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Saturday, 3 December 2016

BUG: The Granada Presentation

Yesterday I presented Being Up For Grabs in the University of Granada, in Spanish. Because I had troubles translating a lot of expressions, the hand out (below) was in English. Discussions revolved around the varieties of ontologies of doubt and the notion of fragment and whether it points at a genuinely different mode of existence within the monadology of fragments.

The problem:
1. Metaphysics aims at finding necessary connections among concreta. Metaphysical knowledge is knowledge of the necessary (and the permanent).
2. There are no necessary connections among concreta (or no necessary connections that can be detected there, or no necessary connection shape up the concreta).
One conclusion: Metaphysics should look for necessary connections and necessity in general somewhere else (for example, in transcendental norms, or in semantic rules).
Another conclusion: Metaphysics should look at concreta even if there are no necessary connections there.
Trouble for the latter: Can the non-necessary be known (or otherwise accessed, or somehow understood)?
One way out: maybe contingency is accessed through its contrast with necessity; maybe only if everything is contingent nothing can be known.
Cashing out the way out: there could be general principles that generate contingency (biological or geological contingencies), there could be a general structure underlying contingency (that is not itself contingent but somehow grounds contingency), there could be a necessary principle stating that everything (else) is contingent, there could be a force or a drive that promotes contingency into what is not yet definitely so.

Two senses of contingency:
Contingency (as opposed to necessary) - Leibniz
Indeterminate (as opposed to determinate) – Meillassoux's facticity
Being up for grabs: contingency and indetermination.

Two contingentisms:
Kristie Miller's contingentism: some metaphysical theses are not necessary.
Tim Williamson's contingentism: necessitism (the thesis that everything is necessarily something) is false.
BUG is not committed to any of these two thesis (but its project relates to both).

Three (speculative) developments in the metaphysics of contingency:
1. Meillassoux's facticity against correlation;
2. Process philosophy (in the form of a philosophy of agency, of neo-monadologies, of object-oriented ontologies);
3. Philosophies of nature that postulate nature as historical and history as an accummulation of contingencies.

The BUG approach:
Sumbebeka prota ton onton
The plurality of necessities.
Modes of alteration (ontoscopies): pluralism and the production of contingency in what is up for grabs.
Existential pluralism: modes of existence.

A monadology of fragments:
Leibniz: a doctrine of deterministic contingency.
The general basic features of monadologies:
0. No ultimate entity is like any other;
1. The ontological principle: no entities, no reason;
2. Flat ontology;
3. Everything perceives (esse est percipi AND percipere);
4. No substrata;
5. No vacuous actuality;
Other features: priority nihilism, contingentism, anti-haecceitism…
A monadology of fragments: actual entities exist in three modes of existence, fragments, compositions, composers.

Insufficient reason: the principle of indeterminacy vs the principle of facticity.
How to know an indetermination? By doubt?
Ontologies of doubt – doubts require determination.
Pyrrhonism vs Sextus: how to suspend the judgment about determinations

Rhythm-oriented ontology
Repetition and the eyes of the beholder.
Contagion and the influence of an event on its neighborhood.
Event-ontology: Carol Cleland's change of a state in a determinable property.
Events as beats: time and timing.

Being up for grabs, alteration and plurality: different agents, different thoughts, different events.
Contingency in a universe of many galaxies
Contingency and the ungoverned: agency and hope requiring contingency.

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