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19593rd CFP: Ontological Priority and Essence in Aristotle and Aristotelian Metaphysics

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  • Tuomas E. Tahko
    Jun 9, 2014
      *Deadline approaching, June 30!*

      Studia Philosophica Estonica

      Special Issue: Ontological Priority and Essence in Aristotle and Aristotelian Metaphysics
      Edited by Riin Sirkel (Vermont) & Tuomas E. Tahko (Helsinki)

      Confirmed Contributors
      Travis Dumsday
      Kathrin Koslicki
      Michail Peramatzis
      Christie Thomas

      Call for Papers
      We welcome both historical and contemporary papers. But above all, we welcome papers combining historical and contemporary issues. We encourage scholars of Ancient philosophy to relate to contemporary discussions and think about what Aristotle or Plato (or their ancient or medieval followers) would think about these discussions, and we encourage contemporary Aristotelian metaphysicians to relate to Aristotle’s discussions. We hope new and interesting insights will emerge from this interaction between the history of philosophy and contemporary metaphysics.

      Papers should be no longer than 10 000 words and be prepared for blind review. Deadline for submissions is June 30, 2014. Please submit your paper via the SPE online system at http://www.spe.ut.ee/. In the comment filed of your submission, make sure to indicate that it is for the “Special Issue on Aristotle and Aristotelian Metaphysics”. Apart from that, please follow the author guidelines for a normal SPE submission. We expect to accept up to 8 submitted papers.

      Possible paper topics include (but are not limited to) the following:

      Ontological Priority and Grounding
      •    What is Aristotle’s notion of ontological priority? Does Aristotle have a notion of grounding, distinct from his notion of ontological priority?
      •    Does Aristotle’s notion of ontological priority differ from Plato’s notion of ontological priority?
      •    How do contemporary discussions of ontological priority, dependence and grounding relate to Aristotle’s discussion of these notions? What features do these two discussions have in common, such that we label the contemporary discussions as ‘Aristotelian’?
      •    What are the basic principles which govern ontological dependence, and which govern metaphysical grounding? For instance, are either or both well-founded, or can there be infinitely descending chains of dependence or grounding? What other formal properties do the relations satisfy (e.g. irreflexivity, asymmetry, transitivity)?
      •    What are the connections between essence and grounding (or priority)? Are they distinct primitive notions or is there an account of one in terms of the other? Are there any reasons for a contemporary Aristotelian to prefer one approach over another?

      •    What kinds of things have essences for Aristotle and/or for a contemporary Aristotelian?
      •    Do only substances have essences, or non-substances as well? Do only universals (e.g. species) have essences, or do particulars (e.g. Socrates) have essences as well? If particulars do not, in the strict sense, have essences, are they nonetheless substances?
      •    Is there a distinction between individual and generic essences?
      •    Some contemporary Aristotelians hold that ‘essence precedes existence’. How should we understand this idea? Is this compatible with Aristotle?
      •    What is (real) definition for Aristotle and/or for a contemporary Aristotelian? For example, Aristotle considers two ways of defining something: in terms of genus and differentiae, and in terms of matter and form. How are these two kinds of definition related to one another? How does this relate to contemporary discussions of real definition and essence?
      •    What is the status of propria, i.e., necessary but inessential properties?
      •    The problem of unity/complex essences: if a certain natural kind, for instance, has a number of properties essential to it, but these properties are nevertheless distinct, what guarantees that these properties are unified into a single kind essence? One Aristotelian line of answer might be that the essence is given by form and that properties ‘flow’ from form. How should we understand this notion of ‘flow’ (a term of art from Locke)?


      Dr. Tuomas E. Tahko
      Docent and Academy Research Fellow
      Theoretical Philosophy
      University of Helsinki
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