Philosopher Ferraris to speak at UB

Published February 20, 2014

Leading Italian philosopher Maurizio Ferraris will discuss “The Ontology of Social Reality” during a lecture from 4-6 p.m. March 10 in 440 Park Hall, North Campus.

The talk is sponsored by the National Center for Ontological Research NCOR), based at UB.

In his talk, Ferraris will defend a view of deontic entities such as laws, rules, permissions and obligations as being ontologically dependent on legal and other documents. Such documents, which include not only legal codes and court documents but also invoices, calendars and work orders, create and sustain our deontic surroundings. Human beings are, in this view, primarily passive receptors — rather than active producers — of deontic entities, which should thus be viewed as being “socially dependent,” rather than “socially constructed.”

Founder of the Center for Theoretical and Applied Ontology (CTAO) and of the Laboratory of Ontology (Labont) at the University of Turin, Ferraris worked with German philosopher Hans-Georg Gadamer in Heidelberg and later became a friend and collaborator of French philosopher Jacques Derrida in Paris.

More recently an outspoken proponent of philosophical realism, he is the author of some 30 books, including “History of Hermeneutics,” “The Ontology of the Mobile Phone,” “Goodbye, Kant!” and “Documentality.”

For further information, contact Barry Smith, NCOR director and SUNY Distinguished Professor in the UB Department of Philosophy.