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Philosophy Colloquium: An Ontology of Ideas

Posted on 3/27/2014 1:16:16 PM

The Philosophy Department is pleased to announce that Wesley Cray (Grand Valley State University) will be giving a talk entitled “An Ontology of Ideas” on Friday, March 28, 2014, at 3:00 p.m. in Eberly 121.

Cray graduated from IUP in 2005 and completed his PhD in philosophy at the Ohio State University in 2012.


Philosophers often talk about and engage with ideas. Scientists, artists, and historians do, too. So does practically everyone else. But what is an idea? In this talk, I first develop and motivate an ontology of ideas that satisfies various folk platitudes associated with the idea of idea, and does so within an ontologically parsimonious framework. I then discuss some nuances of the account, focusing particularly on the individuation and survival conditions of ideas. In the final section, I show how the account developed herein can be applied to give an account of the ontology of musical works, and of so-called “works for performance” in general. (This talk is based on collaborative work with Timothy Schroeder.) 

Department of Philosophy