Formal Causation

October 22, 2018 - October 23, 2018
Universität Rostock

IBZ -- Internationales Begegnungszentrum
Bergstraße 7a
Rostock 18057

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  • Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft


Durham University
Duke University
Université de Neuchâtel
University of Pittsburgh
Durham University
Durham University
University of Reading
Ludwig Maximilians Universität, München
University of Bristol
Freie Universität Berlin


PTH Brixen College
University of Reading

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Formal causation, one of the four traditional kinds of causation distinguished by Aristotle, is currently heavily under-researched and has even fallen into disrepute. Formal causation is at play whenever a thing has a certain property because it is of a certain kind. Such properties are normally called essential properties. For instance, whales have the disposition to breathe with lungs because they are mammals. There is an extensive and influential trend in contemporary philosophy studying causation in terms of dispositions, while the question of why things have some dispositions (or other properties) and lack others in the first place has largely been ignored.

The conference will explore formal causation, i.e., the view that an object having a property such as a disposition can be explained through kind membership. Some of the talks will be historical work, mainly on Aristotle, some will be systematic work on the contemporary discussion, and some will combine both historical and systematic approaches. Especially relevant for formal causation are the contemporary debates about essence and necessity, dependence and grounding, laws of nature, universals, dispositions, and functions.

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October 7, 2018, 8:00pm CET

Who is attending?

5 people are attending:

Agnese Irbe
Liva Rotkale
and 3 more.

1 person may be attending:

Liva Rotkale

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