Graduate School 2004 on Abstract Entitie


Financed by the Swiss National Science Foundation and supported by the research project Iris, Kevin Mulligan (Geneva), Gianfranco Soldati (Fribourg), Michael Esfeld (Lausanne) and I are organising a summer school ("école doctorale"/"Graduiertenkurs") on abstract entities during summer term 2004. The school consists in five workshops, with two invited speakers each.

The aim of the workshops is to maximise interaction and discussion between the invited speakers and the other participants. There are two ways of participating in the workshops:

Workshops start with a tutorial on Thursday morning, where student participants discuss the paper they read and introduce themselves to the topic.

At the end of every workshop, we have a "general question period", where the invited speakers answer written questions by other participants, on either their presentation or other parts of their work. These questions are to be given to Philipp Keller before Saturday morning, so that the speakers have some time to prepare themselves.

calls for papers

Corresponding to the workshops, there are five calls for discussion papers, to be presented during the workshop. Discussion papers do not have to be well-polished publishable articles. The submitted written version will be distributed to all participants of the workshop - the oral presentation of about 20 minutes only summarises the argument. Presentations are in English, though papers may be in other languages too. Please send your papers as pdf documents to Here are possible topics (all disjunctions are inclusive):

  • papers on modality or (preferably related) work by Ian Rumfitt or Bob Hale. Deadline: 12 March.
  • papers on facts, events or (preferably related) work by Terence Parsons or Stephen Neale. Deadline: 16 April.
  • papers on Humean supervenience or (preferably related) work by Frank Jackson or John Hawthorne. Deadline: 16 April.
  • papers on relations, order, variables or (preferably related) work by Kit Fine or Manuel García-Carpintero. Deadline: 21 May.
  • papers on time, tense or (preferably related) work by Dean Zimmerman or Peter Ludlow. Deadline: 18 June.


Invited speakers: Bob Hale, Ian Rumfitt
Date: 25-27 March
Place: University of Geneva, B302.
Click here for a very beautifully designed poster.
Program: (click here for a pdf version)

  • Thursday afternoon 14h15-15h45: short presentation by Philipp Keller "Against the Necessity of Necessity"
  • Thursday afternoon 16h00-18h15: talk by Bob Hale "Putnam's Retreat: Some reflections on Hilary Putnam's changing views about Metaphysical Necessity"; commentators: Ian Rumfitt, Juan Suarez
  • Friday morning 10h15-12h: presentation given by Sònia Roca "The Modal Status of the Constitutive Principles"; commentator: Davor Bodrozic
  • Friday afternon 14h15-15h45: short presentation by Frédéric Goubier, "A Medieval Way of Quantifying Modal Propositions"
  • Friday afternoon 16h00-18h15: talk by Ian Rumfitt, "Modality and Plurality"; commentator: Oscar Cabaco
  • Saturday morning 10h15-12 (room B112): talk by Paul Thom, "On Avicenna"
  • Saturday afternoon 14h15-16: presentation by Jiri Benovsky "Why should a four-dimensionalist be a five-dimensionalist"; commentator: Oscar Cabaco
  • Saturday afternoon 16h15-18: general question period

Suggested reading:

  • Hale, Bob 1996, Absolute Necessities, Philosophical Perspectives
  • Hale, Bob 1999, On Some Arguments for the Necessity of Necessity, Mind 108:23-52
  • Hale, Bob 2000, Reply to Ahmed, Mind 109: 93-96
  • Hale, Bob 2002, The Source of Necessity, Noûs Supplement 16:299-319
  • Hale, Bob 2003, Knowledge of Possibility and Necessity, Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 103:1-20
  • Rumfitt, Ian 2001, Semantic Theory and Necessary Truth, Synthèse 126:283-324
  • Rumfitt, Ian 2003, Contingent Existents, Philosophy 78:461-481

Available papers: