An Ontology for the Environmental Crisis (International Conference)

2018/19 LabOnt Workshops

Organized by Vera Tripodi & Elena Casetta

In a classical article, Willard Van Orman Quine (1948) wrote that the ontological problem can be put in three Anglo-Saxon monosyllables: “What is there?”, and that it can be answered in a word: “Everything”, and everyone will accept this answer as true. However: “there remains room for disagreement over case”. This series of workshops aims at exploring this disagreement, discussing and analyzing it through different disciplines and regions of being.

An Ontology for the Environmental Crisis (International Conference)
February 1 & 2
Campus Luigi Einaudi, University of Torino

Invited Speakers: Tiziana Andina, University of Turin; Dirk Maes, Research Institute for Nature and Forest (INBO), Brussels; Virginie Maris, CEFE/CNRS, Montpellier; Markku Oksanen, University of Eastern Finland; Jan Sprenger, University of Turin.

Who is responsible for the current environmental crisis—including the two intertwined phenomena of climate change and biodiversity declining? Typically, our species with its activities—habitat interruption, pollution, overexploitation of natural resources, etc.—is pointed at both as the main cause and the alleged agent who has the duty to redress the crisis. But what does that actually mean? Does it make any sense to speak of species responsibility? Could a species, as distinct from its individual members, be a moral agent? Answering these questions requires a preliminary reflection on the nature, on the one hand, of the very notion of collective responsibility (and the related notions of personal and shared responsibility); and, on the other hand, on the ontological status of our (and other) species, as well as collective subjects such as groups and communities.