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Conferences & lectures

Tad Schmaltz | Suárez, Categorial Accidents, and Fundamental Metaphysics | Philosophy Speaker Series

Date & time
Friday, March 15, 2024
3 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Tad Schmaltz, Professor of Philosophy, University of Michigan


This event is free. All are welcome.


514-848-2424 ext. 2500


J.W. McConnell Building
1400 De Maisonneuve Blvd. W.
R. Howard Webster Library

Room 362

Wheel chair accessible


Tad Schmaltz

Abstract: In his Metaphysical Disputations (1597), the Spanish Jesuit Francisco Suárez attempts to defend “the received philosophical dogma”—deriving from Aristotle’s Categories—that there are “nine genera of accidents beyond substance.” In this defense, Suárez proposes a middle way between “realist” and “nominalist” accounts of the categorial accidents. Yet his discussion of this middle way serves to draw attention to a more fundamental division of accidental reality that is reflected even in the views of early modern critics of the categories. I illustrate this point by considering the transformation of Aristotelian accidents in the work of Descartes.

Descartes on Causation by Tad M. Schmaltz (Oxford UP, 2008)

Tad Schmaltz is Professor of Philosophy and Department Chair at the University of Michigan. He has published articles and book chapters on various topics in early modern philosophy and science. He is the author of Malebranche's Theory of the Soul (1996), Radical Cartesianism (2002), Descartes on Causation (2008), Early Modern Cartesianisms (2017), and The Metaphysics of the Material World: Suárez, Descartes, Spinoza (2020). He continues to have as research interests the influence of late scholasticism and Cartesianism on early modern thought, the nature of the "Scientific Revolution", and theories of causation and freedom in the early modern period.

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