Prof. Barbara Vetter (Freie Universität Berlin), will present: “Agency and Modal Knowledge”, on Monday, December 14, from 2:00-4:00. All are welcome to attend.
How do we know about possibility and necessity? Philosophical work on this question divides into rationalist approaches, which takes the source of our modal knowledge to be in some important ways a priori, and empiricist approaches, which take modal knowledge to be continuous with our empirical knowledge of the world. In this talk, I will present and motivate a deeply empiricist approach with three distinctive features. First, it locates the roots of our modal thought and knowledge in the experience of our own agency in the world. Second, the approach is ambitious in that it takes this starting point in agency to be the only distinctive feature of modal thought and knowledge: everything that we know about modality beyond the context of action is a matter of applying standard methods of induction, abduction, and so forth. Third, the approach is property-based, in that it takes our modal thought and knowledge to be primarily about the modal properties of objects.