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Philosophy Speakers: Yual Chiek: "Compossibility: The Reformed Logical Interpretation"

Date & Time:
February 26, 2016 | 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Social Sciences Tower, Room 1253

About the Talk

On the Logical Interpretation of Leibnizian compossibility two substances are compossible if and only if the supposition of their co-existence is a logically consistent one, they are incompossible if the supposition of their co-existence is logically inconsistent. Most scholars of Leibniz’s work have abandoned the Logical Interpretation in the face of considerations that they think render the Logical Interpretation untenable. In this paper I maintain that these scholars are mistaken. In my view, abandonment of the Logical Interpretation is premature because the arguments reared against it fall short of a successful refutation of the Logical Interpretation. I argue that these arguments against the Logical Interpretation are successful against only two strains of the Logical Interpretation, but not to a third logical interpretation that I shall present. I call the two strains LS1 and LS2. I call the new interpretation “The Reformed Logical Interpretation.” That there are two distinct strains of the Logical Interpretation is rarely discussed in the literature. I correct this shortcoming by demonstrating that the strongest arguments against it bear on the Logical Interpretation in two quite different ways. Ways that correspond to the two original strains of the Logical Interpretation. I then move to show that the Reformed Logical Interpretation is different from LS1 and LS2 and is not susceptible to the criticisms raised against LS1 and LS2. By virtue of that fact the Reformed Logical Interpretation succeeds where LS1 and LS2 fail, I conclude that the Reformed Logical Interpretation should be taken as the default Logical Interpretation thus keeping the Logical Interpretation a viable solution to the problem of incompossibility.

About the Speaker

Yual Chiek obtained his PhD from Queen’s University in 2014.  Yual specializes in Early-Modern Philosophy with a focus on the modal metaphysics of Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz. His thesis was the topic of incompossibility, a foundational yet notoriously difficult element of Leibniz’s famous possible worlds metaphysics. The thesis was written while he was a visiting student at Yale University (2011-13) and was supervised by Jon Miller of Queen’s University and Michael Della Rocca of Yale University. Yual is also the co-editor with Dr. Gregory Brown of the University of Houston of a volume entitled Leibniz: Compossibility and Possible Worlds. The volume will be published in The New Synthese Historical Library by Springer Press.

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