Justin Clarke-Doane is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University, an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Birmingham, UK, and an Honorary Research Associate at Monash University, Australia. He received his Ph.D. in philosophy from NYU, under the supervision of Hartry Field.



Modal Objectivity

The intelligibility of modal metaphysics is widely thought to have been vindicated. But modal metaphysics could be intelligible, but highly non-objective. It could be that “metaphysical” possibility is not the broadest non-epistemic notion of possibility, and that there is no metaphysically substantial notion of possibility that is broadest. If there were nothing “metaphysically distinguished” about any one such notion, then the question of whether it is possible that 2+2=5 would be like the question of whether the Parallel Postulate is true. It would be true under some interpretations of “possible”, false under others, and all would be on a par. I will argue that this is so. According to the resulting view, there is no objective distinction between possibility and impossibility.

Time: 4:00 am
Location: Cultural Services of the French Embassy / Ballroom