in the Department of Philosophy and Religion

Philosophy Forum: The Parmenidean Ascent: Substance

 Dr. Michael Della Rocca (Yale)

March. 26, 4pm,

in Bryant 209

 “The Parmenidean Ascent: Substance”


“The notion of a substance or a thing is central to philosophy, and metaphysicians have long recognized a need to give an account of what it is to be a substance. In this paper, I explore the attempts by Aristotle, Descartes, and — in most detail — Leibniz to meet this explanatory demand, and I show how these attempts are all unsuccessful. I then argue that such failure is inevitable as long as philosophers embrace a seemingly harmless assumption common to the accounts of Aristotle, Descartes, and Leibniz. The paper closes by examining the exciting and unsettling implications of giving up this natural assumption.”

The format of this event will be a workshop of Dr. Della Rocca’s paper.  Requests for an advance copy of the paper can be directed to Dr. Donovan Wishon (  More information about future UM Philosophy Forum events can be found on the department calendar at