PHILOSOPHY 730                                                                                                                                         W. Lycan

Fall, 2007

METAPHYSICS OF MODALITY

Readings 

…will be online or distributed.
 


Written work 

There will be one short paper (1000-1250 words), due on September 19, and a term paper due December 5.  Topics will be of your own choosing.  
 

Syllabus

August 22:  Mere possibilia.  Modal logic and possible worlds.   Reading:  A. Meinong, excerpt from “The Theory of Objects”; S. Kripke,    “Semantical Considerations on Modal Logic”; W.V. Quine, “On What There Is.”

August 29:  The usual suspects.   Reading:  Excerpt from S. Kripke, “Naming and Necessity”; excerpt from Kripke, “Identity and Necessity”; excerpt from K.J.J. Hintikka, “Semantics for Propositional Attitudes”; R.M. Adams, “Theories of Actuality”; W. Lycan, Modality and Meaning, Chs. 1, 2.

September 5:  Lewis’ Concretism.   Reading:  D.K. Lewis, On the Plurality of Worlds, Chs. 1, 3; R. Stalnaker, “Possible Worlds”; W. Lycan, Modality and Meaning, Chs. 3, 4.

September 12:  Fictionalism.   Reading:  G. Rosen, “Modal Fictionalism”; D. Nolan, “Modal Fictionalism.”   


September 19:  Essentialism.   Reading:  W.V. Quine, “Reference and Modality”; L. Linsky, “Reference, Essentialism, and Modality”; excerpt from S. Kripke, “Naming and Necessity”; N. Salmon, Reference and Essence, Ch. 5; W. Lycan, Modality and Meaning, Ch. 5.  
Short paper due.

September 26:  Relative modalities (and free will secured!).   Reading:  W. Lycan, Modality and Meaning, Ch. 8; M. Slote, “Selective Necessity and the Free-Will Problem.” 

October 3:  Impossibilia.   Reading:  R. Stalnaker, “Impossibilities.”

October 10:  Ontological commitment: Quine vs. Carnap and others.   Reading: R. Carnap, “Empiricism, Semantics, and Ontology”; W.V. Quine, Word and Object, §§ 33, 34, 49, 50; T. Hofweber, “A Puzzle about Ontology.”  

October 17 (notice that Fall Break does not now include the Wednesday afternoon):  Ontological commitment: Azzouni.   Reading:  J. Azzouni, Deflating Existential Consequence, Chs. 3, 4; “Ontological Commitment in the Vernacular.”


October 24:  Counterfactuals: the Similarity theory.   Reading:  D.K. Lewis, Counterfactuals, Ch. 1; J. Bennett, A Philosophical Guide to Conditionals, Chs. 10-13.


October 31:  Counterfact
uals: two shocking views.   Reading:  A. Hájek, “Most Counterfactuals are False”; D. Edgington, “Do Counterfactuals Have Truth Conditions?”

November 7:  Two classics on fictional truth and fictional entities.   Reading:  S. Kripke, “Reference and Existence” (1973 John Locke Lectures); D.K. Lewis, “Truth in Fiction.”


November 14:  Fiction and essence.   Reading:  P. van Inwagen, “Creatures of Fiction”; W. Lycan, Modality and Meaning, Ch. 6; A. Thomasson, Fiction and Metaphysics, Chs. 1, 3-5.


November 28:  More recent work on fiction.   Reading:  S. Brock, “Fictionalism about Fictional Characters”; D. Proudfoot, “Possible Worlds Semantics and Fiction.”


December 5:  Zany contextualism about fiction vs. reality.   Reading:  P. Ludlow, “From Sherlock and Buffy to Klingon and Norrathian Platinum Pieces: Pretense, Contextualism, and the Myth of Fiction.”   Term paper due.