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Costa D.

Course director


Existence, Mereology and Grounding

What is the underlying structure of reality? Is there one? And what is reality after all? In this course, we will engage a few philosophical topics that revolve around such questions. More specifically, the course will be divided into three parts, devoted to the topics of existence, mereology, and grounding.

The main question of the first part will be: what is it for something to be - to exist? After introducing the contemporary mainstream view, according to which existence is univocal and fully captured by the unrestricted existential quantifier, we shall review some reasons to put it into question and explore some alternatives, including some accounts, old and new, of so called modes of being.

The second part will be devoted to the mereological structure of reality. Discussions about parts and wholes have always played a crucial role in philosophy. They play a crucial role in contemporary analytic philosophy too, where the mainstream view is arguably Classical Extensional Mereology (CEM). After reviewing CEM, here again we shall present philosophical reasons to put it into question.

The third part of the course will deal with the topics of dependence, grounding, and fundamentality. Since at least Aristotle, one of the key questions of philosophy has been what constitutes the core of reality - what is fundamental. In contemporary philosophy too, this question lies at the centre of the so called hyperintensional revolution. In this part, we shall focus on the notions of dependence, grounding and fundamentality, review the principles that are supposed to govern their behavior and the reasons that are usually invoked to argue that they are hyperintensional notions.

As such, this course will discuss some central questions of, and introduce students to advanced key instruments in, contemporary analytic metaphysics.