Workshop, Formal Causation, Rostock 22.-23. October 2018




Ludger Jansen (Rostock/Bochum)

Petter Sandstad (Rostock)


Venue:IBZ, Bergstraße 7a, 18057 Rostock


Registration:  There is no conference fee, but places are limited. Thus please register by 8th October by sending an e-mail to (also for further information) Petter Sandstad: petter.sandstaduni-rostockde

When registering, please let us know whether you will be attending both days of the conference, and also whether you would like to attend the dinners.


Accommodations: Only a few minutes’ walk from the conference venue is Motel One (Schröderplatz 2, 18057 Rostock), where we have reserved a pool of rooms for the duration of the conference. The remaining rooms are available, at a first come basis, for €61 each night (includes breakfast ).


 PhilEvents site:


Formal causation, one of the four traditional kinds of causation distinguished by Aristotle, is currently heavily under-researched and has even fallen into disrepute. Formal causation is at play whenever a thing has a certain property because it is of a certain kind. Such properties are normally called essential properties. For instance, whales have the disposition to breathe with lungs because they are mammals. There is an extensive and influential trend in contemporary philosophy studying causation in terms of dispositions, while the question of why things have some dispositions (or other properties) and lack others in the first place has largely been ignored.


The conference will explore formal causation, i.e., the view that an object having a property such as a disposition can be explained through kind membership. Some of the talks will be historical work, mainly on Aristotle, some will be systematic work on the contemporary discussion, and some will combine both historical and systematic approaches. Especially relevant for formal causation are the contemporary debates about essence and necessity, dependence and grounding, laws of nature, universals, dispositions, and functions.


The conference is funded through the DFG-project “Formal Causation in Aristotle and in Analytic Metaphysics and Philosophy of Science”.






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