Re-evaluating Social Essences

April 30, 2021 - May 2, 2021

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  • Canadian Metaphysics Collaborative


Duke University
Tufts University
New York University
CUNY Graduate Center


University of Victoria

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It was once common to investigate the various items of the social world (institutions, nations, races, genders, artifacts, and so on) by investigating their essences or natures. But many theories of essence relied on assumptions that were scientifically unsupported, philosophically unsubstantiated, or socially unjust. Recent developments in philosophy, however, are rehabilitating essence. The guiding theme of this workshop is to reevaluate the prospects for social essences in particular. The workshop will be hosted online by the University of Victoria from April 30-May 2, 2021, and will coincide with the fourth annual meeting of the Canadian Metaphysics Collaborative. Those who wish to attend but who are not on the program must request registration by emailing [email protected].

The workshop's program includes: 

    “Statelessness and the Social Ontology of State Membership”

    Speakers: Heather Alexander and Jonathan Simon (Université de Montréal)

    Commentator: Frank Hindriks (University of Groningen)

    “Permission to Exist: Social Classification and Identity Politics”

    Speaker: Jude Buckner (Duke University)

    Commentator: Elise Woodard (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor)

    “Social Kinds* and Social Groups”

    Speaker: Rachel K. Cooper (University of California, Irvine)

    Commentator: Aaron Griffith (College of William and Mary)

    “Social Kinds are Essentially Mind-Dependent”

    Speaker: Rebecca Mason (University of San Francisco)

    Commentator: Irem Kurtsal (Allegheny College)

    “Words, Species, and Kinds”

    Speaker: James Miller (Durham University)

    Commentator: Simone Evnine (University of Miami)

    “Social Kind Essentialism”

    Speaker: Asya Passinsky (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill)

    Commentator: Kate Ritchie (University of California, Irvine)

    “Women as Victims of ‘Misogyny’: Re-centering Marginalization”

    Speaker: Angela Zhao (University of British Columbia)

    Commentator: Charlotte Witt (University of New Hampshire)

    “What are Sex and Gender and What Do We Want Them to Be?”

    Keynote Speaker: Ásta (San Francisco State University)

    “Real Definition and the Generation of Essence”

    Keynote Speaker: Brian Epstein (Tufts University)

    “Language and Social Ontology: From Refugees to Rideshare Drivers”

    Keynote Speaker: Muhammad Ali Khalidi (City University of New York)

    “The Identity of Gender”

    Inaugural Alumni Speaker: Kit Fine (New York University)

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April 29, 2021, 5:00am EST

Who is attending?

5 people are attending:

Michael J. Raven
University of Victoria
Michael J. Raven
University of Victoria
and 3 more.

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