The Genealogy of Modes of Being
The goal of the project “The Genealogy of Modes of Being” is to reconstruct and critically assess the origins of the notion of mode of being, which has witnessed a significant revival in contemporary metaphysics. The project focusses on how the notion emerged in 19th- and 20th-century Austro-German philosophy from reflections on and reactions to Franz Brentano's analysis of Aristotle's doctrine that “Being is said in many ways”. To this aim, first, it will tackle head-on the painstaking analysis of Aristotle's relevant texts in order to find the best possible interpretation of his view (does it really imply the admission of modes of being or is it rather to be understood in a weaker sense, e.g. as a semantical, not an ontological, thesis?). Second, it will reconstruct Brentano's interpretation of Aristotle's doctrine in light of new Brentanian scholarship and assess its value both as a theory and as an interpretation of Aristotle. Third, it will provide a mapping and philosophical evaluation of the main views of modes of being (Seinsarten) held by the Austro-German philosophers influenced (directly or indirectly) by Brentano, with particular attention to Marty, Meinong, Husserl, Scheler, (N.) Hartmann, and Ingarden.Fourth, it will offer a philosophical evaluation of the historical credentials of the contemporary notion of mode of being (is this really the same idea that we find in Aristotle and/or in the Austro-German tradition, or not?).The main expected result of the project is that of producing a comprehensive mapping of the notion of mode of being that is both historically well-founded and theoretically alert. Such a result will be of great help to both historians of philosophy and philosophers interested in metaphysics. From the methodological point of view, moreover, the project will set new, higher standards to the genealogy of philosophical notions by insisting on the careful comparison between the theories in which these notions play a role rather than between isolated theses or lexical fields.