Scott Dixon of Ashoka University wins 2017 Marc Sanders Prize in Metaphysics
Prof. Dixon wins the Marc Sanders prize for his paper on "Plural Slot Theory".
Office of PR & Communications1 January, 2018 | 4 min read
The Marc Sanders Foundation congratulated Scott Dixon, the 2017 winner of the Sanders Prize in Metaphysics for his paper “Plural Slot Theory”. This year, there was a particularly large and strong pool from which to choose. The judges (Karen Bennett, Ted Sider, Laurie Paul, Ross Cameron, and Jason Turner) had their work cut out for them. In the end, four essays were offered publication in Oxford Studies in Metaphysics or given invitations to revise-and-resubmit — more than usual for this competition, indicating the strength of the field.
Scott Dixon is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Ashoka University. His primary research interest is in metaphysics, particularly in grounding. He also has interests in logic (especially plural logic and infinitary logic) and the philosophy of mathematics.
(Professor Scott Dixon wins the prize for his paper on Plural Slot Theory)
ABSTRACT: Fine (2000) argues, pace Russell, that relations have neither directions nor converses. He considers two ways to conceive of these new “neutral” relations, positionalism and anti-positionalism, and argues that the latter should be preferred to the former. Gilmore (2013) argues for a generalization of positionalism, slot theory–the view that a relation is n-adic if and only if there are n slots in it, and, roughly, that each slot may be occupied by at most one entity. Slot theory bears the full brunt of Fine’s (2000) symmetric completions and conflicting adicities problems. I develop an alternative view, plural slot theory, which avoids these problems, key elements of which are first considered by Yi (1999). Like the slot theorist, the plural slot theorist posits entities in properties and relations that can be occupied. But unlike the slot theorist, the plural slot theorist denies that at most one entity can occupy any one of them. As a result, she must also deny that the adicity of a relation is equal to the number of occupiable entities in it. By abandoning these theses, however, the plural slot theorist is able to avoid Fine’s problems, resulting in a stronger theory about the internal structure of properties and relations. Plural slot theory also avoids a serious drawback of anti-positionalism.