Department of Philosophy

Monism vs. Pluralism in Logic, Metaphysics, and Philosophical Methodology

Speakers: Owen Griffiths (UCL/ Cambridge), Alex Paseau (Oxford), Lukas Skiba (Bergen), Tina Firing (University of Iceland), Daniel Berntson (Uppsala University).

Main content

Monism in logic is the view that there is only one correct logic. The view has been assumed by the vast majority of writers in the history of logic. It also has a good deal of plausibility. It reflects assumptions that we typically make when reasoning, for example, about science or law. Recently, however, logical monism has been challenged by logical pluralism. According to the logical pluralist there are different logics that are equally correct, none of them privileged over the others. It can therefore happen, the pluralist thinks, that a given piece of reasoning is valid in one sense (relative to one logic) and invalid in another (relative to a different logic). There is then no answer to the question of whether the reasoning is logically correct simpliciter.
Monism in ontology is the view that there is only one way of being. Following Quine, it has become standard to think that there is just one way of being and that everything that exists does so in this way. Recently, however, ontological monism has been challenged by ontological pluralism. According to the ontological pluralist, there are different ways of being: the way in which a person exists is fundamentally different from the way in which, say, a number exists. It can therefore happen that a thing is existent in one sense (in the way that numbers exist) and inexistent in another (in the way in which persons exist). There is then no answer to the question of whether the thing exists simpliciter.
The debate between monists and pluralists about logic is a major one in contemporary philosophy of logic. Likewise, the debate the between monists and pluralists about ontology is a major one in contemporary metaphysics. However, these debates have so far been pursued in isolation from one another. The aim of this workshop is to investigate both debates further and especially to bring them into conversation with one another.
(Especially for students, the preceding masterclass would be an excellent preparation for this event. But the events can be profitably attended independently of one another)


09:30 – 10:45 Owen Griffiths (UCL/Cambridge):  The Problem of Logical Constants

11:00 – 12:15 Lukas Skiba (Bergen): Vertical Ontological Pluralism


13:15 – 14:30 Tina Firing (University of Iceland): Philosophical Methodology--A Plea for Tolerance

14:45 – 15.30 Alex Paseau (Oxford): The Ontology of Formal Languages

15:45 – 17:00 Daniel Berntson (Uppsala): Title TBD