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The Metaphysics of Time and its Occupants: Reconciling the Manifest Image and Contemporary Science

English title The Metaphysics of Time and its Occupants: Reconciling the Manifest Image and Contemporary Science
Applicant Correia Fabrice
Number 157792
Funding scheme Temporary Backup Schemes
Research institution
Institution of higher education University of Neuchatel - NE
Main discipline Philosophy
Start/End 01.08.2015 - 31.10.2020
Approved amount 1'250'533.00
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Keywords (7)

Substance; Change; Metaphysics; Philosophy of science; Time; Grounding; Fundamentality

Lay Summary (French)

Lead
Nous pensons presque tous qu’il y a une différence objective entre ce qui est déjà passé, ce qui est présent et ce qui est encore à venir, que le temps s’écoule, et que l’univers est peuplé (entre autres) d’objets tridimensionnels qui changent à travers le temps tout en restant numériquement identiques. Ces idées de sens commun ont été sujettes à deux grands types d’attaques : des attaques sceptiques, qui mettent en doute l’intelligibilité même de ces idées, et des attaques basées sur la science, qui expliquent que notre conception ordinaire du temps et de ses habitants est réfutée par la physique contemporaine.
Lay summary

Contenu et objectifs

L’objectif du projet est de déterminer s’il est possible de défendre notre conception ordinaire du temps et de ses habitants contre ces deux types d’attaques. Le requérant principal a bon espoir qu’il est possible de le faire en employant une batterie d’outils conceptuels appropriés, à laquelle appartiennent des notions telles que celle de fondamentalité, de fondation, de réalité et de structure métaphysique. Il s’agira dans un premier temps de décrire avec précision la conception de sens commun et d’identifier et d’analyser les différentes attaques sceptiques et scientifiques contre cette conception, pour ensuite développer les outils conceptuels en question et les utiliser pour contrer ces attaques.

Contexte scientifique

Le projet se situe à un point de convergence entre deux lignes de recherche particulièrement actives depuis quelques années : (i) si les préoccupations de la philosophie des sciences ont été largement épistémologiques au 20ème siècle, elles se sont récemment nettement tournées vers la métaphysique, (ii) bien que l’emploi de notions telles que celles de fondamentalité, de fondation, etc. n’est pas nouveau dans les débats en philosophie des sciences et en métaphysique, la dernière décennie a été le témoin d’un véritable « boom » dans l’étude et l’application de ces notions, spécialement en métaphysique.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 13.05.2015

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Real Definitions
Correia F. (2017), Real Definitions, in Philosophical Issues, 52.
Back to Black
Calosi Claudio, Varzi Achille (2016), Back to Black, in Ratio, 29(1), 1-10.
Composition is Identity and Mereological Nihilism
Calosi Claudio (2016), Composition is Identity and Mereological Nihilism, in The Philosophical Quarterly, 66, 219-235.
Composition, Identity and Emergence
Calosi Claudio (2016), Composition, Identity and Emergence, in Logic and Logical Philosophy, 25, 429-443.
Humean Supervenience, Composition as Identity and Quantum Wholes
Calosi Claudio, Morganti Matteo (2016), Humean Supervenience, Composition as Identity and Quantum Wholes, in Erkenntnis, 81(6), 1173-1194.
On the Logic of Factual Equivalence
Correia F. (2016), On the Logic of Factual Equivalence, in Review of Symbolic Logic, 9, 103.
Relativity and three four-dimensionalism
Calosi Claudio, Gilmore Cody, Costa Damiano (2016), Relativity and three four-dimensionalism, in Philosophy Compass, 11(2), 102-120.
Logical Grounding and First-Degree Entailments
Correia F. (2015), Logical Grounding and First-Degree Entailments, in Lapointe S. (ed.), Brill Rodopi, Leiden, Boston, 3.
Presentism without Presentness
Correia F. & Rosenkranz S. (2015), Presentism without Presentness, in Thought: A Journal of Philosophy, 4, 19.
Return of the Living Dead: Reply to Braddon-Mitchell
Correia F. & Rosenkranz S. (2015), Return of the Living Dead: Reply to Braddon-Mitchell, in Oxford Studies in Metaphysics, 9, 376.
An Elegant Universe
Calosi Claudio, An Elegant Universe, in Synthese, 1.
An Impure Logic of Representational Grounding
Correia F., An Impure Logic of Representational Grounding, in Review of Symbolic Logic.
Grounding, Essence, and Identity
Correia F. & Skiles A., Grounding, Essence, and Identity, in Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
On the Possibility of Submergence
Calosi Claudio, On the Possibility of Submergence, in Analysis, 1.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Philosophy of Time Society United States of America (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
SNF project "Grounding-Metaphysics, Science and Logic" (Universities of Hamburg & Neuchâtel) Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
- Exchange of personnel
Centre for Time (University of Sidney) Australia (Oceania)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
eidos, the Centre for Metaphysics Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
- Exchange of personnel
Templeton project "Space and Time After Quantum Gravity" (U. of Illinois at Chicago & U. of Geneva) United States of America (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Exchange of personnel
European Commission ITN DIAPHORA Spain (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Centro Interuniversitario di Ricerca in Filosofia e Fondamenti della Fisica Italy (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Society for the Philosophy of Time Germany (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Center for the Philosophy of Time (University of Milan) Italy (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Research Infrastructure
- Exchange of personnel

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Ground, Essence and Modality Talk given at a conference Real Definitions 08.06.2017 Helsinki, Finland Correia Fabrice;
Colloque de Recherche, Institut de philosophie Individual talk Tense Realism in Relativistic Spacetime 30.05.2017 Neuchâtel, Switzerland Correia Fabrice;
The Physics and Phenomenology of Time Talk given at a conference Enduring Problems of Location 06.04.2017 University of Rome3, Italy Calosi Claudio;
Center for the Philosophy of Time Colloquia Individual talk Enduring Problems of Location 15.03.2017 University of Milan, Italy Calosi Claudio;
The Metaphysics of Quantities Talk given at a conference Quantum Metaphysical Indeterminacy 01.02.2017 University of Lugano, Switzerland Calosi Claudio;
Objects, Qualities, Structures Talk given at a conference Quantum Metaphysical Indeterminacy 17.01.2017 University of Bergamo, Italy Calosi Claudio;
Composition, Identity and Emergence Individual talk Composition, Identity and Emergence 10.01.2017 University of Tuebingen, Germany Calosi Claudio;
Composition in Physics Individual talk Composition in Physics 10.01.2017 University of Tuebingen, Germany Calosi Claudio;
Algebraic Generalism and Weak individualism Individual talk Algebraic Generalism and Weak individualism 15.12.2016 University of Tuebingen, Germany Calosi Claudio;
Kinds of Indeterminacy Talk given at a conference Quantum Metaphysical Indeterminacy 11.11.2016 University of Geneva, Switzerland Calosi Claudio;
Metaphysics of Entanglement Invited Speakers Talks Individual talk Essence as Generalised Identity and Real Definition 26.10.2016 Oxford, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Correia Fabrice;
2nd Conference of the Society for the Metaphysics of Science Talk given at a conference Quantum Mechanical Monism 15.09.2016 University of Geneva, Switzerland Calosi Claudio;
SIFA XII Conference Talk given at a conference Stages, Shapes, and Fundamentality 13.09.2016 Pistoia (University of Florence), Italy Neeser Benjamin;
Composition in Physics Talk given at a conference Entanglement, Composition and Emergence 08.09.2016 University of Leeds, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Calosi Claudio;
Summer School in Philosophy of Physics: Many Worlds Interpretations Talk given at a conference O World of Many Worlds 07.09.2016 University of Urbino, Italy Calosi Claudio;
Vth Italian Conference in Analytic Ontology Talk given at a conference Composition, Identity and Emergence 27.06.2016 University of Padova, Italy Calosi Claudio;
Vth Italian Conference in Analytic Ontology Talk given at a conference The Many as Modes of the Wave 27.06.2016 University of Padova, Italy Calosi Claudio;
Inaugural Conference Eastern European Network for the Philosophy of Science Talk given at a conference Quantum Mechanical Monism 24.06.2016 New Bulgarian University, Sofia, Bulgaria Calosi Claudio;
Humboldt Workshop on the History of Ground Talk given at a conference A Logic for Relative Fundamentality (and Grounding) 07.06.2016 Helsinki, Finland Correia Fabrice;
Colloquium Series, Department of Philosophy Individual talk Real Definitions 02.06.2016 Berne, Switzerland Correia Fabrice;
Departmental colloquium Individual talk Through Worlds and Times Alike: A Counterpart-Theoretic Account of Persistence 14.04.2016 University of Aberdeen, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Neeser Benjamin;
Workshop Individual talk Quantum Mechanical Monism and Dependence 18.01.2016 University of Padova, Italy Calosi Claudio;
Colloque de Recherche, Institut de philosophie Individual talk There’s No Time Like the Present (And Yet Time Flows) 01.12.2015 Neuchâtel, Switzerland Correia Fabrice;
Seminar of Invited Speakers, Master in Cognitive Science Individual talk There’s No Time Like the Present (And Yet Time Flows) 08.10.2015 Neuchâtel, Switzerland Correia Fabrice;
Logical and Metaphysical Perspectives on Grounding Talk given at a conference The Formalities of Representational Grounding 18.09.2015 Osnabrück, Germany Correia Fabrice;


Self-organised

Title Date Place
4th Meeting of the International Association for the Philosophy of Time 12.06.2017 Gargnano (University of Milan), Italy
'Grounding the Quantum World' Workshop 19.09.2016 University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland
'Spacetime and Fundamentality' Workshop 17.06.2016 University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland
Yuri Balashov in Geneva: 'Relativistic Supercoincidence' 17.12.2015 University of Geneva, Switzerland
Neuchâtel Time Reading Group (weekly meetings) 01.09.2015 University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland

Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Talks/events/exhibitions Introduction to Philosophy of Time (high school summer school) International 2017

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
181088 The Metaphysics of Quantum Objects 01.01.2020 Eccellenza fellowship
181493 All Things Must Pass: Ordinary Objects in a Relativistic World 01.09.2018 Doc.Mobility
150289 The Nature of Existence: Neglected Questions at the Foundations of Ontology 01.11.2013 Project funding (Div. I-III)
147685 Grounding - Metaphysics, Science, and Logic 01.12.2013 Sinergia

Abstract

Our representation of the world around us is one according to which the universe is full of things (people, mountains, chairs, etc.) which persist and change through time while remaining numerically the same, as well as of events and processes (wars, weddings, sunrises, etc.) of various sorts involving these things. This representation involves the determinations of things, events or processes as being past, present or future, together with the view that time flows in a well-determined direction. In addition, some of us believe that only present entities can be said to really exist; others believe that past things, events and processes also deserve that qualification; few think that future entities do.Our common representation of the world thus involves two central theses, one about time and one about its occupants: (A) There is a distinction between past, present and future, and this distinction marks an ontological asymmetry as opposed to an asymmetry in the way we have cognitive access to our environment. Moreover, time passes or flows, what is present will become past, and what is past will become even more so. (B) Time is occupied both by events and things, the former unfolding along the temporal dimension and the latter persisting and changing through time while remaining numerically the same.These two theses - as well as the question of the reality of past and future entities, which largely presupposes them - have for a long time been the subject of philosophical debate. And with the relatively recent renaissance of metaphysical concerns within philosophy, they are again among the widely debated topics. Recently, these theses have been subject to a form of scepticism, which purports to show that the very distinctions they explicitly endorse or at least presuppose are in fact illusory. Even if it is granted that the relevant distinctions do make sense, a number of arguments taken from science - especially contemporary physics - have been put forward against the commonsensical views. These arguments raise a general question: What, in general, is the relation between the “fundamental” facts uncovered by science, especially physics, and the “Moorean” world of commonsense?The aim of this project is twofold: first, to argue, against the sceptical stances, that the distinctions in question are robust; and second, to assess the prospects of a reconciliation of contemporary science and commonsense. The view, which the main investigator plans to substantiate within this project, is that both aims may be achieved in terms of relevant concepts of “fundamentality”, “grounding”, “what is really the case” and cognate notions.The project is remarkably located at a point of convergence of two recent trends, one in the philosophy of science and the other one in metaphysics: (i) philosophers of science take more and more seriously proper metaphysical inquiry, in contrast with the fact that it has been mainly concerned with epistemological issues throughout its development, and (ii) although the use of the concept of fundamentality in the debate at stake is not completely novel, of course, the past decade has witnessed a literal “boom” in the study and the application of these notions within metaphysics.The topic of fundamentality in science and philosophy is central, but underexplored, and is currently attracting much interest. Beyond its immediate impact on metaphysics, it is used virtually every sub-discipline of philosophy. It is widely believed that truths with which ethics, aesthetics, political philosophy, philosophy of language, mind, or mathematics are concerned with are in some sense derivative, i.e. non-fundamental. Thus a new conception of what it is to be fundamental could potentially influence the way these sub-disciplines conceive of, and pursue, their subject-matter.Most importantly for this project, however, the concept of fundamentality may provide the conceptual tools needed to reconcile the claims of fundamental science about how the world is fundamentally with how we ordinarily conceive it to be. The reconciliation project is of the highest importance not just for philosophy and the natural sciences individually, but also for the broader issue of making fundamental science accountable to society.The research group will be composed of the main investigator, a post-doc and a PhD student, who will work in close cooperation at all stages of the project. Both the application of the notion of fundamentality to the reconciliation project and its characterisation will be pursued simultaneously, thereby investigating its logic both “top-down” and “bottom-up”. The research of the project members will be bolstered by their integration within the research environment provided by the centre of metaphysics eidos (http://www.philosophie.ch/eidos/), directed by the main investigator and Kevin Mulligan (Geneva), which has been very active since the beginning of its existence seven years ago, and has over the years gained international visibility and respect.The concrete output of the project is expected to consist in (a) a considerable output of publications in top-level international journals, (b) international scientific events (2 workshops or 1 bigger conference per year) to benefit from the feedback by researchers working in the area and to promote the results of the research, (c) a PhD completed, (d) a strengthening of already existing scientific collaboration between the main investigator and his team and other groups or people, in Switzerland and abroad, and hopefully the creation of new collaborations.
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