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Kathrin Koslicki
Université de Neuchâtel
  1. Form, Matter, Substance.Kathrin Koslicki - 2021 - Chroniques Universitaires 2020:99-119.
    This inaugural lecture, delivered on 17 November 2021 at the University of Neuchâtel, addresses the question: Are material objects analyzable into more basic constituents and, if so, what are they? It might appear that this question is more appropriately settled by empirical means as utilized in the natural sciences. For example, we learn from physics and chemistry that water is composed of H2O-molecules and that hydrogen and oxygen atoms themselves are composed of smaller parts, such as protons, which are in (...)
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  2. Ontological Dependence: An Opinionated Survey.Kathrin Koslicki - 2013 - In Benjamin Schnieder, Miguel Hoeltje & Alex Steinberg (eds.), Varieties of Dependence: Ontological Dependence, Grounding, Supervenience, Response-Dependence (Basic Philosophical Concepts). Philosophia Verlag. pp. 31-64.
    This essay provides an opinionated survey of some recent developments in the literature on ontological dependence. Some of the most popular definitions of ontological dependence are formulated in modal terms; others in non-modal terms (e.g., in terms of the explanatory connective, ‘because’, or in terms of a non-modal conception of essence); some (viz., the existential construals of ontological dependence) emphasise requirements that must be met in order for an entity to exist; others (viz., the essentialist construals) focus on conditions that (...)
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  3. Where grounding and causation part ways: comments on Schaffer.Kathrin Koslicki - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (1):101-112.
    Does the notion of ground, as it has recently been employed by metaphysicians, point to a single unified phenomenon? Jonathan Schaffer holds that the phenomenon of grounding exhibits the unity characteristic of a single genus. In defense of this hypothesis, Schaffer proposes to take seriously the analogy between causation and grounding. More specifically, Schaffer argues that both grounding and causation are best approached through a single formalism, viz., that utilized by structural equation models of causation. In this paper, I present (...)
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  4. Essence, Necessity, and Explanation.Kathrin Koslicki - 2012 - In Tuomas E. Tahko (ed.), Contemporary Aristotelian Metaphysics. Cambridge University Press. pp. 187--206.
    It is common to think of essence along modal lines: the essential truths, on this approach, are a subset of the necessary truths. But Aristotle conceives of the necessary truths as being distinct and derivative from the essential truths. Such a non-modal conception of essence also constitutes a central component of the neo-Aristotelian approach to metaphysics defended over the last several decades by Kit Fine. Both Aristotle and Fine rely on a distinction between what belongs to the essence proper of (...)
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  5. A Plea for Descriptive Social Ontology.Kathrin Koslicki & Olivier Massin - 2023 - Synthese 202 (Special Issue: The Metametaphysi):1-35.
    Social phenomena—quite like mental states in the philosophy of mind—are often regarded as potential troublemakers from the start, particularly if they are approached with certain explanatory commitments, such as naturalism or social individualism, already in place. In this paper, we argue that such explanatory constraints should be at least initially bracketed if we are to arrive at an adequate non-biased description of social phenomena. Legitimate explanatory projects, or so we maintain, such as those of making the social world fit within (...)
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  6. A Socratic Essentialist Defense of Non-Verbal Definitional Disputes.Kathrin Koslicki & Olivier Massin - 2023 - Ratio (4):1-15.
    In this paper, we argue that, in order to account for the apparently substantive nature of definitional disputes, a commitment to what we call ‘Socratic essentialism’ is needed. We defend Socratic essentialism against a prominent neo-Carnapian challenge according to which apparently substantive definitional disputes always in some way trace back to disagreements over how expressions belonging to a particular language or concepts belonging to a certain conceptual scheme are properly used. Socratic essentialism, we argue, is not threatened by the possibility (...)
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  7. The crooked path from vagueness to four-dimensionalism.Kathrin Koslicki - 2003 - Philosophical Studies 114 (1-2):107-134.
    In his excellent book, Four-Dimensionalism: An Ontology of Persistence and Time (Sider, 2001), Theodore Sider defends a version of four-dimensionalism which he calls the ‘stage-theory’. This paper focuses on Sider's argument from vagueness and argues that, due to the problematic nature of the argument from vagueness, Sider’s case in favor of four-dimensionalism is in the end not successful.
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  8. Essence and Identity.Kathrin Koslicki - 2020 - In Mircea Dumitru (ed.), Metaphysics, Meaning and Modality: Themes from Kit Fine. Oxford, UK: pp. 113-140.
    This paper evaluates six contenders which might be invoked by essentialists in order to meet Quine’s challenge, viz., to provide necessary and sufficient conditions for the crossworld identity of individuals: (i) an object’s qualitative character; (ii) matter; (iii) origins; (iv) haecceities or primitive non-qualitative thisness properties; (v) “world-indexed properties”; and (iv) individual forms. The first three candidates, I argue, fail to provide conditions that are both necessary and sufficient for the crossworld identity of individuals; the fourth and fifth criteria are (...)
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  9. Skeptical Doubts.Kathrin Koslicki - 2020 - In Michael J. Raven (ed.), Routledge Handbook of Metaphysical Grounding. London, UK: pp. 164-179.
    This chapter reviews several varieties of grounding skepticism as well as responses that have been proposed by grounding enthusiasts to considerations raised by grounding skeptics. Grounding skeptics, as I conceive of them here, are theorists who belong to one of the following two schools of thought. “Old-school” grounding skeptics doubt the theoretical utility of the grounding idiom by denying one of its presuppositions, viz., that this notion is at least intelligible or coherent. “Second-generation” grounding skeptics call into question the theoretical (...)
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  10. Towards a Hylomorphic Solution to the Grounding Problem.Kathrin Koslicki - 2018 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplements to Philosophy 82:333-364.
    Concrete particular objects (e.g., living organisms) figure saliently in our everyday experience as well as our in our scientific theorizing about the world. A hylomorphic analysis of concrete particular objects holds that these entities are, in some sense, compounds of matter (hūlē) and form (morphē or eidos). The Grounding Problem asks why an object and its matter (e.g., a statue and the clay that constitutes it) can apparently differ with respect to certain of their properties (e.g., the clay’s ability to (...)
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  11. The semantics of mass-predicates.Kathrin Koslicki - 1999 - Noûs 33 (1):46-91.
    Along with many other languages, English has a relatively straightforward grammatical distinction between mass-occurrences of nouns and their countoccurrences. As the mass-count distinction, in my view, is best drawn between occurrences of expressions, rather than expressions themselves, it becomes important that there be some rule-governed way of classifying a given noun-occurrence into mass or count. The project of classifying noun-occurrences is the topic of Section II of this paper. Section III, the remainder of the paper, concerns the semantic differences between (...)
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  12. Substance, Independence and Unity.Kathrin Koslicki - 2013 - In Edward Feser (ed.), Aristotle on Method and Metaphysics. Palgrave/Macmillan. pp. 169-195.
    In this paper, I consider particular attempts by E. J. Lowe and Michael Gorman at providing an independence criterion of substancehood and argue that the stipulative exclusion of non-particulars and proper parts (or constituents) from such accounts raises difficult issues for their proponents. The results of the present discussion seem to indicate that, at least for the case of composite entities, a unity criterion of substancehood might have at least as much, and perhaps more, to offer than an independence criterion (...)
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  13. Towards a Hylomorphic Solution to the Grounding Problem.Kathrin Koslicki - 2018 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplements to Philosophy 82:333-364.
    Concrete particular objects (e.g., living organisms) figure saliently in our everyday experience as well as our in our scientific theorizing about the world. A hylomorphic analysis of concrete particular objects holds that these entities are, in some sense, compounds of matter (hūlē) and form (morphē or eidos). The Grounding Problem asks why an object and its matter (e.g., a statue and the clay that constitutes it) can apparently differ with respect to certain of their properties (e.g., the clay’s ability to (...)
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  14. Questions of Ontology.Kathrin Koslicki - 2015 - In Stephan Blatti & Sandra Lapointe (eds.), Ontology After Carnap. Oxford University Press.
    Following W.V. Quine’s lead, many metaphysicians consider ontology to be concerned primarily with existential questions of the form, “What is there?”. Moreover, if the position advanced by Rudolf Carnap, in his seminal essay, “Empiricism, Semantics, and Ontology ”, is correct, then many of these existential ontological questions ought to be classified as either trivially answerable or as “pseudo-questions”. One may justifiably wonder, however, whether the Quinean and Carnapian perspective on ontology really does justice to many of the most central concerns (...)
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  15. The threat of thinking things into existence.Kathrin Koslicki - 2020 - In Luis R. G. Oliveira & Kevin Corcoran (eds.), Common Sense Metaphysics: Essays in Honor of Lynne Rudder Baker. New York: Routledge. pp. 113-136.
    According to the account of artifacts developed by Lynne Rudder Baker, artifacts have a certain “proper function” essentially. The proper function of an artifact is the purpose or use intended for the artifact by its “author(s)”, viz., the artifact’s designer(s) and/or producer(s). Baker’s account therefore traces the essences of artifacts back indirectly to the intentions of an artifact’s original author (e.g., its inventor, maker, producer or designer). Like other “author-intention-based” accounts (e.g., those defended by Amie Thomasson, Simon Evnine, and others), (...)
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  16. Mereological Sums and Singular Terms.Kathrin Koslicki - 2014 - In Shieva Kleinschmidt (ed.), Mereology and Location. Oxford University Press. pp. 209-235.
    The relative merits of standard mereology have received quite a bit of attention in recent years from metaphysicians concerned with the part/whole properties of material objects. A question that has not been pursued to the same degree, however, is what sort of semantic repercussions a commitment to mereological sums in the standard sense might have in particular on the predicted behavior of singular terms and our practices of using such terms to refer to objects. The apparent mismatch between our actual (...)
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  17. In Defense of Substance.Kathrin Koslicki - 2015 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 91 (1):59-80.
    In his “Farewell to Substance: A Differentiated Leave-Taking”, Peter Simons reaches the provocative conclusion that the concept of substance, as it is employed by metaphysicians, has become obsolete, since in the end there may be nothing at all which answers to it. No harm is done, Simons allows, if we continue to retain an everyday notion of substance, as long as we are aware of the limitations of this practice: there is no reason in general to expect that what is (...)
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  18. Essentialism vs. Potentialism: Allies or Competitors?Kathrin Koslicki - 2022 - Philosophisches Jahrbuch 129 (2):325-338.
    Do essence-based accounts of necessity and Vetter’s potentiality-based account of possibility in fact lead to the same result, viz., a single derived notion of necessity that is interdefinable with possibility or vice versa? And does each approach independently have the ability to reach its desired goal without having to rely on the primitive notion utilized by the other? In this essay, I investigate these questions and Vetter’s responses to them. Contrary to the “separatist” position defended by Vetter, I argue that (...)
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  19.  93
    Bemerkungen über Winfried Löfflers Kommentar.Kathrin Koslicki - 2020 - Zeitschrift Für Katholische Theologie 142:253–255.
    In this reply, I respond to points raised in Winfried Löffler's „Koslickis Metaontologie“ in connection with a book-symposium on _Form, Matter, Substance_ held at the University of Innsbruck in May 2019.
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  20.  84
    Bemerkungen über Christian Kanzians Kommentar.Kathrin Koslicki - 2020 - Zeitschrift Für Katholische Theologie 142:238–241.
    In this reply, I respond to points raised in Christian Kanzian's „Kommentar zu Kathrin Koslickis Form, Matter, Substance” in connection with a book-symposium on _Form, Matter, Substance_ held at the University of Innsbruck in May 2019.
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  21.  75
    Reply to Uwe Meixner.Kathrin Koslicki - 2020 - Zeitschrift Für Katholische Theologie 142:265–268.
    In this reply, I respond to points raised by Uwe Meixner in “Koslicki on Matter and Form” in connection with a book symposium on _Form, Matter, Substance_ held at the University of Innsbruck in May 2019.
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  22. Review of Henry Laycock, Words Without Objects: Semantics, Ontology, and Logic for Non-Singularity. [REVIEW]Kathrin Koslicki - 2007 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 85 (1):160-163.
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