible worlds, plenitude, transword causality, and, finally, the (meta-ontological) justification of the hypothesis of modal realism.

Lecture handout
Audio recording of the lecture in French

Meeting 3 (Michele Salimbeni)

During this meeting, Michele Salimbeni had detailed some important features of Lewisian modal realism. He had especially clarified the refusal of transworld identity, and the corollary question of counterparts. The axioms of Lewisian semantics were examined (cf. Handout). The discussion had concerned: the problem of the mode of knowledge of possible worlds; the fallacious character of the analogy with Galileo and with the mathematician; the problem of the so-called reductionist utilization of mereology; the problem of the relation of similarity between counterparts.

Lecture handout
Audio recording of the lecture in French
Audio recording of the discussion in French

Meeting 4 (Thibaut Giraud)

This meeting was devoted to the combinatorialist approach of modality, from its Tractatusian origins in Wittgenstein, by way of its rigorous development in Carnap, up to its recent recuperation in David Armstrong. The method and principal difficulties of combinatorialism were presented, by placing the accent on the power of Armstrongian ontology. The discussion concerned the question of negative states of things and of “fictive verifactors” [“vérifacteurs fictifs”], the problems connected to the adoption of the model of first-order logic (impossibility of giving an account of the contradiction, the vague, etc.), the question of rules and postulates of significations, and the problem in Armstrong of the impossibility of giving a concrete example of the state of things symbolized by “Fa”.

Lecture handout
Audio recording of the lecture in French
Audio recording of the discussion in French

Meeting 5 (Michele Salimbeni)

The meeting was devoted to the recent work of Takashi Yagisawa, Worlds and Individuals, which defends a form of heterodox modal realism, admitting both transworld individuals and impossible worlds. The discussion concerned the difficulties and the points of indecisiveness of this theory, in particular the existence of “modal parts” of individuals analogous to the temporal parts of four-dimensionialists, and, correlatively, an eventual “fifth modal dimension”.

Lecture handout
Audio recording of the meeting in French

Meeting 6 (Yann Schmitt)

The meeting concerned the actualist and abstractionist theories of modality, and their advantages in relation to the concretist theories like that of Lewis. The relations between essence and modality (Fine and Lowe) were also examined. The questions concerned the problems connected to the determination of essential properties and the substitution of the essential properties for an irreducible essence, the difficulties of the admission of the difference between each particular and all the others on account of essential properties (against Fine), and the place of fictive objects in abstractionist theories.

Text of the lecture (© Yann Schmitt)
Audio recording of the lecture in French
Audio recording of the discussion in French

Meeting 7 (Martin Fortier)

The meeting was devoted to a critical summary of Quentin Meillassoux’s After Finitude. The ensemble of the argumentative progression of this short, but extremely dense book was covered, paying particular attention to the method of the author, and to its weaknesses. The discussion concerned: the relation of Meillassoux to analytic philosophy, the diverse problems connected to the utilization of Cantor’s theorem and to the probabilistic reflection on an infinite set, the distinction of thinking and the possible, the suspicions of self-refutation, the weakness of the demonstration of the principle of non-contradiction.

Lecture handout
Audio recording of the lecture in French
Audio recording of the discussion in French

Meeting 8 (Martin Fortier)

The meeting was organized around two objectives: on the one hand, the analysis of the isolation of an absolute in Quentin Meillassoux’s After Finitude, and, on the other hand, the critique of this procedure with an eye to isolating a more authentic absolute. The discussion concerned the status of the pragmatic contradiction of dogmatic realism in After Finitude, the refutation of strong correlationism by speculative materialism, as well as the theses supported by Martin Fortier: how is his solution a complete scepticism, even a quietism? What role does he accord to the concept of truth? What is the sense of the concept of absolute? Can one admit the practical consequences which had been evoked at the end of the lecture?

Lecture handout
Audio recording of the lecture in French
Audio recording of the discussion in French

Meeting 9 (Michele Salimbeni)

This meeting was devoted to Michele Salimbeni’s research on a modal theory of perception. It was punctuated with extracts of films by Antonioni, Welles, and Michele Salimbeni himself, who is also a director.

Audio recording of the lecture in French
Audio recording of the discussion in French

Meeting 10 (Thibaut Giraud and Raphaël Millière)

The double meeting was devoted to the thorny question of contingency by insisting on the problems that it raises in temporal logic and in modal logic. The first lecture was devoted to the problem of future contingents, from Aristotle and the dominant argument of Diodorus Cronus to the different systems of temporal logic of A.N. Prior. The second lecture evaluated the problem of the “necessitarianist” orientation of standard quantified modal logic and the different ways that one can respond to it.

Lecture handout by Raphaël Millière on the future contingents
Lecture handout by Thibaut Giraud on contingency in quantified modal logic
Audio recording of Raphaël Millière’s lecture in French
Audio recording of Thibaut Giraud’s lecture in French

Meeting 11 (Raphaël Millière)

This meeting was devoted to the canonical question of Western metaphysics since Leibniz: “Why is there something rather than nothing?” The lecture covered the contemporary treatment of the question, by insisting on its modal reformulations. The complete text of the lecture is available below.

Complete text of the lecture
Audio recording of the lecture in French
Audio recording of the discussion in French

Meeting 12 (Louis Morelle)

Louis Morelle presented a wide-ranging synthesis of the current that one has the habit of subsuming under the label “speculative realism”. He had above all insisted on Graham Harman’s object-oriented ontology, in the presence of Harman, who had shared a few words on his perspective. Tristan Garcia, also present, had also given his point of view during the discussion.

Complete text of the lecture
Audio recording of the lecture in French (Harman’s intervention is found at the end.)
Audio recording of the discussion in French

Meeting 13 (Thibaut Giraud)

Thibaut Giraud presented on the text of K. Mulligan, P. Simons and B. Smith, “Truth-Makers”.

Lecture handout
Audio recording of the lecture and discussion in French

Meeting 14 (Victor Béguin and Olga Kobenko)

Victor Béguin presented on Stanislas Breton’s original work, and in particular on his work Du Principe where he develops a new metaphysics of the principle. Olga Kobenko presented on the polymorphous and misunderstood work of Alexei Losev, a Russian philosopher of Soviet times close to phenomenology and neo-Platonism.

Complete text of Victor Béguin’s lecture
Audio recording of Victor Béguin’s lecture in French
Audio recording of Olga Kobenko’s lecture in French

Meeting 15 (Baptiste Le Bihan)

Baptiste Le Bihan introduced the primary debates on the contemporary philosophy of time, by insisting on the importance of McTaggart’s distinction between A-series and B-series to classify the different present-day positions.

Meeting 16 (Raphaël Millière)

The intervention consisted in an introduction to the study of the topology of time, by picking up the classic work of William Newton-Smith (The Structure of Time, 1980).

Complete text of the lecture

Meeting 17 (Collective)

Collective meeting on the distinction between endurantism and perdurantism, and on the question of temporal parts.

Meeting 18 (Frédéric Nef)

Meeting on the theory of tropes and D.C. Williams’ text, “The Elements of Being”

Meeting 19 (Raphaël Millière)

The meeting consisted in an general introduction to the ontology of Roman Ingarden.

Complete text of the lecture
Audio recording of the lecture in French

Meeting 20 (Patricia Limido-Heulot)

Patricia Limido-Heulot presented the theme of the bearer of property in Ingarden.

Lecture handout
Audio recording of the lecture in French

Meeting 21 (Thibaut Giraud)

First meeting on neo-Meinongianism: historical reminders and general introduction.

Lecture handout
Audio recording of the first part of the lecture in French
Audio recording of the second part of the lecture in French

Meeting 22 (Thibaut Giraud)

Second meeting on neo-Meinongianism: Edward Zalta’s theory, introduction and applications.

Lecture handout
Audio recording of the lecture in French

Meeting 23 (Tristan Garcia)

Reworking the theses of Twardowski, then of the Meinong of the Gegenstandtheorie, we will identify a metaphysical position elaborated by some of Brentano’s disciples, at the turn of twentieth century: the defense of a weak ontological constraint, resulting in a conception of the object on this side of being. The formulation of this weak ontological constraint is the following: “There are objects of which it is true to say that there are not such objects.”
Establishing that it is, on the contrary, the defense of a strong ontological constraint, identified with the principle of non-contradiction, which had become orthodoxy in the great analytic tradition, after Russell’s attacks against Meinong, we propose to bring together the ideal of an ultra-welcoming tinology and the weak ontological constraint. Having done this, however, we will not accept the integrality of the Meinongian program or neo-Meinongian program (Edward N. Zalta, Richard Sylvan). Localizing three residual ontological constraints in the Gegenstandtheorie (the object linked to representation or to knowledge; a rigid spatio-temporal framework; a hierarchical classification), we will open up to discussion the program of another theory of the object, which would allow giving sense back to a veritable de-determination of entities. With that aim in mind, we will distinguish especially with care the thing (equivalent to the etwas or to the aliquid) and the object, by progressively introducing some theses of our recently published work, Forme et objet. un traité des choses.

Text of the lecture
Audio recording of the lecture in French

Meeting 24 (Anna Zielinska)

This meeting consisted in an introduction to Kotarbinski’s reism.

Lecture handout

Meeting 25 (Bogdan Rusu)

This meeting was devoted to Bradley and to his famous argument against relations, too often distorted in the analytic tradition.

Audio recording of the lecture in French
Audio recording of the discussion in French

Meeting 26 (Nicolas Liabeuf)

This meeting consisted in an introduction to classical extensional mereology, and to some of its ontological stakes.

[Translated by Mark Ohm.]

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