Lecture Series: The Axiomatic Theory of Abstract Objects

UvA-logo_thumbnail The Dutch Research School of Philosophy (OZSW) and the Institute for Logic, Language and Computation of the University of Amsterdam invite all  master students, PhDs, Postdocs and staff members in philosophy to register for the lecture series “The Axiomatic Theory of Abstract Objects” which will take place on 22-24 May 2017.


Organizing university

University of Amsterdam


22-24 May 2017

Primary target group

The course is open to master students, PhDs, Postdocs and staff members.

About the topic

In this lecture series, we present a body of theorems formally derivable from the axioms of “object theory”. The axioms are motivated and presented in the first lecture, and once they are in place, we define a variety of abstract objects and systematize them by deriving the their governing principles as theorems. We identify and derive principles governing: truth-values, logical classes, situations, possible worlds, impossible worlds, concepts (including complete individual concepts), Forms, fictions, Fregean senses, Fregean (natural) numbers, and theoretical mathematical individuals and relations generally.

A Note About the Readings: Though the readings are optional, the best preparation, however, is not to read the papers I’ve listed below, but rather to have familiarity with the work cited in the Bibliographies of the papers listed below. That is, the best preparation is to be familiar with what others have said about such topics as logical objects (and neologicism), situations, possible and impossible worlds, concepts, Plato’s Forms, fictions, Fregean Senses, and mathematical objects.

Aim / objective

The objectives of the course are to familiarize participants with the theory of objects, developed and defended by Prof. Ed Zalta, and to more generally discuss the topics with which it deals, such as: logical classes, situations, possible and impossible worlds, concepts, Forms, fictions, Fregean senses, Fregean numbers, and mathematical individuals and relations.


Lecture 1: Mon, May 22, 11:00-13:00: Introduction, Axioms, and Logical Objects (Truth Values and Classes)
Reading: See the Bibliography to:
David J. Anderson and E. Zalta, “Frege, Boolos, and Logical Objects”, Journal of Philosophical Logic, 33/1 (February 2004): 1-26

Lecture 2: Mon, May 22, 15:00-17:00: Situations, Possible Worlds, and Impossible Worlds
Reading: See the Bibliographies to:
E. Zalta, “Twenty-Five Basic Theorems in Situation and World Theory”, Journal of Philosophical Logic, 22 (1993):385-428
— E. Zalta “A Classically-Based Theory of Impossible Worlds”, Notre Dame Journal of Formal Logic, 38/4 (Fall 1997): 640-660

Lecture 3: Tue, May 23,  11:00-13:00 : Concepts and Modal Metaphysics
Reading: See the Bibliography to:
— E. Zalta, “A (Leibnizian) Theory of Concepts”, Philosophiegeschichte und logische
Analyse / Logical Analysis and History of Philosophy, 3 (2000): 137-183

Lecture 4: Tue, May 23, 15:00-17:00: Forms, Fictions, and Fregean Senses

Reading: See the Bibliographies to:
— F.J. Pelletier and E. Zalta, “How to Say Goodbye to the Third Man”, Noûs, 34/2 (2000): 165-202
— E. Zalta, “The Road Between Pretense Theory and Object Theory, in Empty Names, Fiction, and the Puzzles of Non-Existence”, A. Everett and T. Hofweber (eds.), Stanford: CSLI Publications, 2000, pp. 117-147
— E. Zalta, “Fregean Senses, Modes of Presentation, and Concepts”, Philosophical Perspectives, 15 (2001): 333-359

Lecture 5: Wed, May 24, 11:00-13:00: Frege Numbers, Mathematical Individuals, and Mathematical Relations
Reading: See the Bibliographies to:
— E. Zalta, “Natural Numbers and Natural Cardinals as Abstract Objects: A Partial Reconstruction of Frege’s Grundgesetze in Object Theory”, Journal of Philosophical Logic, 28/6 (1999): 619-660
— U. Nodelman and E. Zalta, “Foundations for Mathematical Structuralism”, Mind, 123/489 (2014): 39–78


Professor Dr. Edward N. Zalta

Required preparations

The participants are expected to actively participate in the discussions. Assigned readings will be optional, but participants are strongly advised to do the readings in case they are not already familiar with the relevant topics.



How to apply / register

Applications are not required. We do however ask participants to register here.


Prof. dr. Franz Berto, Dr. Martin Lipman (M.A.Lipman@uva.nl) and the OZSW office.