Philosophy at St Andrews

Either the World Is Digital or It Is Not

Wed 20th February 2013 16:15

Room 104, Edgecliffe

Franz Berto (Aberdeen)


Structural ontologies like (Floridi 2009, 2011), (Ladyman and Ross 2007), are naturally allied with the view that digital and analogue are not features of reality, only of modes of presentation of reality. On the contrary, we take the proposition expressed by our title as a tautology (and we sympathise with the digital side). We start by explaining what our alleged tautology means. Then we describe Floridi’s 2009 argument against digital ontology, and we raise two difficulties for it, (1) an objection from counting: the view entails that the question of how many things there are doesn’t make sense; (2) an objection from mereology: the view is incompatible with the world’s having parts. We finally sketch a pair of possible ways out for the structural ontologist. Such ways out involve tampering with the logical features of identity, and this may be bothersome enough.

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