Ricki Bliss on Humboldt Fellowship in Germany during AY 16-17.

For the academic year 2016-17, Professor Bliss will be on sabbatical.  During this time she will be a visiting research fellow at the University of Hamburg, Germany on a generous research grant from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.  The project for which she has received this grant is entitled ‘Reality and its Metaphysical Structure’.  Although much philosophical attention is presently being paid to notions of metaphysical structure and fundamentality, the contemporary literature has proceeded with an almost surprising ignorance of the place these notions have had in the history of the tradition.  Great thinkers such as Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Hume have all developed world-views that make use of notions of ontological dependence and fundamentality, for example.  Moreover, to date, the contemporary literature has been surprisingly conservative - the standard view is very much that there is a fundamental level of reality that gives rise to a derivative metaphysical super-structure.  Professor Bliss’ research project aims to explore alternatives to the standard view, drawing particularly on historical sources.