Kathrin Koslicki

Canada Research Chair in Epistemology and Metaphysics

Tier 1 - 2017-11-01
University of Alberta
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council


Coming to Canada From

University of Colorado-Boulder, United States

Research involves

Developing a new approach to metaphysics that incorporates logic and compatibility with science and strives for argumentative clarity.

Research relevance

This research will help develop theories of fundamental metaphysical concepts and position Canada as a leader in modern metaphysics.

A Modern Approach to Metaphysics

What is fundamental?” This question is a cornerstone of philosophy, and has been a source of controversy among philosophers and scientists since the emergence of Western philosophy–more than 2,000 years ago. 

Dr. Kathrin Koslicki, Canada Research Chair in Epistemology and Metaphysics, defines the question as “the study of being in its most general form”, or metaphysics. Koslicki takes inspiration from Aristotle, who was the source of the word "metaphysics". However, Koslicki is contributing to a significant reorientation of analytic metaphysics that incorporates formal logic, aims for compatibility with science, and strives for argumentative clarity and precision.

Koslicki is developing a new approach to metaphysics that focuses on the question of how the parts of objects are related to the whole they compose.  For example, her theory of parts and wholes posits that an H2O molecule requires that the two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom that compose to be arranged in the particular manner of chemical bonding, which requires the atoms to share electrons.

Koslicki’s research is tailor-made for collaborative projects and co-authored publications involving researchers from across Canada and around the world. Koslicki envisions exchanges of ideas through workshops, outside speakers, reading groups, and cross-disciplinary presentations. 

Koslicki’s research on an ancient discipline will position Canada to take a lead role in modern metaphysics.