Course date

26 July - 31 July, 2021
Application for this course is closed.
Course Director(s): 

Gonzalo Rodriguez-Pereyra

Faculty of Philosophy, University of Oxford, United Kingdom
Course Faculty: 

Donald Baxter

Philosophy Department, University of Connecticut, Storrs, United States of America

Penelope Mackie

Department of Philosophy, University of Nottingham, United Kingdom
Course Coordinator: 

Nikhil Mahant

Department of Philosophy, CEU, Vienna, Austria

Identity has been among the central concerns of Philosophy, from Parmenides to David Lewis. What are the formal properties of identity? Is identity necessary? What is the relationship between essence and identity? When is a thing existing at a certain time identical to a thing existing at a different time? And, more specifically, when is a person existing at a certain time identical to a person existing at a different time? Is identity absolute or relative? Real or constructed? What is the relationship between qualitative identity and numerical identity, in particular, does qualitative identity entail numerical identity? Is a material thing identical to the matter of which it is made? These are some of the questions about identity that have preoccupied philosophers for centuries and still preoccupy them. The topic of identity is indeed one of the basic topics of metaphysics, and a long list of philosophical big names have made significant contributions to the understanding of identity: Aristotle, Locke, Leibniz, Hume, Russell, Wittgenstein, Kripke, and Parfit, to mention a few.

This 6-day research-oriented course is designed to familiarize participants with the latest advances in the philosophical debates about identity and related matters. The specific topics to be discussed will be the logic of identity and identity and modality; identity and essence; identity and indiscernibility; time, composition and identity; and personal identity. The course will be delivered by five leaders in their fields, and they will not only introduce those topics but also discuss their latest research on them. Participants will not only be able to interact with the course faculty in the classroom, but also during course breaks, and during lunch and dinner.

The course will follow a seminar format, and classes will be interactive with active involvement from the participants. There will be readings assigned for each class and the participants will be expected to familiarize themselves with the topics by reading the material. The course is open to graduate students (both masters and doctoral students) and early career philosophers with a background and research interest in philosophical issues concerning identity and/or metaphysics more generally.

Time permitting, selected participants may have occasion to present their own research.

NB Due to COVID-19, we had to postpone the course, originally planned for 2020, to the summer of 2021. Most of the places were filled for the course in 2020, therefore, we regret to inform applicants that there will only be three to five places available for the course in 2021.

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