Oct 9

Mario Schärli, “Possibility, Actuality, and Determinacy. Baumgarten’s Theory of Ontological Status”

Sharon Casu Time: 17:15 - 19:00 EXRE Colloquium

On Monday, October 9th, we’ll have the pleasure of listening to Mario Schärli’s talk, “Possibility, Actuality, and Determinacy. Baumgarten’s Theory of Ontological Status”.

Mario will be joining us online, but we will meet in the Jäggi room (MIS04 4112). Here is the link for the online meeting, if you cannot attend in person.


Some approaches in the metaphysics of modality use merely possible objects to explain modal facts. But what are merely possible objects, and how do they differ from actual ones? In my talk, I will present A.G. Baumgarten’s innovative answer to this question, according to which the difference between merely possible and actual entities concerns their degree of determinacy with respect to internal properties. What is actual is fully determined in this regard, what is merely possible remains determinable with respect to at least one internal property. Baumgarten’s theory of ontological status thus turns Quine’s (1948) objection to possibilia on its head. Quine’s intuition that possibilia are undetermined in some respects is entirely correct. But that is not an argument against them. It is just a statement of what they are.

Contact: sharon.casu@unifr.ch or elisa.bezencon@unifr.ch