Metaphysical Society of America

Tomorrow - March 26, 2023
Metaphysical Society of America

Courtyard Atlanta Decatur
United States

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What Is Metaphysics?

In the Western philosophical tradition, metaphysics has been affirmed as the study of ultimate reality (Plato, Aristotle, et al.), ridiculed (Hume), contained (Kant), reconstructed (Dewey), rejected as meaningless (logical positivists), and identified by Nietzsche as the Carthage that must be destroyed. And yet, here we are.

The constitution of the MSA states that our purpose is “the study of reality.” This broad statement, particularly in light of the above challenges, merits clarification. Our theme therefore invites us to reflect more substantially on what it is that we do when we study and practice metaphysics. If every academic discipline studies reality in some way (including reality that is typically thought to originate from the imagination, such as painting or poetry), what is unique about the approach taken by metaphysics, and what particular insight does metaphysics provide? Furthermore, while metaphysics engages with other disciplines, such as physics, biology, theology, morals, and mathematics, what is distinct about the ways in which metaphysics addresses and contributes to these areas? The question, “What is metaphysics?”, then, may be interpreted as "what is metaphysics in comparison to other sciences/disciplines?" At the same time, it may also be understood historically, as in, "what is metaphysics today in comparison to its past and what will it be in the future?"

Proposals for papers on other topics of metaphysics are also welcome, but relevance to the conference theme will be used as a criterion when determining which submissions to accept.

Abstracts of approximately 500 words should be submitted electronically by September 1, 2022, to: [email protected].

Those whose abstracts are chosen by the Program Committee should submit completed papers by January 15, 2023 to allow review by commentators, publication of the program, and possible online sharing of the papers to conference participants. Papers submitted to commenters must not exceed that which can be presented within the time allotted on the program (typically one half-hour). Therefore, completed papers should not exceed approximately 3,750 words or 15 pages. Further information on the conference will become available at:

Aristotle Prize: Full papers submitted by persons who have not yet earned a Ph.D. or who have received a Ph.D. within five years of the submission date will be considered for the Aristotle Prize, if the Program Committee is made aware of their eligibility. Papers submitted for the Aristotle Prize are subject to a 3,750 word limit; this word limit applies to the body of the text to be read at the meeting, and not to footnotes or other supporting material. The Aristotle Prize carries a cash award of $500, inclusion in the program, and assistance with the costs associated with attending the meeting. Full papers must be submitted for the prize by September 1, 2022 to: [email protected].

Travel Grants: Thanks to the generous support of past presidents of the MSA and a grant from the Hocking-Cabot Fund for Systematic Philosophy, we are pleased to be able to offer reimbursements for travel expenses up to $350 to graduate students whose papers are selected for the program for our annual meeting (contingent on submission of receipts).

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March 18, 2023, 9:00am EST

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