AAP Conference Adelaide 2017

Karen Bennett Keynote          

Relative Fundamentality

Philosophers frequently say that some phenomena are more fundamental than, or ontologically prior to, others. But what does such talk even mean? This question has gone surprisingly unaddressed in the literature. I argue against two forms of primitivism about relative fundamentality, and in favor of the claim that relative fundamentality can be fully understood in terms of a class of relations that I call building relations. A toy account is presented and rejected, and a more complex picture outlined. The resulting picture is one according to which relative fundamentality relations like more fundamental than are implicitly indexed to particular building relations, and not everything is even comparable with respect to relative fundamentality.

Karen has published numerous papers in metaphysics and the philosophy of mind.  She is interested in modality, causation, the relations whereby less fundamental things are built out of more fundamental things, what it even means to say that something is more fundamental than something else, and how to think about so-called ‘levels of reality’.  Her book Making Things Up will be published by Oxford University Press in 2017.  She received her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 2000, and, in addition to Cornell, has held regular or visiting positions at Princeton, NYU, and the ANU.  She lives in Ithaca with her spouse, daughter, and two cats.   

Karen Bennett's page at Cornell University


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ACN 152 892 272
ABN 29
152 892 272
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