Holes and Other Superficialities

Holes and Other Superficialities

By Roberto Casati and Achille C. Varzi

A Bradford Book





This fascinating investigation on the borderlines of metaphysics, everyday geometry, and the theory of perception seeks to answer two basic questions: Do holes really exist? And if so, what are they? Holes are among entities that down-to-earth philosophers would like to expel from their ontological inventory. Casati and Varzi argue in favor of their existence and explore the consequences of this unorthodox approach—odd as these might appear. They examine the ontology of holes, their geometry, their part-whole relations, their identity, their causal role, and the ways we perceive them.

A Bradford Book


Out of Print ISBN: 9780262032117 266 pp. | 6 in x 9 in


$30.00 X | £24.00 ISBN: 9780262531337 266 pp. | 6 in x 9 in


  • Most work in metaphysics concentrates on the more abstract kinds of entities- substances, universals and events. Casati and Varzi explore the ins and outs of the metaphysics of holes, one of the lesser kinds- with brio, much learning lightly worn and a number of excellent arguments and distinctions.

    Kevin Mulligan

    University of Geneva

  • Focussed on the problematic otology of the holes as morphological accidents of shapes, spatioal individuals and dependent 'superficial' particulars, Roberto Casati's and Achille Varzi's Holes and Other Superficialities gives an outstanding example of the richness of the new intersection between philosophy and cognitive science. It shows acutely how ideal spatial properties, which depend mathematically on algebraic topology, differential geometry and morphology, can be integrated in phenomenological descriptions (including formal ontology and mereology), Gestalt theory and conceptual structures. Its implications will be far reaching for the investigation of the 'terra incognita' that space congnition still is.

    Professor Jean Petitot

    CREA, Ecole Polytechnique, Paris

  • A brilliant demonstration of the powers of qualitative, topology-based reasoning as a tool for gaining a new and feeper understanding of the structures of the common-sense world.

    Barry Smith

    Department of Philosophy and Center for Cognitive Science SUNY Buffalo

  • This is a highly original book, which explores the nature and properties of common yet puzzling objects, holes. Its creative approach egenders new problems, and casts new light on basic issues in logic, ontology and epistimology.

    Avrum Stroll

    Professor of Philosophy, University of California, San Diego