Graduate Conference on Essentialism
September 26-27, 2008 UC Davis
The Philosophy Department at the University of California at Davis will be hosting a Graduate Conference on Essentialism Sept. 26 and 27, 2008. The conference will feature papers in metaphysics broadly construed by graduate students from USC, UT Austin, NYU, Stanford, UM College Park, and UA Tucson. The Keynote Address will be delivered by L.A. Paul of UA Tucson and UNC Chapel Hill. The conference is free and open to anyone in the philosophical community.
The keynote speaker, L.A. Paul (UNC), argues that the best way to understand nonreductionism about mental states is to take physical states to constitute mental states. Jonathan Weil's (USC) paper discusses the role conceivability plays in the physicalists/anti-physicalist debate and in the dispositional essentialists/quidditivists debate. Bryan Pickel (UT Austin) argues that those who claim there's an "is" of constitution have failed to demonstrate that "is" is ambiguous in the way it needs it to be for there to be an "is" of constitution. Mike Raven (NYU) argues that quantifier variance carries no deep metaphysical implications. Chad Carmichael (Stanford) argues against David Lewis' claim that vague composition leads to vague identity. Melissa Ebbers (UM College Park) argues that Chalmers' two-dimensionalist argument only works against certain arguments for materialism, rather than against materialism itself. Craig Warmke (UA Tucson) examines Della Rocca's claim that arguments for essentialism that appeal to the necessity of identity are circular.