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Department of Philosophy: David Friedell, Union College

Thursday, April 7, 2022
4:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Watson Hall
Room: Room 517
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Are People Abstract?

David Friedell, Union College

Thursday, April 7, 2022

4:00-6:00 pm

Watson Hall, Room 517 

Beach’s Gaelic Symphony, the novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin, and the number π are abstract objects. They are non-physical and not located in space. Tables, cars, and planets are concrete. Could it be that people are abstract, as opposed to concrete? Are we more like Gaelic Symphony than a table? Are we more like software than hardware? 

I think the answer, probably, is: no—obviously, we are not abstract. But I’m less confident than I used to be. I will discuss some theoretical (and practical!) advantages of the view that people are abstract. And I will defend the view against some serious objections, most importantly an objection that relies on the claim that people, but not abstract objects, think.

Sheena Wilkinson
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