Continuing with our Explainer Series, Professor Daniel Nolan will give his talk at 3:00pm in DeBartolo Hall, room 126 on April, 21, 2023.
Talk Title: Beyond the Possible
Abstract: This talk will provide an introduction to two topics of recent philosophical interest. The first is hyperintensionality. Hyperintensional pieces of language in a sentence cannot be substituted with necessary equivalents without risking a change of truth-value. Hyperintensional distinctions, then, cut more finely than necessary equivalence: we cannot treat all mathematical falsehoods the same way, and two metaphysicians can have necessarily false views without agreeing, for example.
The second topic I'll introduce is the use of impossible worlds. Impossible worlds are useful to model a lot of hyperintensional phenomena: not everything impossible would happen were one impossibility to happen, the worlds that correspond to someone's beliefs might not all be possible worlds if that person believes some impossibilities, and so on. Impossible worlds are useful in the theory of representation, but also in metaphysics and beyond. After illustrating some of the uses of these worlds, I will conclude by discussing some challenges faced by theories of impossible worlds.