How to Unify with Relational Glue

Wednesday 21 February 2018, 4.30PM to 6.00pm

Speaker: Dr Nicholas K Jones, University of Birmingham

‘How to Unify with Relational Glue’

The emergence of unity from plurality is central to our conceptual scheme, e.g.: you have many organs, the UK has many regions, and the set of integers contains many numbers. Graham Priest’s provocative recent book One begins by arguing that this phenomenon is inherently contradictory. Priest’s argument is, and is explicitly presented as, a version of Bradley’s regress and the problem of the unity of the proposition. This talk has two goals. The first is to show that Priest’s argument fails: it takes the form of a dilemma, neither horn of which is convincing. The second is to use the failures of Priest’s argument to clarify the proper solution to Bradley’s regress and the unity of the proposition, and to draw some more general lessons about the nature of unity more generally. Central to my proposal is a distinction between two fundamentally different forms of unity into which things can enter. For those interested in some background reading, the relevant (i.e. first) chapter of Priest’s One is non-technical and only 11 pages long. It’s available online via OSO here. However, I will not presuppose familiarity with any of Priest’s views in the talk.

Further information about Nicholas Jones can be found at:

Location: Department of Philosophy, Sally Baldwin Building, Block A, Room SB/A009

Admission: Departmental colloquium members and postgraduate students