The Aristotelian Society

The Aristotelian Society

est. 1880

Symposium IV

Modal Metaphysics

Agustin Rayo | The Joint Session of the Aristotelian Society and the Mind Association | University of Hertfordshire

Beta-Conversion and the Being Constraint



Modal contingentists face a dilemma: there are two attractive principles of which they can only accept one. In this paper I show that the most natural way of resolving the dilemma leads to expressive limitations. I then develop an alternative resolution. In addition to overcoming the expressive limitations, the alternative picture allows for an attractive account of arithmetic and for a style of semantic theorizing that can be helpful to contingentists.



Agustín Rayo is a professor at MIT. He works at the intersection of metaphysics and philosophical logic.

Penelope Mackie | The Joint Session of the Aristotelian Society and the Mind Association | University of Hertfordshire

Sortals, Timelessness, and Transcendental Truth



I discuss the application, to the case of sortal concepts, of Kit Fine’s conception of the species of necessary truth that he characterizes as ‘transcendental truth’. I argue for scepticism about Fine’s thesis that substance sortals are associated with transcendental truths about contingently existing individuals. My discussion has implications for the interpretation of the type of necessity that is involved in the attribution of essential properties to contingent existents. In addition, it has implications for the question whether there are sortal predicates that are ‘timeless’ in their application to contingently existing individuals.


Penelope Mackie is Associate Professor and Reader in Philosophy at the University of Nottingham. Before moving to Nottingham in 2004, she held posts at the University of Birmingham, New College Oxford, Virginia Commonwealth University, and several Oxford colleges, as well as a visiting post at the University of Maryland. She has published work on a variety of topics in metaphysics, including modality, identity and persistence, free will, counterfactuals, and causation, as well as on perceptual experience and some other topics in the philosophy of mind. Her book How Things Might Have Been: Individuals, Kinds, and Essential Properties was published by Oxford University Press in 2006.



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future joint sessions

2021 joint session:

16-18 july 2021

2022 joint session:
St Andrews

8-10 july 2022

2023 joint session:

7-10 july 2023

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The inaugural address and symposia for the Joint Session are published in the Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Supplementary Volume, which is published digitally and in hardcover every June. The Supplementary Volume is sent to subscribing members of the Society in categories 4 and 5.

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The 2018 Joint Session of the Aristotelian Society and the Mind Association | Cardiff University

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2020 joint session:

10 - 12 july 2020

2019 joint session:

19 - 21 july 2019

2018 joint session:

6 - 8 july 2018

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