Open to faculty and enrolled students of NYU and other area colleges and universities with university ID; others interested in attending should register on Eventbrite by March 6th, 9:00am.
"The Varieties of Instantiation"
Working with the assumption that properties depend for their instantiation on substances, I argue against a unitary conception of instantiation. On the standard view, a property is instantiated just in case it inheres in a substance. But this view cannot make sense of the proposal—endorsed by many throughout the history of philosophy—that sensible qualities are mind-dependent; that is, that they depend for their instantiation on minds. Given that the mind is never itself literally red, pungent or sweet, we cannot explain the instantiation of these qualities in terms of their having a mental bearer, as the standard view would require. Appealing to some insights from Berkeley, I defend a view on which a property can be instantiated, not in virtue of having a bearer—mental or material—to inhere in, but rather in virtue of being the object of a conscious act of awareness. This metaphysical insight, correctly understood, gives us the resources to solve a central problem that still plagues the philosophy of perception: the problem of how, given the power of the mind to create phenomenally rich experiences, ordinary perception can nonetheless be said to acquaint us with the mind-independent world.