John Marenbon. Facts and States of Affairs in the Middle Ages. Many medieval Latin thinkers held that, in addition to the signification of their individual words, assertoric sentences signify items of a special sort, called variously dicta (Abelard), enuntiabilia (later twelfth and thirteenth-century authors) or complexe significabilia (fourteenth century), which are close to what we now call ‘facts’ or ‘states of affairs’. There was a lively debate about their metaphysical status. My course will examine this debate, from Aristotle, Boethius and Anselm, Abelard and the thirteenth-century writers, Ockham, Burley, Buridan, Gregory of Rimini, Wyclif and going on up to c. 1600. I shall also consider what discussion, if any, of this theme took place in Byzantine, Arabic and Jewish philosophy
Tim Crane & Kati Farkas. Intentionality and existence. This course will examine the central philosophical questions about intentionality or mental representation, and how they relate to the problems of existence. Intentionality is at the heart of the philosophy of mind, along with consciousness (to which it is closely connected). One of the most difficult and persistent philosophical problems here is that intentionality seems to be a relation between the subject and the object of thought; but how can this be, if intentional mental states such as thinking, desiring, willing and perceiving can concern what does not exist? The course divides into two parts: the first will examine this problem in detail, specifically in relation to the various concepts of being and existence as they developed in the 20th and 21st century philosophy. The second part will consider the various kinds of intentional phenomena and the similarities and differences between them – for example, the similarities and differences between conscious thought and perception.
Kit Fine. Grounding. Some things hold in virtue of others. A thing is colored, for example, in virtue of its being red and it is raining or snowing in virtue of the fact that it is raining. More controversially, it might be thought that all mental facts hold in virtue of the physical facts or all evaluative facts in virtue of descriptive facts. The concept of ground - of one thing holding in virtue of others - has become a central concern of contemporary metaphysics and a great deal of recent work has been done in explicating the concept and in developing its application to a wide variety of fields. In this course, we will look at some of this work and some of its historical antecedents. The main text will be the Routledge Handbook on ground, which will be supplemented by a number of articles on more specific topics.
Martine Nida- Rümelin. Qualia. The ontological status of consciousness is a central topic of contemporary philosophy of mind. What distinguishes experiencing subjects from mere things (things without consciousness)? Experiencing subjects are, by their nature, capable of undergoing experiences and to undergo experiences is to instantiate a special kind of properties, experiential properties, as we may call them. We will explore what experiential properties are and how they are related to the physical world; and we will try to understand if and if so why experiencing subjects belong to their own ontological category. Reflection about these issues may help gaining insights leading to a deeper understanding of why experiencing subjects deserve a special kind of respect which is different from the appreciation of value in mere things.