Alejandro Garcia Di Rienzo & Violeta Conde


'New Foundations' for Metaphysics


In metaphysics we often wish to talk about extremely general subject matters, like the totality of all objects, be they actual or possible, sets or non-sets. However, standard set theory tells us, for instance, that there cannot be such a thing as the set of absolutely everything. Some have tried to overcome this prohibition by making modifications to logic or to standard set theory, or by renouncing absolutely general discourse altogether. Here, we explore an alternative route: to employ Quine’s ‘New Foundations’ system of set theory, which seems to be particularly well suited to deal with large sets such as are interesting for the metaphysician. We show how NF can be invoked to answer two difficulties about high-level generality: the problem of the domain for absolutely general quantification and the problem of the totality of actual and possible non-sets. We also address, in passing, a common objection about the intuitive motivation of NF.

Date / Time / Place

June 22nd / 10:45 / Aula Magna