Submission deadline: February 24, 2020

Conference date(s):
April 30, 2020 - May 3, 2020

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Conference Venue:

Universitá della Svizzera Italiana
Lugano, Switzerland

Topic areas


Call for Abstracts

We invite submissions of abstracts from graduate students willing to make a presentation (in either English or French) at the

2020 Spring School on


Wholes and Their Parts. Mereology and Its History


April 30th – May 3rd 2020 – USi Lugano

Deadline for submission: Monday, February 24th, 2020, at 11:59 pm CET.

Keynote Speakers:

Peter Simons (Trinity College Dublin & Salzburg University);

Achille Varzi (Columbia University);

Annamaria Schiaparelli (Université de Genève);

Claudio Calosi (Université de Genève)

Nicola Guarino (ISTC-CNR Laboratory for Applied Ontology (LOA) 

Andrew Arlig (Brooklyn Collge, CUNY). 

The School will comprise:

- Lectures on mereology (A) and its history (B), offered by some of the world leaders in the field.

- Talks given by the keynote speakers and the graduate students whose abstract will be selected.

A. Mereology - the study of parthood relations - has known important technical developments since the beginning of the 20th century, when Husserl and especially Leśniewski (who gave it its name) approached it with formal tools. The subsequent flourishing of both classical mereology and non-classical systems has allowed philosophers to elaborate new approaches to issues in general metaphysics, but also in the foundations of mathematics, in the philosophy of physics and biology, in the philosophy of mind and language, in social ontology, and elsewhere. New areas of investigation have also arisen within mereology itself, as shown by recent research in meta-mereology. Our Spring School will be the occasion for graduate students to be introduced to some of the latest discussions about and applications of mereology in different areas of philosophy.

B. Broadly understood as the (not necessarily formal or axiomatic) theory of parthood, mereology is as old as philosophy itself. Presocratic philosophers were mainly interested in the fundamental mereological structure of physical reality. Plato’s dialogues often speak of Forms or Kinds either as wholes having parts or as component parts of objects. Aristotle’s discussions of definitions which “give the parts” or elements of the definiendum in the Topics, of material causes in the Physics and the Metaphysics, and of biological wholes in the Parts of Animals witness to his widespread interest in mereological issues. The Middle Ages follow Aristotle via Boethius’ works and commentaries. Original views are laid out, among others, by William of Sherwood, Abelard, the Pseudo-Joscelin, Aquinas, Buridan, Ockham, Albert of Saxony, Peter of Spain, Radulphus Brito, and, in the modern age, Suárez. Interesting approaches and applications can subsequently be found in Jungius, Leibniz, Hume, and Kant. Bernard Bolzano’s pioneering work in mereology, then, prepares the ground for Husserl’s and Lesniewski’s later, more refined developments.

We are open to any philosophical question clearly related to the main topic, both from a systematic and a historical perspective. Submissions by PhD students of the CUSO area (Geneva, Neuchâtel, Fribourg, Lausanne) are particularly encouraged.

*All abstracts should be of a maximum of 500 words (not including the bibliography).

*Presentations will last 30 minutes and will be followed by discussion.

*Only PDF files will be accepted.

*Submissions must be prepared for blind-review.

*Please include a separate PDF file as a cover page with your name, the title of your submission, your current academic affiliation and your e-mail address.

*Please send your submissions to the following address: [email protected] 

Every effort will be made to cover travel costs at least in part, if not fully, also for non-CUSO graduate students.

Deadline for submission: Monday, February 24th, 2020, at 11:59 pm CET.

Notification of acceptance should be expected by Mid-March.

Registration for non-speaker participants: Registration is free of charge, but mandatory. Please email us if you want to register.

Graduate students from the CUSO area (Fribourg, Geneva, Lausanne, Neuchâtel) are eligible for total refunding of train fares provided they register for the event on the CUSO website.

Organization: Claudio Calosi, Damiano Costa, Paolo Crivelli, Paolo Natali

This event is generously supported by the Conférence Universitaire de Suisse Occidentale (CUSO), by the Istituto di Studi Filosofici (ISFI) di Lugano, and by the SNSF-Project The Metaphysics of Quantum Objects. It is hosted by Università della Svizzera italiana (Lugano).

Further info can be found here:

Contact: For any query, do not hesitate to send us an e-mail at [email protected]

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