Events and Non-events

  • Dorothy Emmet


The 1920s saw philosophers (for instance, Russell, Whitehead, Broad) recommend that events be seen not only as constituents in the world but as the only constituents. They wanted to get away from the metaphysics which had come down from Aristotle, where the primary constituents were substances sustaining attributes. Their event ontologies were worked out in the context of Relativity Theory, where ‘events’ were four-dimensional units, possibly of Space-Time. Things and even persons were to be seen as characters of events or series of events: Socrates was a long Socratic event, or a Socratic stretch of Space-Time. So in this ontology, events are not one kind of particular in a world which also contains other kinds of particulars. Everything is an event.


Causal Power Real Property Temporal Part Causal Statement Dispositional Property 
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Notes and References

  1. 1.
    W. van O. Quine, Word and Object (New York and London, 1960) p. 171.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    W. v. O. Quine, Ways of Paradox (Harvard, 1976 ) p. 260.Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    E. J. Lemmon in The Logic of Decision and Action pp. 96–103.Google Scholar
  4. 6.
    See A. N. Whitehead, The Concept of Nature (Cambridge, 1920) p. 145; pp. 186–7.Google Scholar
  5. 8.
    See Jaegwon Kim, ‘Events and their Descriptions’ in Essays in Honour of Carl G. Hempel, ed. N. Rescher (Reidel, 1969Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Dorothy Emmet 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dorothy Emmet
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.University of ManchesterUK
  2. 2.OxfordUK
  3. 3.CambridgeUK

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