Graham Priest: Unity and Regress | Who Shaves the Barber? #7

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Graham Priest
Graham Priest

An interview with Graham Priest about Bradley’s Regress and the Unity of the Proposition. Consider the statement “Socrates is sitting.” It seems to be composed of an object – “Socrates” – and a predicate – “is sitting”. But the statement isn’t merely a list of an object and a predicate. It hangs together as a unified statement. What accounts for that unity? What makes the statement “Socrates is sitting” say something, as opposed to simply listing out a thing and a property? The obvious answer is that there’s a property – instantiation – that connects the object and the predicate. But then a regress arises: how does the property of instantiation hang together with Socrates and the property of sitting? This problem isn’t just about statements. As British idealist F.H. Bradley pointed out, this regress shows up with all property instantiations. After laying out the problem, professor Priest explains his own unique solution to it.



Next week: Graham Priest: Sorites Paradox
Special thanks for Jackie Blum for the podcast art, and The Tin Box for the theme music.

Topics discussed

0:20 – Intro to Graham Priest
1:38 – Unity of the proposition
4:35 – Bradley’s regress
8:13 – Third man argument
10:46 – Regresses in general
11:32 – Vicious regresses
13:42 – Justification regress (Agrippan trilemma)
15:55 – Metaphysical grounding regress (Buddhism)
17:55 – Regress in the Liar Paradox
26:16 – Priest’s solution to Bradley: deny transitivity of identity
29:26 – Paraconsistent logic
35:33 – Frege’s solution: concepts are not objects
38:35 – The dialetheist solution
40:35 – One (the book)


One: Being an Investigation into the Unity of Reality and of its Parts, including the Singular Object which is Nothingness by Graham Priest

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