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MAWMs are focused workshops aimed at promoting new research in metaphysics and community among metaphysicians. Workshops typically will be hosted by midwestern institutions. Papers are by invitation, but anyone with an interest in the topics is encouraged to participate.

The Midwest has been a bastion for metaphysics for well over half a century. Even in the height of logical positivism, Midwesterners like Gustav Bergmann (Iowa) were not afraid to pursue perennial questions of ontology. In subsequent decades, the Midwest has been home to revolutionaries in modal ontology, groundbreaking work at the intersection of science and metaphysics, and the revival of scholarship in neo-Thomistic metaphysics, to name just a few. It was also the first area to host the Metaphysical Mayhem, which then bore the apt title: Mighty Midwest Metaphysical Mayhem. (While the might remained, the mayhem migrated.) By our count, there are currently over sixty tenured or tenure-track philosophers in the region who count metaphysics as one of their primary research areas, and many more faculty and graduate students working in the field.

What explains Midwesterners’ enthusiasm for metaphysics? Perhaps it is the landscape. With flat glacial plains and expanses of blue sky, it welcomes those with a taste for desert landscapes. Perhaps it’s the fertile soil, which encourages “grubbing around in the roots of being,” to quote a nice phrase from an antipodal philosopher.  

Regardless of how we explain it, there’s a lot of very interesting working being done in the area. And we think there ought to be more opportunities for sharing our work. In that vein, we are kicking off the MAWMS. We hope each MAWM will provide a fun, useful forum for discussing new and excellent work in metaphysics.

MAWM's Committee

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Jonathan Jacobs is a faculty member at St. Louis University. His primary areas of research are metaphysics and philosophy of religion. His current work is on causal powers, laws, causation, and modality, and has interests in the metaphysics mind, truthmakers, and time.
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Meghan Sullivan is a faculty member at the University of Notre Dame. Her primarily areas of research are metaphysics and related topics in logic, semantics, and epistemology. She has recently written on time, and has other interests in modality, personal identity, and ontology.
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Tim Pawl is a faculty member at the University of St. Thomas (St. Paul, MN). His primary areas of research are contemporary and Thomistic metaphysics, and philosophy of religion. His current work is on truthmaker theory, modality, free will, and the metaphysics required for traditional theism.