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Durham University

Department of Philosophy

Forthcoming Research Seminars and Lectures

Dr Joe Saunders
Research Seminar Coordinator

(For past seminars and lectures see here)

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Friday 11th May 2018: Annual EJ Lowe Lecture: Professor Peter van Inwagen (Notre Dame) - In Defense of Lightweight Platonism

(7 February 2018)

This lecture will be held in Durham Castle. Refreshments will be available from 5pm with the Lecture commencing at 5.15 until 6:45pm. There will be a wine reception at 6:45pm until 7:30pm with Dinner from 7:30pm.

Title: In Defense of Lightweight Platonism


In this lecture, I present and defend a metaphysical position I call Lightweight Platonism. The core theses of Lightweight Platonism are: (i) There exist propositions, properties, and relations. (ii) Properties and relations are “alethic” or “proposition like” entities. That is, while propositions are things that are true or false (full stop), properties are things that are true or false of things, and relations are things that are true or false of pluralities of things. (iii) Propositions, properties, and relations are the only abstracta. (iv) All abstracta exist necessarily, and some properties and relations are capable of existing without being instantiated (without being true of anything or any things). (v) Properties and relations “abound”—there is, for example, such a property as that it is either green or not round (or “being either green or not round”). (vi) Abstracta are without causal powers or propensities—they can be neither agents nor patients. (vii) That an object has, or that two or more objects have, a certain property explains nothing about it or them. For example, if an apple is green, and thus has (or instantiates or exemplifies) the property greenness (if that it is green is true of it), its having that property does not explain the fact that it is green; if two apples both green, and thus both have greenness—and are thus of the same color—, their both having greenness does not explain the fact that they are of the same color.


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