Philosophy | Seminar in Metaphysics and Epistemology
P760 | 3259 | O'Connor


Topic: The Metaphysics of Modality

This seminar will consider the 'absolute' or 'metaphysical' modality: its nature and
scope, whether we can have justified belief concerning it, and what role it plays in
explanations, empirical and philosophical.  We will consider a number of views that are
defended in readings arranged under the following headings:

Lewis's Possibilism
Primitive Modality
Epistemology of Modality
Deflationary Approaches to Modality
Transworld Identity
Modality and Material Objects
Causation and Necessity
Necessity, Contingency, and Existence

Texts are David Lewis, On the Plurality of Worlds and Michael Rea (ed) Material
Constitution.  We will also look at many articles and book excerpts that will be on
reserve.

Most weeks, enrolled participants will be asked either to submit in advance by email
critical questions/comments on the week's readings or to write short critical essays.  You
will also be asked to write a term paper on a topic of your choice.