Konferencja Sens metafizyki / ontologii

International, hybrid conference
The sense of metaphysics / ontology Object, method, concept, grounds, criticism


Conference organizer:


Subject Patronage:

Media Patronage:

Date: June 6-7, 2024 (paper submission by April 30).

Place: Poland, Katowice, 8 Bankowa St. and online (Teams application)

Language: Polish, English (simultaneous interpreting)

Regulations: PDF

Participant registration: 31.05.2024

Article submission: 30.06.2024

Submission of the finished article: 30.09.2024

Conference payment: 31.05.2024

Article publication payment: 30.06.2024

The participation fee includes the costs of the conference, conference materials, catering on both days of the conference. The publication fee includes the cost of publishing the participant’s article in the post-conference monograph (printed version).

Participation with presentation of a paper in onsite form – 35

Participation with presentation of a paper in online form – 25

Participation without a paper in onsite form – 35

Participation without a paper in online form – 0

Submission of an article for publication – 35

Account no: 80 1140 1078 0000 4048 1400 1042

University of Occupational Safety Management in Katowice

Address: Bankowa 8
40-007 Katowice, Poland

payment reference: name and surname – Sense of Metaphysics

payment deadline: by May 7, 2024.
you can also pay separately for the publication of the article until June 30, 2024


Day 1 / 6.06.2024 (Thursday)

9:00-9:15 Opening (auditorium)

9:15-10:00 Lecture / auditorium / in Polish

Ontology, Logic and Modalities

prof. Jan Woleński (online)

University of Information Technology and Management in Rzeszow, Poland

Ontology deals with modalities as ways of being – necessity, possibility and randomness are understood as ontological modalities. Modal logic studies logical modalities. The question arises as to what is the relation between both types of these concepts. The postulate that there is some kind of ‘isomorphism’ (the inverted commas indicate that this is only an intuition) is quite understandable. We would then be dealing with a formal ontology founded on modal logic (Ingarden understood formal ontology as the study of pure possibilities, more basic than logic). Traditionally, a distinction is made between de dicto modalities applied to sentences, e.g. it is necessary that Pa) and de re modalities, e.g. P is necessarily due to the object a. However, it is debatable whether de dicto and de re modalities are always equivalent. If by necessity is meant a purely logical attribute, then the formula ‘necessary that A’ is true if A is a theorem of logic. However, it is not entirely clear what then if A is not a law of logic. That is, even in the case of the modality de dicto, a problem of extra-logical interpretation arises. An even more serious difficulty occurs in the case of the modality de re. Suppose we say “that A is necessary”. From this follows the impossibility of that not-A. But how should we understand this? Is it as the fact that the state of affairs of not-A does not exist because it is impossible, or some other way? On the other hand, it is difficult to do without modality in ontology. If so, then with every use of ontological modalities one has to correlate a set of principles to which we relativise modal categories. A general scheme would be “A is necessary because of Z”, where Z is this set of principles, the logical necessity would be absolute and the others relative. 

10:00-10:45 / auditorium / in Polish

Ontology and Metaphysics. Its Methods and Tools

dr hab. Janusz Kaczmarek (onsite)

University of Lodz, Poland

I think that the problem of methods and tools used in philosophy, including ontology, formal ontology and philosophy in general, is underestimated by philosophers (including Polish ones). Therefore, I will present some issues concerning these problems. Firstly, I will try to answer the question of what is method; secondly, I will give an answer to the question of what are philosophical/ontological tools? In what follows, I will show what ontological tools such as (a) formalisation, (b) deformalisation, (c) specialisation and (d) generalisation consist in (these are tools/operations pointed out by Husserl, among others). I will also highlight some general methods, and these include (a) Ajdukiewicz’s method of paraphrases, (b) Carnap’s method of explication, (c) many more analytical methods and (d) the method of formal and interpretive theorems, which is my own. In passing, I will mention Wolniewicz’s logical hermeneutics and the topological hermeneutics I propose. I will also show relevant formal theorems that explain why logical hermeneutics, topological hermeneutics and interpretive theorems are important.

10:45-11:30 / auditorium / in Polish

Ontology and Metaphysics According to Nicolai Hartmann: A Case Study in Personal Research Application

dr Alicja Pietras (onsite)

University of Silesia in Katowice, Poland

The aim of my speech is to explore Nicolai Hartmann’s conception of ontology and metaphysics, especially in their relation to the specific sciences. The first part of the presentation will delve into Hartmann’s historical perspective on the meaning and role of ontology and metaphysics. The second part will present my own research on the ontology of social sciences (sociology and cognitive psychology) as an example of a contemporary attempt to utilize Hartmann’s project.

10:00-10:45 / room 022 / in Polish

The Method of Metaphysics and Realism

rev. dr hab. Tomasz Duma (online)

The John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, Poland

I will begin my presentation by outlining the meaning of reflection on the method of metaphysics, emphasizing that the method largely determines the specificity of this discipline, enabling, among other things, to specify its subject and basic goals. Then, I will focus on the connection between the metaphysical method and something that can be called “primary cognitive experience.” This experience concerns the first, most basic cognitive acts that determine the occurrence of a cognitive relationship, which is a kind of “contact” between the cognizing subject and the being that is cognized. The analysis of the “primary cognitive experience” will allow us to extract several of its essential properties, which cannot be omitted if metaphysical cognition is to remain realistic. Consequently, these properties must also characterize the method of metaphysics if it is to implement realistic metaphysical cognition, as well as serve to explain the foundations of metaphysical cognition and, more broadly speaking, the foundations of human cognition. Finally, I will present the framework of the proposal for the method of metaphysics understood in this way, developed by the Polish philosopher M. A. Krąpiec, emphasizing its specific novelty.

10:45-11:30 / room 022 / in Polish

Realism and Anti-realism in the Philosophy of History. An Attempt at Clarification

dr Piotr Kowalewski Jahromi (onsite)

University of Silesia in Katowice, Poland

Intuitively, the past is what is no longer there and does not belong to the present or the future. On the other hand, references to this past form the baseline not only for our actions in the present or future, but also define our identity. It should therefore come as no surprise that the past is the subject of analysis in many sciences, which, precisely because they deal with the past, we sometimes refer to as historical. Historians themselves are not too often bothered by the question of the form of existence of the past reality they study or its sharp separation from the present. This has most often been the concern of philosophers. In recent years, the dispute between historical realists and anti-realists has flared up anew, however it must be said that both positions do not come close to our intuitive understanding of these terms. In this situation, an attempt to clarify these positions, their evolution and the potential consequences of they.

11:30-12:00 Coffee break

12:00-12:45 / auditorium / in Polish

The Hypothetical Nature of Metaphysics on the Example of the Process Metaphysics of A.N. Whitehead

dr Bogdan Ogrodnik (onsite)

The Whitehead Metaphysical Society, Poland

The hypothetical status of metaphysics seems to be difficult to accept in the context of the history of the search for a certain knowledge about the world that the first philosophy was supposed to have. Nevertheless, at a time when we have learned so much about the world, about ourselves, including the language in which we describe and explain the world, such a position seems to be an anachronism. This does not mean that the importance of first philosophy is diminishing, but that it is acceptable to constantly modify its subject matter and the methods it uses. In this lecture, I will present how the hypotheticality of metaphysics was described by Alfred North Whitehead and how this position can be strengthened. I propose to define the object and method of metaphysics by the analogy to relation conected physics and mathematics. For the analogy to be complete, it is necessary to introduce ontology as a discipline that studies metaphysical ideas and categories and the relations between them.

12:45-1:30 / auditorium / in Polish

Ideas in a Dynamic View

dr Bartłomiej Skowron (online)

Warsaw University of Technology, Poland

In the paper, I will present how ideas are assembled within the framework of the dynamic theory of ideas that I have been developing for several years. More specifically, I will present some simple examples of compositions of components of the content of ideas at different levels of detail, from very ‘concrete’ cases to more complex and ‘abstract’ ones. I will then point to examples of compositions of ideas themselves and groups of ideas, as well as examples of compositions of individual objects falling under these ideas. The thesis of the paper is that, regardless of the level of consideration, the same principles of composition can be found. This consequently leads to the metaphysical statement that it is these universal principles of composition that constitute the essence of the dynamics of ideas. I will argue for the thesis that the world of ideas is in fact a world of dynamic compositions. As an authentication of the dynamical-compositional approach to the theory of ideas, I will invoke several scientific applications of the compositional principles, including the use of complex diagrams in categorical quantum mechanics by Bob Coecke and his colleagues.

12:00-12:30 / room 022 / in Polish

The Family Resemblance: Semantic, Syntactic and Theory of Properties Approaches

Bartosz Tomasz Żak (onsite)

Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland

The concept of family resemblance, as conceived by Wittgenstein, is subject to diverse interpretations, different in aspect of their explanatory power and level of modification compared to the source formulation. The aim of my presentation is to review particular interpretive strategies and show that certain solutions are combined into coherent sets, and Wittgentein’s idea itself is more universal than the interpreters of each option claim. My intention is to present family resemblance as a universal tool, and individual interpretive strategies as equal ways of using it, thus attempting to defend the commonly criticized interpretation of R. Bambrough. I will argue that the deviating from the original formulation of the problem towards concretization in terms of more specific applications is not only beneficial, but also intended by Wittgenstein himself. I want to conclude that fully exploiting the potential of family resemblance requires developing this concept within three areas: semantic (E. Rosch, C. Mervis), syntactic (K. Campbell, N. Griffin) and theory of properties (R. Bambrough).

12:30-1:00 / room 022 / in Polish

Criterion of Identity and Principle of Individuation – Interconnections Between Essence and Identity

Milena Żydek (online)

University of Warsaw, Poland

In metaontology, identity criteria are understood as metaphysical principles warranting the identity of entities of a given category. What can be inferred from their instances is that criteria take the form of an equivalence between an identity and a criterial relation. Rarely, the question of a dependency relation holding between an identity and a criterial relation is raised in the philosophical literature. However, there are two proposals of explicating that relation that give a lead to the notion of the principle of individuation. Kit Fine in Identity Criteria and Ground (2016) suggests that in identity criteria an identity is dependent on a criterial relation. Unfortunately, this view seems to conflict with his other proposals – it makes an essence dependent on an identity, which in turn depends on a criterial relation. Fabrice Correia (Grounding, Essence, and Identity, 2017), in turn, sees the essence as well as the necessity as dependent on the general identity. As he points out, his view subscribes to a long tradition of identifying essence with identity. At the same time, their dependency is weakened due to the condition that only general essence can be identical with general identity. Thus, Correia breaks the habit of identifying the criterion of identity with the principle of individuation (Castañeda, Individuation and Non-Identity: A New Look, 1975). In my presentation, I would like to develop an account in which the dependency between an identity relation and a criterial relation is seen in the light of a principle of individuation. Thus, individuality as the general identity can be viewed as more fundamental than a criterial relation, which would be, in turn, dependent on an identity. There can still occur metaphysical dependency the other way round – dependency that would enable explanation of an identity. 

1:00-1:30 / room 022 / in Polish

The Issue of Criteria of Existence

Maciej Raźniak (onsite)

University of Warsaw, Poland

Among the problems of philosophy, we encounter both topics that clearly belong to epistemolo-gy, such as the status of knowledge, truth and justification, and issues with a metaphysical tint, such as the problem of causality or the problem of universals. Nevertheless, among the issues that concern philosophers, there are also many in which the use of the labels “ontological” and “epistemological” does not reflect the essence of the matter. It is hard to resist the impression that this threat concerns one of the problems that belong to the broadly understood issue of existence, namely – the issue of criteria of existence.

The uniqueness of the problem of criteria of existence is best seen when we consider the subject and method of research carried out in these fields. On the one hand, this issue should not be identified with the typically metaphysical problem of the definition of existence (the meaning of the word “existence”), because the criteria of existence involve concepts and methods traditionally associated with the theory of knowledge. Moreover, the most common division into observational, explanatory and theoretical criteria of existence replicates patterns known from epistemology. On the other hand, it is difficult to ignore that the knowledge acquired through these criteria concerns existence, and therefore its scope depends on metaphysical assumptions.

These circumstances, and above all – the fact that the issue of the criteria of existence combines elements of metaphysics and epistemology, make this issue an extremely valuable, although rarely undertaken, subject of research. This paper aims to raise two problems relating to the criteria of existence, which – as far as we know – have not been discussed so far. First, we will discuss the motivations behind research on the criteria of existence. Secondly, we will consider the extent to which decisions made in the field of epistemology and metaphysics affect the issue of criteria of existence.

1:30-2:30 Dinner

2:30-3:15 Lecture / auditorium / in English with simultaneous interpretation

Platonism and Quantification

prof. Peter van Inwagen (online)

University of Notre Dame, Duke University, United States

Quine has said, “Mathematics . . . , and applied mathematics at that, is up to its neck in universals; we have to quantify over numbers of all sorts, functions, and much else.” And this statement can hardly be disputed—provided Quine was right about the meaning of the quantifiers and the variables they bind. Whether he was is a question that belongs not to logic but to the philosophy of logic. In this talk, I provide a philosophical analysis of quantifiers and variables that implies that Quine was right about their meaning and thus right to say that mathematics, even applied mathematics, is up to its neck in universals. I will also briefly discuss other uses of this analysis, such as its implications for a puzzle concerning variables that has been raised by Kit Fine.

3:15-4:00 / auditorium / in English with simultaneous interpretation

Starting a Step Back: Redirecting Metaphysics

prof. Amie L. Thomasson (online)

Dartmouth College, Thornton (Colorado), United States

Metaphysics traditionally answers questions such as ‘Are there properties, universals, numbers, composite artifacts, fictional characters…?’ ‘(If so), what are they like? How are they related to minds, physical objects, etc.? Does ‘positing’ these things add explanatory power to our theories?’… In this paper I will argue that we should begin our questioning back a step, and begin by asking: “How does talk of properties, numbers, … enter language, and what functions does it serve?” For doing so (I will argue) enables us to reevaluate many classic metaphysical debates, to reassess prominent criteria used in metaphysics, and to redirect metaphysics to more fruitful pursuits.

4:00-4:45 / auditorium / in English with simultaneous interpretation

Inquiry and indeterminacy

prof. Boris Kment (online)

Princeton University, (New Jersey), United States

Recent metaphysics has seen a surge of interest in grounding or metaphysical explanation, which is most commonly understood as a non-causal explanatory relation that holds between non-fundamental facts and the more fundamental facts that give rise to them. I argue that certain compelling principles of grounding, combined with plausible ontological assumptions, give us reasons to reject the Law of Excluded Middle (LEM). The failure of LEM reflects the fact that reality is incomplete, in the sense that some questions cannot be answered. We can settle such questions only by ruling out every possible answer. On the resulting view, a metaphysical theory is not simply a set of claims about the world, but a pair of such sets: the set of claims that are part of the theory and the set of claims ruled out by it. A theory can rule out a claim without entailing its negation.

3:15-4:00 / room 022 / in Polish

Philosophy of the End. Can a Solipsist Commit Suicide?

rev. dr hab. Adam Olszewski (online)

The Pontifical University of John Paul II in Krakow, Poland

I will first present the entire spectrum of understandings of solipsism as an ontological doctrine. Then I will adopt a certain understanding of solipsism, more precisely the one called solipsism of the present moment in the literature, and considered to be the only coherent and sensible one. Then I will try to formulate an argument against this version of solipsism. I cite some of the results of philosophical research carried out within different philosophical systems, wrought with particular reference to the analysis of the ‘present moment’, and use them in my argument. I then build the main argument about the impossibility of ending the existence of a solipsist. This impossibility is partly logically justified. In short, the solipsist is unable to grasp the termination of his existence as a separate event occurring in his inner experience. On this occasion, I will consider different understandings of the concept of termination.

4:00-4:45 / room 022 / in Polish

On the Importance of Metaphysics for Ethics

dr Piotr Rosół (onsite)

The Maria Grzegorzewska University, Poland

Different ways of understanding the good and other ethical values remain rooted in different understandings of reality. Using the division of metaphysical thinking proposed by Tadeusz Czeżowski the paper argues for a strong influence of metaphysical assumptions on the understanding of ethics. According to Czeżowski metaphysical thinking may be divided into axiomatic, intuitive and inductive.

Metaphysical thinking of axiomatic character leads to searching for the fundamental ethical norms and relying on them for answering more detailed questions concerning the evaluation of particular behaviour, as well as distinguishing secondary ethical values interpreted out of primary axioms.

Intuitive metaphysics and its reliance on intuition as a source of knowledge about reality will lead to understanding ethics as a way of conceptualising values, which are possible to discover thanks to introspection. For example via consciousness. Such an intuitive ethics might also appeal to holistic depictions, with such a framework the intuition might be not only a description of some inner experiences, but also help to understand the relationship with other people and reality as such. In both those conceptions the role of intuition in understanding ethics will be crucial.

Inductive metaphysics relies on a constant interaction between theoretical knowledge about reality and its practical applications. Thanks to such an interaction our knowledge might be polished and improved. Such an understanding of reality translates into unclosed ethics, with the space for development of ethics as a branch of knowledge. It also might be helpful in changing the relationship between ethics and philosophy. In other words metaphysical assumptions and frameworks are influential in the way we will understand ethics.

4:45-5:00 Coffee break

5:00-6:00 Discussion panel / room 022 / in English with interpretation

Should the Modern Metaphysician/Ontologist Be Asking "What There Is?"

conference participants are interviewed by Dr. Rafał Katamay (onsite/online) 

Day 2 / 7.06.2024 (Friday)

9:00-9:45 Lecture / auditorium / in Polish

Spirit and Nature - Fragments of Meditation

prof. Stanisław Judycki (online)

The University of Gdansk, Poland

The speech will address the following issues: (1) How should the relationship between the philosophy of nature and the philosophy of natural sciences be interpreted? (2) What concepts of nature can be distinguished in opposition to the concept of the spirit? (3) Can nature, or natures, be interpreted as a set / sets of ‘incarnated’ extra-mathematical and mathematical universals? (4) What are the ‘pursuits’ of the spirit and what is the ‘foreignness’ of nature in relation to the spirit? (5) Is there an eschatological possibility of overcoming the opposition ‘spirit  versus nature’?

10:00-10:45 / auditorium / in Polish

Absconditheism. The Metaphysics of Divine Hiddenness

rev. dr hab. Miłosz Hołda (online)

The Pontifical University of John Paul II in Krakow, Poland

A careful look at the contemporary discussion devoted to the topic of “divine hidden-ness” allows us to attempt to formulate a specific “metaphysics of divine hiddenness.” This discussion has three facets. The first, initiated by the “argument from hiddenness” proposed by John Schellenberg, revolves around the question of why God is not more obvious in his relations with humans. The essence of the second, taking place within “post-Auschwitz” philosophy and theology, can be expressed by the question: “why is God not more obvious in history?”. The “hidden God” is also discussed in the context of science. However, it is not about what happens “inside” science, but what takes place on its “periphery”, where questions are raised about “gaps” of a “metaphysical”, “epistemological” or “axiological” nature that appear in our understanding of reality. The basic question to which this discussion can be reduced is “why is God not more obvious in nature?” Importantly, in all three installments of the discus-sion, there are arguments in favor of the thesis that no explanation of reality that completely ex-cludes the existence of God (or at least some kind of “transcendence”) is satisfactory. Also found in all of them are expressions of the conviction that what we need in the face of problems with God’s openness is the quest to discover “the true God – ultimate reality as it is.”

In my presentation, I intend to propose treating the three separate discourses as manifestations of a single, deeper problem of divine hiddenness. All of the questions that arise in the three installments of the dispute over hiddenness are versions of one basic question: “why isn’t God more obvious?” The answer to this most general question, which I intend to give, takes the form of a metaphysics, which, with reference to a well-known passage from the Vulgate translation of the Book of the Prophet Isaiah (“Vere tu es deus absconditus”), I call absconditheism. Its key element is the thesis of the ‘threefold-hidden God’.

I will present arguments for the thesis that through absconditheism we not only gain hypothetical insight into the metaphysical basis of the world, but at the same time gain at least a partial answer to the question of where the problems with divine hiddenness come from. I will also show why the metaphysics of divine hiddenness, understood in this way, is a good reference point for contemporary discussions taking place in various areas of philosophy.

10:45-11:30 / auditorium / in Polish

Extra-analytical Tools in Formulating and Justyfying Claims within Analytic Metaphysics

dr hab. Mariusz Grygianiec (online)

University of Warsaw, Poland

In contemporary analytical metaphysics, many detailed tools and procedures are used to achieve particular intellectual results. On the one hand, broadly understood tools of logical analysis (conceptual and argumentative) as well as definitional, explanatory and paraphrasing procedures are frequently exploited. On the other hand, metaphysicians are also inclined to employ some techniques that are not strictly analytical in themselves (e.g. appeal to thought experiments, quest for truth conditions of statements or identity criteria of objects). This second group of procedures is interesting because the results obtained on their basis seem not depend solely on considerations about the meaning of concepts or logical validity of reasoning. The aim of the paper is to survey the above-mentioned techniques and to propose their initial, relational interpretation.

10:00-10:45 / room 022 / in Polish

Unity in Mysticism and Metaphysics

dr Andrzej Serafin (onsite)

University of the National Education Commission, Krakow, Poland

For millennia mystics across cultures have reported a profound experience of unity, a dissolution of self and a merging with a singular, all-encompassing reality. Contemporary studies of mystical experiences prove that their common trait is a unifying vision, a unitary consciousness, a sense of unity: “the apprehension of an ultimate nonsensuous unity in all things” (W. T. Stace), where “we both become one with the Absolute and we become aware of our oneness” (W. James). The way mystics describe a sense of oneness with all things, a unity of consciousness where the subject transcends the self-other divide, resonates with the metaphysical notion of oneness formulated by Plotinus, dissolving the boundaries between the observer and the observed, where “seer and seen are then not two but one”. I would like to identify the attainment of such an insight with the synoptic goal of Platonic and Hegelian dialectics. The presentation will demonstrate the universality of this unifying insight, tracing the conceptualization of this experience in Christianity, Islam, Sufism, Taoism, and the philosophical tradition of Metaphysics. Finally, we will delve into the philosophical implications of this unifying vision. Focusing on Hegel’s notion of “one thought, one reality” as the foundation of philosophy, the presentation will demonstrate how the mystical core informs the entire metaphysical discourse of philosophy.

10:45-11:30 / room 022 / in Polish

The Univocity Concept of Being in the Philosophy of Jan Duns Scotus

mgr Adam Paweł Rosłan (onsite)

University of Warsaw, Poland

The paper concerns the foundations of the metaphysics of John Duns Scotus (1266-1308) the most eminent Franciscan scholastic author of a vast metaphysical-theological synthesis. In this paper I intend to focus primarily on the origins of his unambiguous notion of being and the metaphysical consequences of this for his philosophy and theology. John Duns Scotus’ univocal notion of being had already become the main opposition to the doctrine formulated by Thomas Aquinas in the Middle Ages. As the notion of being is absolutely crucial and fundamental in every system of classical metaphysics, the univocity of this notion in the terms of the Subtle Doctor had a significant impact on all sections of his philosophy and theology (the concept of God, creation, anthropology, cosmology and even ethics and the theory of grace). On the Polish ground, the philosophy and theology of John Duns Scotus is still too little known and discussed in relation to its rank and influence in a historical perspective, therefore it seems something justified to present a paper on it at a scientific conference in order to subject this concept to a substantive and expert discussion.

11:30-12:00 Coffee break

12:00-12:45 / auditorium / in Polish

A Few Remarks About Practicing Ontology (Mainly Analytical)

dr hab. Maciej Dombrowski (online)

University of Wroclaw, Poland

Ontology, despite the crises or even the end announced from time to time, is still a lively and rich branch of philosophy. However, it has its debatable areas, and I would like to draw attention to them. I will present a list of threats and challenges facing ontology as practiced today. The object of my reflection will be especially ontology practiced in an analytical attitude. On the basis of critical remarks, a positive program will be outlined. It can be summarized in the slogan of moderately naturalistic ontology based on critical realism and methodological pluralism.

The initial problem is the very definition of what ontology is and what its object is. Here we encounter the issue of defining the differences between ontology and metaphysics. Analytical philosophers tend to clearly separate them, which, as I will try to show, is not entirely convincing. The list of specific threats and challenges facing ontology opens with a focus of inquiry on language, which can lead to an overly narrow focus. Another such challenge is the “epistemologization” of ontology, i.e. the recognition of all its issues as de facto theoretical. Ontology can also be eroded by virtue of adopting some version of skepticism. It is also problematic to treat it as a field of a priori and purely “possibility” research, which in turn can result in the “reification” of possibilities themselves.Research in the area of interest may also go in the direction of “poor” ontologies, where simplicity is the determinant – I will try to show that it is not always the best probe of the “truthfulness” of the theory.Also in this circle is the question of the role of logic, which can be a useful tool, but often becomes the only object of study or the final instance of appeal. A very difficult issue is the description of the relationship between ontology/metaphysics and the mathematical and natural sciences.Here we are in danger of scientism and treating philosophical recognitions as merely complementary to the picture of the world drawn by science.

12:45-1:30 / auditorium / in Polish

Is the esse of Thomas Aquinas Only a Metaphor?

rev. dr hab. Wojciech Grygiel (onsite)

The Pontifical University of John Paul II in Krakow, Poland

Many of the key metaphysical concepts such as substance are metaphorical insofar as they engage simple physical intuitions in order to provide a grasp of the fundamental entities of reality. The development of the contemporary physics, which relies on the abstract mathematical structures as its primary conceptual tool, has led to the change of the belief on what underpins the most basic fabric of the universe: from the ontology of substances to the ontology of structures. By using sophisticated arguments from physics, cognitive science and philosophy of science the proposed inquiry aims at demonstrating that the classical Thomistic distinction between esse and essentia is but a metaphor which captures the capacity of the laws of nature to produce structures and entities exhibiting high degree of ordering. This approach does not do away with the problem the commencement of existence as understood by Aquinas but shifts it to the beginning of the existence of the contingent reality as a whole.

12:00-12:30 / room 022 / in Polish

Metaphysics in the Face of the Challenge of Wittgensteinian Quietism

mgr Daniel Milewski (onsite)

The Pontifical University of John Paul II in Krakow, Poland

Among advocates of post-Wittgensteinian analytic philosophy, an ongoing discussion has persisted for the last thirty years concerning the concept of Wittgensteinian quietism. This type of quietism tends to be understood as a position suggesting the “quieting” of motivation to resolve certain philosophical problems by interpreting them as illusory. Among proponents of quietism, distinctly anti-metaphysical attitudes emerge, with some even calling for the end of philosophy.

This paper aims to assess the scope of anti-metaphysical claims of such understood quietism and to examine how a supporter of traditionally understood metaphysics can respond to this challenge. To achieve this, I utilize the typology of Wittgensteinian quietism proposed by Thomas Spiegel, who distinguishes four varieties: local, universal, therapeutic, and anti-theoretical. I show that the latter variety seems to be the most coherent and philosophically interesting, and its anti-metaphysical claims are the most limited. I then propose a preliminary delineation of four attitudes that a supporter of traditionally understood metaphysics can adopt towards Wittgensteinian quietism: ignoring (quietism does not require a response), embracing the strong version (anti-metaphysicalism), embracing the weak version (anti-theoreticism), and providing a defense (arguing against quietism or for the value of metaphysics). Next, I present selected arguments in favor of adopting these attitudes. Finally, I consider the benefits that quietism, in its various forms, can bring to metaphysics.

12:30-1:00 / room 022 / in Polish

About Progress in Metaphysics: in What Sense the Debate about Qualia in Contemporary Philosophy of Mind Constitutes a Step Forward in the Attempt of Resolving the Centuries-old Controversy Between Materialism and Spiritualism?

mgr Krzysztof Piętak (onsite)

University of Warsaw, Poland

Kant wanted to elevate metaphysics to the status of science. In this form in which he knew it, metaphysics could not satisfy this demand, since – unlike natural sciences – it could not make any progress. Without going into details of this diagnosis, Kant’s verdict is clear: in a non-transcendental framework progress in metaphysics is impossible for substantial reasons.

In my talk, I shall suggest that if we place the debate about qualia in a broader historical context, by interpreting it as the continuation of an centuries-old controversy between materialism and spiritualism outlined for the first time by Plato in his “Sophist”, we could use the development of this debate since Plato to these days as a counterexample to Kant’s thesis. In what sense?

Well, this debate regarded in the context of the whole controversy is revolutionary for two reasons. Firstly, the qualia-thesis has been used for the first time in history as the main premise in an argument against materialism. It is without precedent, since previously it wasn’t even suspected that the mere fact of the existence of redness or pain could falsify one of the oldest metaphysical system in the history of philosophy. Secondly, materialism in its eliminativist version for the first time in history has denied the qualia-thesis. It is without precedent, since previously materialists confine themselves to provide an illusionary account of qualia without denying their existence.

Within my interpretation, eliminativism is not a temporary aberration, which differs from more standard versions of materialism by its odd radicalism. On the contrary, its main merit consist in articulating the truth present implicitly in previous versions of materialism since Democritus to J.J.C. Smart, namely that the existence of qualia is incompatible with a materialistic ontology. If it is true, progress in metaphysics within a non-transcendental framework is – despite Kant’s opinion – possible.

1:00-1:30 / room 022 / in Polish

Metaphysical Disputes as Practical Disputes

mgr Ignacy Kłaput (online)

University of Warsaw, Poland

Alexander Kocurek, in his paper “Verbal Disagreements and Semantic Plans” (2023), proposes to frame disputes over concepts along the lines of disputes over action – as practical or normative disputes in principle arising from the disagreement of the semantic plans of the disputants. Adopting this view, it should be recognized that metaphysical disputes, which are at least partly about what meaning should be assigned to certain concepts, can be reconstructed as practical disputes stemming from the conflict between differing semantic plans. Inspired by the above approach, I would like to propose a broader view of metaphysical disputes as practical disputes. According to it, metaphysical disputes are practical disputes about how (one ought) to construct a picture of the world, how (one ought) to understand the world, or what explanations of metaphysical issues (one ought) to offer. Such an approach preserves the meaningfulness of metaphysics, even if one doubts whether a given dispute is factual. Pointing to explanation, understanding or creating a picture of the world as a certain actions leads us to thinking in terms of means and ends. In this view, a realist and a constructivist can practice metaphysics with very different goals, yet sharing the same means. Indeed, there can often be a convergence of success criteria, so that a given metaphysical theory can achieve both the realist’s and the constructivist’s goals. Understanding metaphysical disputes as practical disputes prompts us to pay attention to such aspects of disputes and reflection in metaphysics as the normativity of metaphysical theories, the relevance of the evaluation of theoretical values and the relative subjectivity of theoretical decisions.

1:30-2:30 Dinner

2:30-3:15 / auditorium / in English with simultaneous interpretation

What is Logical Monism?

dr Justin Clarke-Doane (online)

Columbia University, New York, United States

Logical monism is the view that there is ‘One True Logic’. This is the default position in philosophy, against which pluralists react. If there were not ‘One True Logic’, it is hard to see how there could be one true theory of anything. A theory is closed under a logic!  But what is logical monism? In this talk, I consider semantic, logical, modal, scientific, and metaphysical proposals. I argue that, on no ‘factualist’ analysis (according to which ‘there is One True Logic’ expresses a factual claim, rather than an attitude like approval), does the doctrine have both metaphysical and methodological import. Metaphysically, logics abound. Methodologically, what to infer from what is not settled by the facts, even the normative ones. I conclude that the only interesting sense in which there could be One True Logic is noncognitive. The same may be true of monism about normative areas, like moral, epistemic, and prudential ones, generally.

3:15-4:00 / auditorium / in English with simultaneous interpretation

Manyism as mereologicism

dr Robert Trueman (online)

University of York, (England) United Kingdom

There is a widespread intuition that mereology should be ontologically innocent. In this paper, we compare two attempts to deliver this innocence. They both identify a fusion with the plurality of its parts, but they disagree over the logical status of the fusion: according to Composition as Identity (CAI), the fusion is a genuine individual, and in this sense it is both one and many; accordong to manyism, the fusion is not an individual, and so is merely many. We argue that no version of CAI can make mereology ontologically innocent without violating some independently attractive desiderata. But manyism can. In fact, manyism yields (what we call) mereologicism, the result that the axioms of classical mereology are all logical theorems. Given manyism, mereology is innocent because logic is.

4:00-4:45 / auditorium / in English with simultaneous interpretation

Axiomatic and Computational Metaphysics

dr Edward N. Zalta (online)

Stanford University, (California) United States

I shall address the metaphilosophical questions posed by the conference theme by demonstrating the meaningfulness and value of metaphysics. I do this by presenting an overview of a body of (formal) metaphysical theorems derived from (formal) metaphysical axioms, and this will show that metaphysics is at least as meaningful as number theory and set theory. I then demonstrate the value of metaphysics by inspecting what these theorems assert and drawing certain conclusions about their worth. So I plan to go through the “List of the Most Important Theorems” on PDF pages 10-14 (= numbered pages xvi—xx) of the unpublished monograph  https://mally.stanford.edu/principia.pdf.  Although these theorems demonstrate multiple ways in which these theorems are of value, among the most compelling are (a) the ways in which number theory, set theory, and infinity are grounded, and (b) the analysis of the truth conditions of the theorems of arbitrary mathematical theories. Since (a) and (b) give us an metaphysical analysis of any mathematical theory that might be used in some natural science, we have a metaphysical foundation for the natural sciences that provides an understanding of the abstract objects presupposed by those sciences.  This, then, is how I would demonstrate the value of metaphysics. 

2:30-3:00 / room 022 / in Polish

Why We Need Two Metaphysics - or Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics

Weronika Jurkowska (online)

Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland

Heidegger writes his intended two-volume magnum opus, Being and Time, with the intention of proving that time is something more fundamental than existence. The whole project of Heideggerian ontology, especially the postulate of ontological difference, was to establish time not as an ordering of our impressions as a form of transcendence, but as the ‘real’ basis of metaphysics. In my talk, I want to present a genealogy of Kantian notions of form, transcendence and time as the three pillars through which Heidegger attempts to reach the essence of metaphysics.

3:00-3:30 / room 022 / in Polish

Mathematics as Metaphysics: Platonic Threads in the Scientific Theories of Einstein and Penrose

mgr Jan Szyller, dr Agnieszka Matylda Schlichtinger (onsite)

Collegium Witelon State University, Poland, Technical Academy of Informatics in Applied Sciences, Poland

The authors of the presentation attempt to outline the common metaphysical conclusions that can be derived from selected works by Albert Einstein and Roger Penrose, showing how their scientific concepts suggest a Platonic view of abstraction and idealisation in the search for the fundamental structure of reality. Such a ‘mathematical exegesis’ proceeding from mathematical structures to metaphysical conclusions allows an exploration of the similarity between Platonic metaphysics and philosophical conclusions derived from selected mathematical scientific concepts of Albert Einstein and Roger Penrose. This demonstrates that their approaches to theoretical physics show a deep ontological commitment to the search for universal, abstract foundations of reality, which suggests Platonic motives. Focusing on selected aspects of their theories, the work analyses how both scientists use simple but fundamental mathematical concepts to model complex physical phenomena, which relates to the Platonic idea of simple concepts contained in the dialogue ‘Phaedon’.

R. Penrose, by promoting the objectivity of complex numbers as the foundation of physical mathematics, takes the position that there are mathematical structures of a deeply metaphysical nature, ones that ‘give something for free’, possessing properties that are not apparent before mathematical operations are performed. Meanwhile, A. Einstein, postulating conceptual minimalism as the key to understanding the laws of physics, expresses the belief that ontological simplicity leads to a deeper understanding of the nature of reality.

In raising these issues, the presentation illustrates how some of the scientists’ conclusions share a common, to some extent Platonic, vision according to which reality is best described by simple but meaning-rich abstract structures.

3:30-4:00 / room 022 / in Polish

Platonic Constructions? Remarks on Possible Synergy in the Face of Research on Four Color Thorem

mgr Bartosz Kośny (online)

University of Wroclaw, Poland

The discussion between Platonists and Constructivists occupies a central place in the ontology of mathematics. In recent years, there have been ideas to develop a compromise position. However, defining its fundamental theorems also raises controversy. The aim of this article is to present a certain proposal that the author developed during research on the four-color theorem. The issue of coloring planar graphs does not seem to be strongly related to ontological matters, but such connections emerged during attempts to describe a certain class of graph transformations. The problem here is the construction of maps from previously established elements (in simplified terms: as if graphs resembled blocks). Using this as an example, I intend to consider to what extent the use of the words “element” and “construction” is ontologically justified, and to what extent it constitutes merely a useful metaphor in communication. Ultimately, I propose a compromise that requires seeking the Platonic dimension in the necessary consequences of previously accepted expressions and representations: one can think of graphs as “connected elements,” but certain consequences of their “arrangements” occur in the abstract sphere of mathematical necessities and are independent of the minds that comprehend them.

4:00-4:30 / room 022 / in Polish

Plato's Justification of Metaphysics as a Transcendental Argument

Bartosz Mariański (onsite)

University of Warsaw, Poland

The speech will concern the problem of justification of metaphysics according to Plato. Typically, the Athenian philosopher’s reasoning is interpreted as arguing in favor of the theory of forms. I intend to present it in a broader perspective as a transcendental argument intended to justify metaphysics as a theory of entities whose existence is a necessary condition for the possibility of knowledge in general.

At the beginning of my speech, I will provide a brief explanation of transcendental arguments and what is the essence of Kant’s transcendental project. Then I will turn to Plato’s dialogues, in which one can find many arguments that have an implicit transcendental character. The most important are the closing argument of Cratylus and the argument for distinguishing knowledge from mere opinion presented in Book 5 of The Republic.

The central part of the speech will be the presentation of a generalized transcendental argument constituting the Platonic justification of metaphysics. I will explain the meaning of its main premises, i.e. the Platonic premise that the existence of an immutable object is a necessary condition for the possibility of knowledge and the Cratilean premise that all sensible objects are changeable. I will also discuss the conclusions of this argument, pointing out that it does not require  a platonic theory of forms, but allows for a pluralism of metaphysical projects.

I will particularly emphasize the epistemological character of the entire justification, which gives meaning to ontology as a theory about the things that we quantify over when making assertions considering knowledge. Finally, I will apply the Platonic argument to Kant’s transcendentalism, pointing out that it can successfully “transcend” the limits of knowledge set by Kant.

4:45-5:00 Coffee break

5:00-6:00 Discussion panel / room 022 / in English with interpretation

What does 'meta' Really Mean in Metaphysics? Historical and Contemporary Perspectives

conference participants are interviewed by Dr. Konrad D. Rycyk OFM (onsite/online)

Conference Scientific Committee

prof. Peter van Inwagen (University of Notre Dame)
prof. dr hab. Jan Hertrich-Woleński (University of Information Technology and Management)
dr hab. prof. UJ Sebastian Kołodziejczyk (Jagiellonian University in Krakow)
rev. dr hab. Miłosz Hołda (The Pontifical University of John Paul II in Krakow)
Konrad D. Rycyk PhD OFM (The Pontifical University of John Paul II in Krakow)
Rafał Katamay PhD (University of Occupational Safety Management in Katowice)

Organising Committee

Aneta Siwczyk PhD (WSZOP)
Krystyna Sobecka MSc (WSZOP)
Agnieszka Morgała MSc (WSZOP)

“That the human mind would someday entirely give up metaphysical investigations is just as little to be expected, as that we would someday gladly stop all breathing so as never to take in impure air. There will therefore be metaphysics in the world at every time, and what is more, in every human being, and especially the reflective ones; metaphysics that each, in the absence of a public standard of measure, will carve out for themselves in their own manner. Now what has hitherto been called metaphysics can satisfy no inquiring mind, and yet it is also impossible to give up metaphysics completely; therefore (…) it must be examined and put to a general test, since there are no other means to relieve this pressing need, which is something more than a mere thirst for knowledge”.

Immanuel Kant, Prolegomena (trans. G. Hatfield)

“There is indeed the inexpressible. This shows itself; it is the mystical”.

Ludwig Wittgenstein, Tractatus logico-philosophicus (trans. F.P. Ramsey)

Conference themes

Kant’s critique of metaphysics clipped its own wings, declaring it incapable of living up to its object. Neo-positivists like Rudolf Carnap considered it to be devoid of any sense altogether. If ‘sense’ is understood through a too narrow framework, the concept could be misapprehended by the critics of metaphysics who could see it as an opportunity to smuggle in additional assumptions, such as the ontological naturalism or their own vision of ‘a great physical organism’. Meanwhile – it seems – the metaphysical residuum is inherent in almost every field of science incapable of dealing with such problems. Owing to its ongoing critique, metaphysics undergoes constant cycles of rebirth thanks to its different varieties, ranging from phenomenology, neo-Thomism, process philosophy to analytic philosophy or metaphysics of science.

Subject of the conference

What is the nature of the world, how to render it in conceptual terms, what is its basics and why does the world exist at all? If metaphysics is a search for answers to such questions, the domain has to rely on solid foundations itself. The question about the meaning of metaphysics/ontology is a metaquestion concerning its rationality, its cognitive capacity, the object of its inquiry and its method. Furthermore, it is a question about its grounds, what justifies its existence, in particular in the light of its criticism and alleged unsubstantiality. Also important here are the concepts of metaphysics and ontology, classical, modern and contemporary, their different typologies and meta-objective approaches.

The question about the meaning of metaphysics/ontology is also a question about its purpose and value, that is, whether, in addition to its presumed theoretical merit, it also has a practical application, and regarding its value in an axiological or social sense. We ask about the sense of metaphysics/ontology today, but also about the meaning itself. Today will become tomorrow’s history. The perspective employed here focuses on its relevance as such, and therefore invites a look into those aspects of metaphysics and ontology which, if they are to make sense at all, they would have made sense both in Aristotle’s time and now.

Conference objectives

We want to focus on the broadly conceived rationality of metaphysics / ontology, its object, method, concepts, rationale and criticism. We invite researchers exploring the topic, in particular philosophers concerned with metaphysical or ontological problematics and the methodology involved in these disciplines as well as scientific methodologies in general, without confining the reflection to a concrete tradition or conception of metaphysics / ontology, but opening it up to its various forms, mentioned or omitted above.

Each of the conference’s two days includes an opening lecture, themed sessions, and a panel discussion. Presentations of papers (30 min.) will be followed by a discussion (15 min.). The panel discussion will focus on themes linked to selected papers and will be held as an open exchange of ideas, overseen by a chairing person.

The conference is in hybrid mode. In-person presentations will be delivered onsite, at the WSZOP main building at 8 Bankowa Street in Katowice, while online presentations will take place via MS Teams. Both, the papers delivered at the conference and submitted after will be considered for publication in conference proceedings.


The prospected monograph The sense of metaphysics/ontology will be published in paper form, will be a collection of articles developed from the papers or submitted separately. Each article should range between 20,000 and 40,000 characters including spaces. In case of articles exceeding the limite, please contact us directly (filozofia@wszop.edu.pl).

Previous conference 2-3.06.2021
Platonism in metaphysics / ontology
(in Polish)


Wyższa Szkoła Zarządzania Ochroną Pracy w Katowicach

University of Occupational Safety Management in Katowice

Bankowa 8
40-007 Katowice

@ filozofia@wszop.edu.pl

Skip to content