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The Department of Philosophy will present the following virtual colloquium on January 29th (12:00 noon).
Bimodal Essentialism: A Reading of Descartes' Creation Doctrine
Guest Speaker: Andrew Tedder (Postdoctoral Researcher, The Czech Academy of Sciences)
Zoom Coordinates: https://uleth.zoom.us/j/93574015485
Descartes' creation doctrine holds that, in creating the universe, God freely determines the modal status of propositions. For Descartes, necessary truths are possibly false, since if God's creation of the necessary truths was free, then God could have chosen to make some of necessary truths false, or could have made some propositions necessarily true which aren't. Since Descartes is also committed to the existence of some necessary truths (and given that necessary truths are not possibly false) this poses a tension, if not an inconsistency, in Descartes' modal metaphysics. The creation doctrine has been the subject of debate between Descartes scholars and philosophers interested in modal metaphysics. I develop a view, Bimodal Essentialism, which fits the creation doctrine into Descartes' broad philosophical commitments, while resolving the tension in those commitments.