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Properties and relations

English title Properties and relations
Applicant Mulligan Kevin
Number 118626
Funding scheme ProDoc
Research institution Département de Philosophie Faculté des Lettres Université de Genève
Institution of higher education University of Geneva - GE
Main discipline Philosophy
Start/End 01.10.2007 - 31.10.2010
Approved amount 304'670.00
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Keywords (11)

properties; metaphysics; meta-metaphysics; meta-philosophy; ontology; aesthetics; relations; roles; essence; modality; exemplification

Lay Summary (English)

Lay summary
In recent years, metaphysics has become a focal point of philosophical research. It has received special attention in Switzerland and is one of few subdisciplines of the Humanties in which Swiss universities have a real chance to move up to the first line of current research. The present proposal aims to exploit the existing network and to ensure the continuity of this emerging research tradition. Two considerations are of special importance to us: (1) Philosophy, and metaphysics in particular, being what they are, it is equally impossible and undesirable to confront young research with a ready-made dissertation plan at the beginning of their doctoral studies. It is an essential part of their scientific coming to age that they find their own way through the often mazy and always contested geographies of the conceptual landscape. The ``subprojects'' outlined are thus taken to be nothing more than blueprints for possible PhD dissertations, outlining lines of research our research group finds promising and to be modified and adapted by the respective candidates. (2) Philosophy in general, and metaphysics in particular, is intimately bound up with methodological issues. Contrary to the situation in other sciences, meta-philosophical questions form an integral part of philosophy itself. Very recent research in metaphysics has made the importance of methodology particularly evident, leading to a new discipline of `meta-metaphysics'. The question ``What are the right meta-theoretical criteria to assess competing metaphysical theories?'' is vividly debated across a broad range of areas, from the theory of universals to the debates about persistence, unrestricted quantification, fictional entities and the nature of space-time. In our view, these debates suffer from two related drawbacks: it has been tacitly presupposed, first, that criteria of theory choice have to be homogeneous across metaphysics (or even across philosophy); it has often been presumed, second, that meta-metaphysics forms in some sense a self-contained discipline -- whereas, in fact, in order to do meta-metaphysics, one has to do metaphysics first. To satisfy these two desiderata, we plan(1) to privilege institutional integration and general research potential over homogeneity of research topics in our choice of candidates; given the tight interconnection between metaphysical issues, almost every PhD topic in metaphysics will fit well into the existing group of post-doc researchers. PhD candidates will, however, be expected to actively participate in the numerous reading and discussion groups, lecture series and colloquia of the research group. (2) to hold regular meetings of the whole group, including the PhD candidates, on meta-metaphysical issues, paying special attention to the problems mentioned above and adressing the meta-metaphysical issues from our respective specialities.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants


Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
132455 Philosophy and Phenomenology of Agency 01.10.2010 ProDoc
126656 Fundamentality 01.10.2010 Project funding
127488 Intentionality as the Mark of the Mental - Metaphysical Perspectives on Contemporary Philosophy of Mind 01.10.2009 Sinergia