Month: March 2016

Alternative logics and abductive methodology

Timothy Williamson (University of Oxford)

23 Mar, 4:30pm, Laurel 201.

The choice between alternative logics can be understood as a special case of theory choice in science, governed by broadly abductive criteria, without appeal to a special relation of logical consequence. This view will be applied to semantic and sorites paradoxes as putative motivations for departures from classical logic.

Objective possibilities

Timothy Williamson (University of Oxford)

22 Mar, 4:30pm, Oak 105.

The categories of metaphysical possibility and metaphysical possibility have been criticized as unscientific and unsuitable for serious theorizing. I will develop an alternative view on which they are limiting cases of a family of objective modalities many members of which are studied in natural science, and discuss the modal aspect of applied mathematics. Some consequences for the logic of metaphysical modality will be discussed.

What if the impossible happened?

Timothy Williamson (University of Oxford)

24 Mar, 4pm, Class of 1947 Room.

If 5+7 had turned out to be 13, everyone would have danced in the streets with joy.” That conditional is true according to standard theories of conditionals, simply because it is impossible for 5 + 7 to turn out to be 13. Many philosophers regard such consequences as obviously wrong. I will explain why significant issues are at stake in this dispute, how our judgments about such matters may be misled by fallible heuristics, and why the standard view may be right after all.