The Metaphysics of Human Beings

Project Leaders:

Peter van Inwagen
The John Cardinal O'Hara Chair of Philosophy
Notre Dame University

Dean Zimmerman
Associate Professor of Philosophy
Rutgers University

Team Members


Pew Conferences on the Metaphysics of Human Beings

July 22 -24, 2001 Skaneateles, New York
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September 5-8, 2002 Princeton, New Jersey
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In the early part of the twentieth century, the discipline of philosophy mostly neglected its traditional concern with the ancient metaphysical questions. In recent decades, however, metaphysics has once again become a central concern of the discipline. The revival of metaphysics has come at just the moment when questions about the nature of the human person have emerged front and center in so many disciplines. The re-emergence of metaphysics gives philosophers new approaches to and new tools for understanding the problems surrounding human nature.

In exploring "the Metaphysics of Human Beings," this project will address metaphysical problems concerning (i) personal identity, (ii) the relationship between the mental and physical aspects of persons, and (iii) human action, including human motivation, freedom of the will, and so forth.