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8/21/2018 6:30 pm  #1


Ontology Reading Group FAQ

1. What subjects will the books be on?

The Categories, the Problem of Universals, Substances, the Problem of Individuation, the Problem of Being, Truthmakers, Modality, Essentialism, Causation, Mereology, Persistence, Space, Time, and more.

2. Will you provide copies of the excerpts, essays, and books?

Yes, so far as we're able.

3. How much do I have to know about ontology to join?

We'll tailor selections to the group's level.

4. Can I suggest a text for the group?

Yes. Just PM me, or bring it up in the group email.

5. What should I do if I have more questions about the reading group?

Ask in this thread.

6. When do we start?

To be announced. (Probably sometime between late October and early November.)

7. How do I sign up?

PM me with the following (or post it in this thread):

• The email address you want to use for the group.
• A rough list of the philosophers you've read.
• The "level" of ontology text you think you can handle. (We're looking for accuracy, not humility.) 
• The number of pages you think you're willing and going to be able to read each week.

 

8/22/2018 5:31 pm  #2


Re: Ontology Reading Group FAQ

Why should I join?

 

8/22/2018 6:20 pm  #3


Re: Ontology Reading Group FAQ

CharlieBlack wrote:

Why should I join?

On the one hand, if you're not interested in ontology, don't join. The last thing the ontology reading group needs is a bunch of people who don't actually want to read about (and discuss) ontology.

On the other, if you want to understand the proofs of natural theology (with the possible exception of PSR arguments, though even there it will help with some of the objections), you should want to study ontology. (There is a reason why the scholastics thought we should study metaphysics and philosophy of nature before we study natural theology.)

     Thread Starter
 

8/22/2018 8:37 pm  #4


Re: Ontology Reading Group FAQ

John West wrote:

CharlieBlack wrote:

Why should I join?

On the one hand, if you're not interested in ontology, don't join. The last thing the ontology reading group needs is a bunch of people who don't actually want to read about (and discuss) ontology.

On the other, if you want to understand the proofs of natural theology (with the possible exception of PSR arguments, though even there it will help with some of the objections), you should want to study ontology. (There is a reason why the scholastics thought we should study metaphysics and philosophy of nature before we study natural theology.)

How do you square this with your skepticism? Why should I join if skepticism?

Also, what if I am not sure whether ontology interests me?

Last edited by CharlieBlack (8/22/2018 8:47 pm)

 

8/22/2018 8:56 pm  #5


Re: Ontology Reading Group FAQ

CharlieBlack wrote:

How do you square this with your skepticism? Why should I join if skepticism?

It always goes back to the skepticism with you. http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/grin.png

If it makes you feel any better, I'm skeptical about my skepticism too. I'm not convinced that there is no way forward in ontology, and it seems to me that finding that way forward will involve doing actual ontology. I'll also, for the most part, be putting aside epistemological problems for the purposes of the reading group.

Also, what if I am not sure whether ontology interests me?

I'm taking the Jewish rather than the Christian approach to recruitment this time.

     Thread Starter
 

8/23/2018 6:42 pm  #6


Re: Ontology Reading Group FAQ

Okay. I will join. Sorry about all the questions (edit: esp. about the skepticism).

Last edited by CharlieBlack (8/23/2018 7:26 pm)

 

8/23/2018 6:56 pm  #7


Re: Ontology Reading Group FAQ

How long-term is this expected to be? I'm interested but will be unavailable for most of the spring. Not sure if that would be a problem.

 

8/23/2018 8:15 pm  #8


Re: Ontology Reading Group FAQ

CharlieBlack wrote:

Okay. I will join. Sorry about all the questions (edit: esp. about the skepticism).

No problem. I expected questions about the skepticism.

Part of the problem is that people tend to equate skepticism with self-refuting negative dogmatism*. Another is that they tend to equate it with atheism*. Both are understandable. 

*Part of the reason for this is that Cicero's Academica, which represents, I think, a later perversion of Academic skepticism into negative dogmatism, provided one of the only sources of ancient skepticism for hundreds of years. Sextus's Outlines don't really start showing up much again in the Latin West until the Reformation.
*I think atheist skepticism is the least interesting kind. I'm much more interested in the (historically at least as prominent) skepticism of the mystics and Christians.

     Thread Starter
 

8/23/2018 8:25 pm  #9


Re: Ontology Reading Group FAQ

(Plus, honestly, the skepticism represents a fairly small percentage of my total output.)

     Thread Starter
 

8/23/2018 8:25 pm  #10


Re: Ontology Reading Group FAQ

Hypatia wrote:

How long-term is this expected to be?

Well, I'm planning to pace the reading based on how much everyone says they think they will be able to read each week. So I won't really know until right before we start. But the first ontology reading group ran for about six months, and only fell to pieces once we started looking at specifically Thomist ontology (Coffey's Ontology).

I'm interested but will be unavailable for most of the spring. Not sure if that would be a problem.

No, no problem. In the worst case scenario, you miss a chunk of the reading.

     Thread Starter
 

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