June 3 - 4, 2016
Central to Plato's mature metaphysics is his Theory of Forms, in which he embraces a class of abstract, mind- and language-independent entities held to be immutable paradigms capable of serving as stable objects of knowledge, in contrast to the shifting and variegated material objects in the world of sense particulars. Already in antiquity, Plato's student Aristotle decried the theory as fanciful, unacceptably metaphorical, and irredemiably vague. Aristotle also contended that Plato was liable to a devastating objection to the ontology of Forms, namely that Forms are both universals and particulars. One core question of this conference: is Aristotle right? One corollary question: what precisely are Forms? Another: do Plato's surviving texts provide any conclusive answer?