Professor Louis deRosset, Department of Philosophy

We metaphysicians often have very little idea what we are talking about. We are in good company: Newton and Leibniz did not have any very good idea of what functions, fluxions, and differentials were, and Marco Polo introduced the island of Madagascar to Europeans without realizing it was an island. How, though, do we manage to talk about some particular thing when we are radically mistaken about its nature? The surprising answer, in brief, is that we get lucky. We benefit from being in the right social position, even when we acquire that position as a result of future reactions to what we say now. This is what makes the world safe for metaphysicians, discoverers of calculus, and other clueless theorizers.

Louis deRosset started his career at UVM in 2005. He is a philosopher working in metaphysics, philosophical logic, and philosophy of language. He is especially interested in the metaphysics of reduction and explanation. He is the recipient of the 2013 Sanders Prize in Metaphysics and the author of many papers. He is now writing a book on grounding.

He delivered this College of Arts and Sciences Full Professor Lecture Nov. 30, 2016


College of Arts & Sciences