16th July 2013
Keynote Speakers: Kit Fine; E.J. Lowe; Jose Zalabardo
Senate Suite, Durham Castle
University of Durham, Durham, UK.
We invite submissions from graduate students/post-doctoral researchers for
papers to be presented a workshop investigating the viability of
metaphysical research (workshop description below).
Deadline for submissions: 17th June 2013.
Abstracts for submission for the workshop should be no more than 750 words
(exc. Bibliography), prepared for blind review. Please include a separate
cover page including name, address, contact information, and current
institution. Abstracts should be suited for a presentation of 40 minutes
(with 20 minutes of questions). Abstracts should be submitted in Microsoft
Word, PDF or similar. Please e-mail submissions to
Although metaphysics has long been taken by some as a central domain of
enquiry within philosophy, dating back at least as far as Aristotle¹s work
on the subject matter, its status as a coherent body of work has been
attacked throughout the history of western philosophy. Seen by many to
have had a final damaging blow in the work of Kant, metaphysics returned
to a central position in philosophy in the twentieth century following
Quine¹s seminal paper ŒOn What There Is¹. Metaphysics thus proceeded with
vigour throughout much of the twentieth century (see the work of Lowe,
Lewis, and Armstrong for some examples), but without too much concern for
its own foundations.
Quine though not only reinvigorated metaphysics, but also laid the
foundation for the many modern objections to its viability that have been
developed, drawing upon Quine¹s own (possible) rejection of a metaphysical
line of enquiry. As such, there has been a recent surge of interest in the
viability of metaphysics as a research question, and the growth in the
field of Œmetametaphysics¹ (see Chalmers, Manley, and Wasserman, eds.,
2011 for some examples). Metaphysicians, both realist and anti-realist,
therefore are more aware of the need to both explain and justify their
metametaphysical positions. These issues are not only limited within the
scope of metaphysical enquiry, but also touch upon issues in epistemology
(which many recent rejections of metaphysics rely upon), the philosophy of
language (of particular interest here as detailed below), logic, and the
philosophy of science including the correct role for science within
This workshop aims to build upon this interest, and subsequently has
invited some of the leading names in the field to discuss the various
issues that arise in this domain.
Particular interest will be applied to the role of language in metaphysics.
Recent anti-realist arguments have often centred on the claim that
metaphysical debates are Œpurely verbal¹ (see Hirsch 2011, building upon a
tradition of work from Carnap and Putnam). The role and nature of language
has therefore been used to argue against a realist position, building on
this idea of metaphysics as a process of mere Œconceptual analysis¹.
Clarifying the correct role of language in metaphysics, and the
relationship between philosophy of language and metaphysics, is therefore
central to the future practice and legitimacy of the domain.
We are grateful for support from the Philosophy Department, Durham, the
Mind Association, the British Logic Colloquium, and the Durham Institute
of Advanced Studies for their support of this event.