As part of our weekly Speaker Series, the Department of Philosophy invites you to join us in welcoming Dr. Filippo Costantini (Ca’ Foscari University of Venice – visiting McMaster as a Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellow). Links for all Department of Philosophy Speaker Series talks are distributed through an email distribution list. If you would like to be added to this list, and hence to receive regular email notifications and reminders about Philosophy talks, please email the Philosophy Department office (email@example.com). If you would like to attend just this one talk, you may also email the philosophy office (same email address) to request a meeting link.
Talk title: “The Role of Mereology in Leibniz’s Metaphysics”
Abstract: In this talk my aim is to clarify the role that mereological principles (i.e. principles pertaining to the part-whole relation) play in Leibniz’s metaphysics. In particular, I shall focus on Leibniz’s argument for the existence of incorporeal substances in bodies from the premise that some bodies persist through time. I shall argue that 1) Leibniz understood mereology as the theory that provides us with the conditions of identity for aggregates or composite objects; 2) these conditions of identity imply that bodies cannot persist through time, contradicting one of the key premises of his argument. Leibniz’s conclusion is not that mereology is false, but that mereology provides us only with a partial explanation of reality. My main claim is therefore that mereology is a necessary but insufficient theory that must be integrated with further metaphysical explanations in order to account for the nature of reality.