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Faculty of Philosophy


One day conference on Non Categorical Thought

On 25 March Cambridge will host the fourth workshop in the European
Non-Categorical Thinking Project. This will take place in the BOARD ROOM OF


For creatures like us, it is natural to think non-categorically
- in terms of the possible, the probable and the conditional. This fact
prompts the following philosophical questions.

Is non-categorical thinking indispensable, in any sense, to all practical
and intellectual life? How should we think of reality and our cognitive
relations to it in light of our answers to that question? Is our non-
categorical thought an instrument that we need only because of our
ignorance of how the world categorically is (cf Spinoza), or when we think
non-categorically do we sometimes track a corresponding (probabilistic,
modal or conditional) non-categorical reality? What are the best systematic
(formal) representations of non-categorical thinking and how do these
relate (normatively or otherwise) to our non- categorical thought? Has the
practice of natural science settled some of these questions and if some of
the questions are so settled how does that bear on the others? Can we look
to the case of mathematics to find models of what practical and
intellectual indispensability (of a way of thinking) might amount to and
the epistemological and metaphysical implications of these models?

The central purpose of the project is to develop questions about
modalities, conditionals and probabilities in the context of a unified
philosophical framework: one that will promote applications of research
programmes that have been successful in one area of non-categorical thought
to the others.


9am - 10.15 am

Peter Hawke (St Andrews / Amsterdam): Assertibility 
Semantics for Conditionals, Quantification and Modality

10.30 - 11.45 am

Ruth Byrne (TCD): Keeping track of what is real and what is 
imagined: How people update the epistemic status of models of counterfactuals.

12.05 - 1.20pm

Max Jones (Leeds / Bristol, via Skype): What are the origins 
of counterfactual thought? Why do they matter?

1.15 - 2.15pm

lunch: arrangements tbc

2.15 - 3.30pm

John Divers / Shyane Siriwardena (Leeds / Cambridge): 
Metaphysical Modality and Objective Probability

3.45 - 5.00pm

Vincenzo Crupi (Turin): Three ways of being non-material

5.15pm - 6.30pm

Salvador Mascarenhas (ENS, Paris): Title TBC


pub + dinner, arrangements tbc

ABSTRACTS are available here.


The event is free and all are welcome. If you would like to
attend the dinner please contact Dr Ahmed ( by 22 March.

For further information please contact Arif Ahmed at 

Monday, 25 March, 2019 - 09:00 to 18:30
Event location: 
Faculty of Philosophy, Cambridge