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Prof. dr. F. (Franz) Berto

Metaphysics and History of Philosophy
Faculty of Science
Photographer: Jeroen Oerlemans

Visiting address
  • Oude Turfmarkt 141
Postal address
  • Postbus 94201
    1090 GE Amsterdam
Contact details
  • Research Profile

    I teach and work on logic and metaphysics. Before coming to Amsterdam, I’ve been doing more or less the same at the University of Aberdeen UK, at the Institute for Advanced Study, University of Notre Dame IN-USA, at the Sorbonne-Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris, at the Universities of Padua, Venice and Milan-San Raffaele in Italy.

    I love logical paradoxes, impossible worlds, nonexistent objects, and philosophers who don’t take themselves too seriously.


  • Research Grants

    2016-21 Five-year ERC Consolidator grant at the Institute for Logic, Language and Computation (ILLC): "The Logic of Conceivability", € 2.000.000. 

    2013-15 Two-year AHRC Early Career Researcher grant at the University of Aberdeen: "The Metaphysical Basis of Logic", £ 240.000. 

    2010-12 Two-year research grant at the Department of Philosophy, University of Venice: "The Gödel Paradox and Wittgenstein's Reasons", € 28.000. 

    2010-11 One-year research fellowship at the Institute for Advanced Study, University of Notre Dame (USA), $ 58.000. 

    2010 Ca' Foscari Research Prize, University of Venice, € 10.000.



  • Service to the Profession

    I run the entries "Dialetheism" (with Graham Priest), "Cellular Automata" (with Jacopo Tagliabue), and "Impossible Worlds" of the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.


    I have refereed for Analytic Philosophy, Australasian Journal of Logic, Australasian Journal of Philosophy, Dialectica, Disputatio, Erkenntnis, International Studies in the Philosophy of Science, Journal of Philosophical Logic, Logica Universalis, Logique et Analyse, Mind, Philosophical Quarterly, Philosophical Studies, Review of Symbolic Logic, Southern Journal of Philosophy, Synthèse, Thought, Continuum-Bloomsbury, Oxford University Press.

  • ERC Grant: The Logic of Conceivability

    The Logic of Conceivability [LoC]:

    Modelling Rational Imagination with Non-Normal Modal Logics

    Project web site here



    "The human imagination remains one of the last uncharted territories of the mind."

    – Ruth Byrne, The Rational Imagination 

    I have been given nearly 2.000.000 Euro's by the European Research Council for this Consolidator grant, lasting for five years (2017-2021) and hosted by the Institute for Logic, Language and Computation. Here's a short summary of the project:


    Our mind represents non-actual scenarios to extract information from them. We cannot experience beforehand which situations are or will be actual. So we explore them in our imagination, leaving our perceptions offline: ‘What would happen if...?’. The cognitive importance of this activity is hardly overestimated.

    But what is its logic? The orthodox logical treatment of representational mental states comes from modal logic’s possible worlds semantics: the modal analysis of knowledge, belief, information, was taken up by philosophy, linguistics, and Artificial Intelligence. However, the approach faces major problems. By systematically addressing them, the Logic of Conceivability (LoC) project will yield a paradigm shift in our understanding of the logic of human imagination.

    One major purely logical problem is that mainstream epistemic logics model cognitive agents as logically omniscient, thus as disconnected from the reality of human, fallible minds. 

    One major philosophical problem concerns the entailment from conceivability to so-called absolute possibility in ‘thought experiments’ of theoretical philosophy: how does conceiving a scenario give evidence of its possibility

    LoC will address such issues via the techniques of non-classical logics with non-normal worlds semantics. It will make logically precise the distinction, taken from cognitive science, between Fast Thinking (associative, context-sensitive) and Slow Thinking (rule-based, analytic). It will show how omniscience is avoided, and evidence of absolute possibility is achieved, in different manners in the Fast and Slow Way.

    Based at the Institute for Logic, Language and Computation, and advised by a Board of researchers from Europe, the US, and Australia, LoC will deliver high-impact outputs in top journals, a book, and knowledge dissemination results for non-specialists.



    The LoC Project will host four sub-projects, within some of which researchers will be hired:





    Sub-Project 1:

    LoC I: Foundations

    4-year Post-doc 1 (Logic, Analytic Philosophy)


    Year 1 to 4 (2017-20)

    Sub-Project 2:

    LoC II: Core Theory & Applications

    4-year Post-doc 2 (Cognitive Science)

    4-year Post-doc 3 (Mathematical Logic and AI)


    Year 2 to 5 (2018-21)

    Sub-Project 3:

    Loc III: Conceivability and Possibility

    4-year PhD candidate (Logic and Philosophy)


    Year 1 to 4 (2017-20)

    Sub-Project 4:

    LoC IV: the LoC Book


    Years 4 and 5 (2020-21)





  • Publications











    • Berto, F. (2015). 'There Is an 'Is' in 'There Is'': Meinongian Quantification and Existence. In A. Torza (Ed.), Quantifiers, Quantifiers, and Quantifiers: Themes in Logic, Metaphysics, and Language (pp. 221-240). (Synthese Library; Vol. 373). Springer. [details]
    • Berto, F. (2015). A Modality Called 'Negation'. Mind, 124(495), 761-793. [details]
    • Berto, F., & Bottai, L. (2015). Che cos'è una contraddizione. (Bussole; No. 503). Carocci. [details]
    • Berto, F., & Plebani, M. (2015). Ontology and Metaontology: A Contemporary Guide. Bloomsbury. [details]




    • Berto, F. (2012). Existence as a Real Property: The Ontology of Meinongianism. (Synthese library; No. 356). Springer.
    • Berto, F. (2012). How to Rule Out Things with Words. In G. Restall, & G. Russell (Eds.), New Waves in Philosophical Logic (pp. 169-189). (New Waves). Palgrave Macmillan.
    • Berto, F. (2012). Non-Normal Worlds and Representation. In The Logica Yearbook 2011 (pp. 15-30). College Publications.
    • Berto, F. (2012). The Selection Problem. Revue Internationale de Philosophie, 66, 519-537.
    • Berto, F. (2012). To Be Is To Have Causal Powers. In M. Plebani, & M. Favaretti (Eds.), Existence and Nature: New Perspectives (pp. 33-63). Ontos Verlag - De Gruyter.
    • Berto, F. (2012). Wittgenstein on Incompleteness Makes Paraconsistent Sense. In K. Tanaka, F. Berto, E. Mares, & F. Paoli (Eds.), Paraconsistency: Logic and Applications (pp. 255-274). Springer.
    • Berto, F., & Tagliabue, J. (2012). Cellular Automata. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2012(Summer).
    • Tanaka, K., Berto, F., Mares, E., & Paoli, F. (2012). Paraconsistency: Logic and Applications. Springer.


    • Berto, F. (2011). Modal Meinongianism and Fiction: the Best of Three Worlds. Philosophical Studies, 153, 313-335.
    • Berto, F., Rossi, G., & Tagliabue, J. (2011). Come ti sconfiggo l'entropia informazionale: Automi cellulari e computazione reversibile. Sistemi Intelligenti, 23 3(DECEMBER), 427-446.


    • Berto, F. (2010). Impossible Worlds and Propositions: Against the Parity Thesis. Philosophical Quarterly, 60, 471-486.
    • Berto, F., Tagliabue, J., & Rossi, G. (2010). The Mathematics of the Models of Reference. (Computing Series; No. 12). College Publications.


    • Berto, F. (2009). There's Something about Gödel: The Complete Guide to the Incompleteness Theorem. Wiley-Blackwell.
    • Berto, F. (2009). There’s Something About Gödel. Wiley-Blackwell.
    • Berto, F. (2009). Strong Paraconsistency and Exclusion Negation. In The Logica Yearbook 2008 (pp. 15-25). College Publications.
    • Berto, F. (2009). The Gödel Paradox and Wittgenstein's Reasons. Philosophia Mathematica, 17, 208-219.
    • Berto, F., & Carrara, M. (2009). To Exist and to Count: a Note on the Minimalist View. Dialectica, 63(3), 343-356.


    • Berto, F. (2008). Adynaton and Material Exclusion. Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 86, 165-190.
    • Berto, F. (2008). Modal Meinongianism for Fictional Objects. Metaphysica, 9, 205-218.



    • Berto, F. (2006). Characterizing Negation to face Dialetheism. Logique et Analyse, 195, 241-263.
    • Berto, F. (2006). Meaning, Metaphysics and Contradiction. American Philosophical Quarterly, 43, 283-297.


    Journal editor

    • Aloni, M. (editor), Berto, F. (editor), Incurvati, L. (editor) & Roelofsen, F. (editor) (2015-2016). Topoi (Journal).

    Talk / presentation

    • Berto, F. (invited speaker) (18-10-2016). Aboutness and Imagination, University of Tokyo.
    • Berto, F. (keynote speaker) (15-10-2016). Modal Meinongianism: Conceiving the Impossible, Tokyo Metropolitan University.
    • Berto, F. (invited speaker) (12-10-2016). Dialetheism and the Exclusion-Expressing Device, Center for Applied Philosophy, University of Kyoto.
    • Berto, F. (keynote speaker) (9-10-2016). As Good As It Gets. Modal-Epistemic Logic for Inconsistent Agents, Without Paraconsistency, or Impossible Worlds, University of Kyoto.
    • Berto, F. (invited speaker) (22-9-2016). A New Take on Logical Omniscience, University of Turin.
    • Berto, F. (invited speaker) (14-9-2016). A New Take on Logical Omniscience, School of Philosophy of University of St. Andrews.
    • Berto, F. (invited speaker) (23-5-2016). Counting the Particles, University Paris I - Pantheon Sorbonne.
    • Berto, F. (invited speaker) (24-3-2016). The Logic of Imagination, University of Turin.
    • Berto, F. (invited speaker) (25-1-2016). Il problema dell'esclusione, University of Padua.
    • Berto, F. (invited speaker) (20-1-2016). Modal Meinongianism and Lewis' Four Ways, University of Santiago de Compostela.
    • Berto, F. (invited speaker) (11-12-2015). No Entity Without Self-Identity, Erasmus University Rotterdam.
    • Berto, F. (invited speaker) (2-12-2015). Parthood and Identity in a Structural World, Université de Provence, Marseille, France.
    • Berto, F. (invited speaker) (24-11-2015). Naive Meinongianism and neo-Meinongianisms (of Three Different Kinds), University of Utrecht, Utrecht.
    • Berto, F. (invited speaker) (26-10-2015). The Firmest of All Principles - Impossible Worlds and the Logic of Imagination, Lund University.
    • Berto, F. (invited speaker) (13-9-2015). Positive and Negative Modalities, University of Osnabrück.
    • Berto, F. (invited speaker) (4-7-2015). Modal Meinongianism, Characterisation, and Existence, Univ. of Geneva (Switzerland).
    • Berto, F. (invited speaker) (14-1-2015). Oggetti finzionali: meinonghianismo modale e altre opzioni, University of Macerata.


    • Krzyżanowska, K. (organiser), Özgün, A. (organiser), Schoonen, T. (organiser), Hawke, P. (organiser), Ferguson, T. (organiser), Solaki, A. (organiser) & Berto, F. (organiser) (6-2021). Logic of Conceivability Conference (organising a conference, workshop, ...).


    • Booij, E. J. (2021). The things before us: On what it is to be an object. [Thesis, fully internal, Universiteit van Amsterdam]. Institute for Logic, Language and Computation. [details]
    • Hornischer, L. A. (2021). Dynamical systems via domains: Toward a unified foundation of symbolic and non-symbolic computation. [Thesis, fully internal, Universiteit van Amsterdam]. Institute for Logic, Language and Computation. [details]
    • Solaki, A. (2021). Logical models for bounded reasoners. [Thesis, fully internal, Universiteit van Amsterdam]. Institute for Logic, Language and Computation. [details]


    • Canavotto, I. (2020). Where responsibility takes you: Logics of agency, counterfactuals and norms. [Thesis, fully internal, Universiteit van Amsterdam]. Institute for Logic, Language and Computation. [details]
    • Schoonen, T. (2020). Tales of Similarity and Imagination: A modest epistemology of possibility. [Thesis, fully internal, Universiteit van Amsterdam]. Institute for Logic, Language and Computation. [details]
    This list of publications is extracted from the UvA-Current Research Information System. Questions? Ask the library or the Pure staff of your faculty / institute. Log in to Pure to edit your publications. Log in to Personal Page Publication Selection tool to manage the visibility of your publications on this list.
  • Ancillary activities
    • Istituto di Studi Filosofici di Teologia
      Visiting Professorial Fellow