News & Activities
Philosophy Colloquium Series - 2012-2013
12/6/2012 (Thursday) 5:00-7:00pm in BMU 210
Speaker: Michael Epperson (Calfornia State University, Sacramento)
"The Mutual Implication of Objects and Relations in Quantum Mechanics: How Potentiality and Contextuality are Ontologically Significant in Modern Physics "
Abstract: As a result of the increasing popularity of the decoherence-based interpretations of quantum mechanics,various conceptual difficulties have become better understood, particularly with respect to  the emergence of the 'classical' features of nature from the more fundamental quantum mechanical features; and  the problem of relating the local to the global in an extensive continuum - e.g., the infamous problem of relating quantum theory and general relativity. The central difficulty in both of these cases is that the conventional formulation of spatiotemporal extension is grounded in a set-theoretic structure, where extension is fundamentally metrical. In this way, objects are understood in the classical sense as fundamental to relations - i.e., relations presuppose objects but objects do not presuppose relations. Prior to quantum mechanics, this deficiency went largely unnoticed; but since it is a signature feature of quantum mechanics that it definitively proscribes specifying the existence of objects in abstraction from their relations, the attempt to depict quantum mechanical extensiveness as fundamentally metrical - again, such that objects are more fundamental than relations - is doomed from the beginning.
The solution proposed by philosopher Michael Epperson and physicist and mathematician Elias Zafiris is to delve beneath this set theoretic framework and explore the more substrative category theoretic framework, where extension is understood as fundamentally mereotopological rather than metrical. In this way, fundamental quanta are defined as 'units of logico-physical relation' rather than 'units of physical relata.' By this framework, objects are always understood as relata, such that not only do relations presuppose objects, but objects presuppose relations. In this way, objects and relations are properly understood as mutually implicative, precisely as exemplified in quantum mechanics. This work is presented in a forthcoming volume, co-authored by Epperson and Zafiris, Foundations of Relational Realism: A Topological Approach to Quantum Mechanics and the Philosophy of Nature, Lexington Books (2013).
11/30/2012 (Friday) 3:00-5:00pm in Holt 266
Speaker: Mark Balauger (Calfornia State University, Los Angeles)
"Anti-Metaphysicalism and Temporal Ontology"
Abstract: I do three things in this paper. First, I argue for a certain sort of anti-metaphysicalism about the temporal ontology debate, i.e., the debate between presentists and eternalists over the existence of past and future objects. In other words, I argue that there isn t a substantive metaphysical problem here at all. Second, I argue against the necessitarian view of the temporal ontology debate. In other words, I argue that if there s a fact here at all, it is a contingent fact, indeed, an ordinary physical-empirical fact. And third, I provide some initial reason to believe that there might not be a fact here at all--i.e., there might not be any fact of the matter as to whether past and future objects exist.
11/5/2012 (Monday) 3:00-5:00pm in BMU 210
Speaker: Peter Fosl (Transylvania University)
"Hume's Progressive Appeal to Custom"
Abstract: The task of this essay is to delineate the role of habit and its related concepts, custom and convention, in Hume's thought. Interpreters such as Donald W. Livingston have acknowledged the centrality of habit and custom in Hume's work, drawing analogies between Hume, Edmund Burke, and related conservative traditionalists. I will argue, however, that this way of understanding Hume is mistaken. While Hume's thought does acknowledge the crucial importance of habit, custom, and convention, the critical direction of Humean philosophy is different from Burke's and points instead in the direction of progressive reform. The decisive interpretive key for showing how Hume both advances criticisms of liberal metaphysics (highlighted by those who would stand him alongside Burke) but also remains nevertheless a philosopher of progressive reform is they way his theoretical appeal to habit, custom, and history manifests his skepticism.
11/3/2011 (Thursday) 3:00-5:00pm in Colusa 102
Speaker: Cody Gilmore (UC Davis)
"Holes: What They're Not"
10/13/2011 (Thursday) 4:00-6:00pm in Plumas 106
Speaker: Quayshawn Spencer (University of San Francisco)
"How to Be a Biological Racial Realist"
4/28/2011 (Thursday) 4:00-6:00pm in BMU 210
Speaker: Pamela Hieronymi (UCLA)
"Can You Believe at Will?"
4/14/2011 (Thursday) 4:00-6:00pm in Trinity 100
Speaker: Alexis Burgess (Stanford University)
"Standing in the way of a Science of Meaning: Mainstream Semantics + Deflationary Truth"
3/3/2011 (Thursday) 3:00-5:00pm in BMU 210
Speaker: Mohammed Abed (CSULA)
"Genocide as a Process of Social Group Destruction"
12/2/2010 (Thursday) 4:00-5:30pm in SSC 150
Speaker: Davit Pitt (California State University, Los Angeles)
"How to Distinguish a Statue from a Lump"
10/22/2010 (Friday) 3:00-4:30pm in Trinity 100
Speaker: Ted Sider (New York University)
"Is Metaphysics about the Real World"
10/8/2010 (Friday) 3:00-4:30pm in BMU 210
Speaker: Janet D. Stemwedel (San Jose State University)
"Sifting Sound Science from Snake-oil: In search of demarcation criteria for science as actually practiced"
For more information or to be added to the Colloquium Series mailing list, please contact Prof. Robert Jones.